The Ultimate Step-by-Step Home Renovation Checklist for Contractors

Claudia Soto
Claudia Soto
Owner's Rep
May 4, 2024
The Ultimate Step-by-Step Home Renovation Checklist for Contractors

Even professionals can benefit from a little extra guidance time to time. Since we consider ourselves a partner to contractors, we thought it might help to have an easy, ready-to-implement renovation checklist for the next home renovation project you take on. We know everything that comes along with the job can be overwhelming, but – we've got your back.

What we’ve found is that planning is key to creating a functional and beautiful space within budget and time constraints, and that's where our step-by-step home renovation checklist comes in. By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to happier clients and more projects booked.  

Setting Goals and Priorities: A Goal Without A Plan is Sure To Fail 

Where to begin? First things first – before picking up a hammer, it's necessary to sit down with your clients and define their renovation goals and priorities. What are they hoping to achieve with this project? Is it a complete overhaul of the space, or are there specific areas they want to focus on? Is this renovation for pleasure, or are they trying to fix up their home before selling it? 

Once you understand your client’s goals, you can help balance their desires with their practical needs. Sure, a luxurious spa bathroom with a steam shower and heated floors sounds amazing, but if it's going to blow their budget, it might not be the best choice. Work with them to prioritize their must-haves and find creative solutions to incorporate their wishes while staying within their budget, because at the end of the day, if the project cost goes over, you’ll be the one they blame.

The “M” Word – And Why No One Likes to Talk About It

Speaking of budgets, let's talk about money. Creating a realistic budget is not only important but essential for any home renovation project. Help your clients understand the likely costs to come with their desired changes, including materials, labor, and any necessary permits or inspections. It’s better to overestimate than underestimate and have unsatisfied clients, a bad review, or worse, a legal case on your hands later down the road.

Now, it's also important to account for unexpected expenses. No matter how well you plan, there's always a chance that something will come up during the renovation process that requires additional funds. Be transparent with your clients, and suggest they set aside a contingency fund of at least 10-20% of their total budget to cover any surprises. Explain to them that ‘surprise costs’ don’t mean an upcharge in materials, but if knocking down a wall and black mold is found, well that’s a huge problem that will need to be fixed. 

How Important Are Permits, Anyway?

Probably the most drawn-out, boring part of any contracting job, is looking into the local building codes and applying for any necessary permits required for the project. Failing to comply with these regulations can result in costly fines, delays, and even legal issues.

Work with your clients to research and obtain all necessary permits before beginning the renovation. This step ensures the safety and legality of the project, and it's not something you want to overlook.

The Vision Comes to Life

Now for the fun part – designing the new space! Work with your clients to plan both the aesthetic and functional aspects of the renovation. This is where inspiration boards, 3D renderings, and other planning tools can come in handy. Not your thing? Not a problem; clients typically come with specific ideas they want already in mind. However, if they don’t, and design isn’t in your foray, working with a renovation partner can help. 

Help your clients visualize the finished product and make sure it aligns with their goals and priorities. Consider factors like layout, color schemes, materials, and storage solutions to create a cohesive and functional design.

Hiring the Right Team 

No contractor is an island – at least, not when it comes to a home renovation. You'll likely need to bring in other professionals to help with various aspects of the project, such as electricians, plumbers, and designers.

When hiring subcontractors and specialists, be sure to check their credentials and references thoroughly. Look for professionals who have experience with projects similar to yours and who have a track record of delivering high-quality work on time and within budget. It’s important to be selective about who you bring on to work with because, in the end, it’s your reputation on the line. (Check out this article on 13 major red flags real estate agents were warned about when hiring contractors, which easily applies to contractors looking for subcontractors, too). 

Walk Before You Run

Now comes the prep. Help your clients prepare their home and living situation for the renovation process. This may involve moving furniture, setting up temporary living arrangements, or renting a storage unit to keep belongings safe during construction. 

Consider factors like dust control, noise levels, and access to utilities when planning the renovation timeline. Make sure your clients are aware of any disruptions to their daily routine and help them make arrangements to minimize the impact on their lives.

The Renovation Process (AKA The Real Work Begins) 

Once the preparation is complete, it's time to get to work! As the contractor, it's your job to oversee the construction phase and ensure that everything is running smoothly. This involves regular communication with your team, quality control checks, and problem-solving when unexpected challenges arise.

Keep your clients informed throughout the process and be transparent about any changes or delays. It's important to maintain open lines of communication and address any concerns or questions promptly to keep the project on track.

As the renovation nears completion, it's important to double-check all work meets the necessary quality standards and regulations. Conduct a thorough walk-through with your clients to identify any areas that need additional attention or touch-ups.

Last but not least, make sure all necessary inspections are completed and that the project meets all local building codes and permit requirements. Provide your clients with any necessary documentation, such as warranties or care instructions for their new space.

Having the Right Partner

By following this step-by-step home renovation checklist, you'll be well-equipped to tackle any renovation project that comes your way. Remember, the key to success is planning, communication, and attention to detail. But if the whole pre-planning part of construction is overwhelming to you, outside your wheelhouse, or you simply don’t have the time, consider partnering with a pre-sale renovation company that can handle all the work on the backend so you can focus on one thing and one thing only: the work

By taking the time to understand your client's goals, create a realistic budget, and hire the right team, you'll be able to exceed above and beyond their expectations. 

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Claudia Soto
Claudia Soto
Owner's Rep
May 4, 2024

Claudia Soto, an Owner's Rep at Revive, assists homeowners and agents by serving as a dedicated personal expert who offers project oversight throughout the construction and renovation process. Her background knowledge in the construction space allows her to oversee large and small projects with precision.

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