Your Guide to Planning a Home Renovation

RCS Planning a Home Reno
August 10, 2021 at 6:00 a.m.

By Cass Jacoby. 

As pandemic conditions improve, you will want to make sure you have the budget and financing to make your project goals come true. 

Suffice to say everyone spent a lot of time at home in 2020, and with that everyone has become acutely acquainted with the renovations that need to happen to their home. According to the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, home construction nationwide, unsurprisingly, fell significantly since the COVID-19 outbreak. So maybe you find yourself thinking about renovation and wondering if this is the right time for one.  

Experts says that this slump in activity might have worked to your advantage, since so much work dried up in 2020, more contractors are available for jobs at better prices. The pandemic has been getting much better this summer, but we are still feeling the effects and dealing with the new variant strains of the virus. You can use this time to properly plan your project and find the perfect contractor. 

Here are some factors to consider for your next renovation: 


The number one piece of advice we have for you is to concentrate on the logistics and not get too caught up in the aesthetics.  

“Every home improvement project will cost more than you think it will and will take more time than you planned,” Bob Harkson, chief financial planner at Phase2 Wealth Advisors in Gig Harbor, Washington, told the Washington Post. Bob said the biggest problem he sees is that clients regularly haven’t budgeted enough. 

When making a home improvement, you want to ensure that you are maximizing your return on investment and will recoup the money you spent on improving your home when you sell it.  

According to experts, kitchen and bathroom renovations provide the best return on investment for homeowners. Remodeling magazine says kitchens recouped 62.1 percent and bathrooms 67.2 percent. Others include: 70.8 percent for windows; 75.6 percent for siding; 68.2 percent for roof; and 75.6 percent for deck. 

A good rule of thumb is to spend 5 to 15 percent of your home value on kitchen renovation, according to Dan DiClerico, a smart-home expert for HomeAdvisor (powered by Angi). “The more thorough you are in the planning stages, the more likely you are to come in on budget for your project,” Dan told The Washington Post

You should also plan surprises into your budget. You never know when project expenses will have to be allocated to some unforeseen factor, so set aside a bit of your budget for what-ifs.  

Working on a budget 

Prioritize your home renovation so that the improvements that need to happen and will increase value to your home are done first. 
Zillow recommends that when you are renovating to sell, try to incorporate the latest design trends into your home. When trying to prioritize limited dollars, Zillow recommends that you simply ignore the basement. Basement projects, according to Zillow, yield only 50 cents on the dollar even when a bathroom is added. 


There are quite a few ways to pay for a home renovation. You could use your savings which is the easiest option because it doesn't require getting approval or paying fees. You could also get a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) 203(k) loan, which can offer you flexibility because you can finance up to 97.75% of the improved home value as stated by The Washington Post. Similarly, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) provides homeowners flexibility in that they only pay interest on the line of credit they use, and the closing costs are minimal. 

You could cash-out refinance, keeping in mind that closing costs for cash-out refinancing is higher than a HELOC, but interest rates are lower. Or take out a personal loan or pay by credit card.  

Regardless of how you choose to finance your project, you will want to make sure you can pay for the project before you start it and that your method of payment is compatible with your budget. 


Preparing for a renovation project is a huge part of successfully renovating your home, so doing your due diligence now will help you save time and money later when your plans are set in motion. 

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About Cass  

Cass works as a reporter/writer for RoofersCoffeeShop and AskARoofer. When she isn’t writing about roofs, she is writing about movies for her master's degree and dancing with her plants.


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