Sweeten renovators share their advice
No matter how much you prepare for a renovation, by ordering your materials ahead of time or nailing down your budget, you really can’t be ready for the unexpected issues that crop up. With the right general contractor by your side though, you’ll have a solid partner in navigating the process and handling potential roadblocks. Take it from these Sweeten renovators who all went through a renovation and came out with a home, sweet, home. Along the way, they learned invaluable lessons which we share with you below.
Do the renovation all at once (if you can)
When Jeremy and Chris’ renovation of their kitchen, bathroom, and foyer was all said and done, they learned one major lesson: complete every room or space all at once. Jeremy explained that for him, it wasn’t about the disruption or costs, but about the final product. “Few of us really have the talent to create a cohesive space in small increments,” he said. Their bedroom had become a storage spot for all of their furniture during the remodel and wasn’t part of the renovation scope.
Material selection can be more stressful than you’d think
Despite having planned a renovation (and making the design decisions) previously, one Sweeten renovator realized just how much work it takes to select all the materials. She renovated multiple spaces in her home—including the kitchen and bathroom. Not only was she selecting the finishes, but she also had to make sure she ordered enough of them, plus coordinate delivery and timing. “If you can hire a designer whose aesthetic you trust to select all the materials for you, then do it,” she advised.
Create two budgets
From replacing the floors (and discovering a lack of subfloor) to gutting their bathroom, Katie and Marcus faced their share of surprises during their renovation. Her main takeaway? Budget. The Sweeten cost guides helped them get an idea of what they’d spend, though in retrospect Katie shared it would’ve been great given their unexpected circumstances to create two: an “on paper this is what we want to spend” budget and a “we cannot afford to go over this number” budget.
Book your back-up living situation for extra time from the get-go
We always encourage renovators to move out of their homes during a remodel if they can. Courtney and Jim planned ahead and rented an apartment for their family of four during the renovation of their entire apartment. The schedule fell a bit behind (due to delivery delays) and they had to leave their rental, which meant moving back into their unfinished home. “It was a bit uncomfortable, but not unmanageable. In hindsight, we probably should have just booked the rental for an extra week as insurance,” Courtney said.
If you’re short on time, hire an architect
Lynn and Craig, who struggled to find a general contractor before coming to Sweeten, realize how much their project would’ve benefited from hiring an architect. She has a background in exhibit design, which helped them in planning the bathroom remodels and the removing of a wall in the living space. From a time-management perspective, however, they realized a renovation is basically a second job. “We now understand why people hire architects. For those with less design experience or who are strapped for time, it would be helpful to work with a professional who can do the groundwork for you,” Lynn shared.
Planning your own reno? Here are six steps to get you started.
Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.