Home Remodeling

A Beginner’s Guide To Remodeling A House

Every now and again, it’s time for a change. Nobody wants to stare at the same four walls with the same paint and the same decorations every day for the rest of our lives. Sometimes a remodeling project is just what you need to make a stale room look spectacular.

Of course, remodeling your house or a house project isn’t always the easiest thing to do. It requires time, money, and a decent plan. It can seem like an overwhelming undertaking when you aren’t an expert in remodeling your home.

Thankfully, we certainly know a thing or two about remodeling your home, or any other home for that matter. That’s why we’ve brought you this guide! Here’s everything you need to know about remodeling a home so it’s a complete success! 

Ask: Why Am I remodeling?

beginning home remodeling

First of all, before you undertake any remodeling project, it’s a good idea to consider why you’re remodeling in the first place. This can have an impact on what you do in the renovation.

For the sake of argument, throughout this article, we’ll be referring to two main reasons to renovate your home. First, you’re buying a fixer-upper home that you want to renovate and then sell for a profit.

Secondly, you’re renovating your personal home to make it look different, or perhaps to also sell it on if you’re moving house. There are different reasons why you would remodel both of them.

The Fixer Upper

One of the main reasons that someone would want to renovate a fixer-upper is to sell it to someone else when it’s done. You can get quite a large profit from renovating fixer-uppers. You can buy the house for a relatively low cost and then sell it for a lot more money because you have done so much work on it. Renovations increase property values, after all.

Alternatively, you may be choosing to renovate a fixer-upper because you eventually want to live in it. It can be very rewarding to do this, though it can be stressful and expensive. It’s a rather large project, but it’s a great one if you are up to the task! 

Your Home

People do renovations on their own properties all the time. As with a fixer-upper, someone may want to remodel their home in order to sell it and attract more buyers. The more renovations, done on a house, the more likely it is that you will get a good profit when you sell, after all.

That’s not the only reason you may wish to remodel your home though. For instance, you may wish to remodel your home just because it needs a bit of maintenance. If you want your home to keep working the way that it should, it’s always a good idea to update your appliances or give the walls a fresh lick of paint every couple of years or so.

You may find that things like the electricity or the plumbing are in desperate need of an update so you don’t need to make major, expensive repairs later down the line.

Of course, renovating for maintenance also tends to mean that you are spending a lot more money since you are likely to need a professional to come in and help you to repair certain things. We can’t all be electricians, after all! 

Sometimes you may want to renovate just to give the room an updated look and that’s okay too! If your kitchen hasn’t been updated in over 20 years then you may just want to spruce it up a little and give it your own style.

Perhaps you think it’s time to try out a couple of new appliances or to update the flooring. You may just want to make the room a little more efficient in the way that it runs. 

Ultimately, there are so many reasons why you may want to remodel your home, and considering what your objectives are will help you to make better decisions as a whole.

Assessing The House’s Potential for Renovations

home renovation planning

If you are planning on buying a house to fix it up and sell it again, then the first thing that you need to do is make sure that you are buying the right house, to begin with. As such, you need to know what you are actually looking for. 

In most cases, you will find a home that you would buy for a cheap price listed online as a ‘fixer-upper.’ Basically, they’re going to need a lot of work before they’re suitable for going back onto the market.

Sometimes you may only need to do a small renovation of a single room, such as adding a new sink to the bathroom or the kitchen. It’s a mixed bag!

No matter what home you’re looking to buy to sell, here are a few of the things that you need to keep in mind right off the bat.


You’ll have a hard time looking for a fixer-upper to renovate if you don’t have a location in mind! 

If you intend to sell a fixer-upper, then it’s important that you do your research. Find a location that you are interested in buying in. When you have done that, look for other homes in the area.

What are other houses selling for – what’s the most that you are likely to get? If all of the houses in the area aren’t selling for a lot of money, then it may not be the best idea to buy a house in that area since you may struggle to get a good return on investment.

Look on home buying and selling websites such as Zillow in order to see houses available in the same area. In most cases, you will find that there is a range of prices out there depending on things like what’s nearby, how recently it’s been updated, and the popularity of the area.

It doesn’t matter how good your renovation is, if the homes in the area aren’t selling for a lot of money then there’s likely to be a reason why. It may be because there’s a lot of crime in the area, or if it’s a family neighborhood then it could be because the schools aren’t very good in the surrounding area.

Perhaps the location is near to a garbage site so it always smells when you go outside. If there are external factors that are influencing a buyer’s decision, you may find that your fixer-upper won’t sell on the market because the location just isn’t desirable.

Look up the comparisons for the street

And that leads us to the next point! It’s a good idea to check out what other houses are selling for in the area. These houses should be similar to the home that you are looking to buy so you can have a decent indication of how much you can potentially get for the property. It will help you to budget correctly and work out whether it’s a good idea to buy that particular property.

Identifying extras that can cost money to repair

home remodeling costs

When buying homes like fixer-uppers, there is one thing that you simply must keep in mind – they are probably going to cost you some money to repair. You will likely need to update a lot of things like roofs, windows, doors, and more. 

When you are on the hunt for a house to buy, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any repair work that’s going to cost you a pretty penny.

For instance, if the roof of the house has some shingles missing then this can be a huge issue because you may also have water leaks. In this situation, you’d have to repair not just the roof but also the water damage inside of the home.

You had better have the budget to be able to deal with this properly, or else you may find that you don’t have the best return on your investment. 

Some other things that are likely to cost you a lot of money include the windows, insulation, and replacing appliances. The home may also need some major structural renovations if there are issues too, so it’s worth speaking to a professional before buying the house to check that there aren’t any major structural problems that need addressing.

Is there additional room?

When you’re trying to buy a house, it’s always a good idea to look out for opportunities, not just what’s already there. Perhaps the house is currently a 3 bedroom home. Are there any opportunities to turn it into a 4 bedroom home for more profit?

Perhaps there’s an attic space that you can turn into an additional room, or you can turn it into a home office. Maybe there’s a garage that you can turn into an extension downstairs.

It’s a good idea to look at the houses nearby to see what others have done since this can give you a little bit of inspiration for what may work in the property that you are thinking of buying.

If there’s the opportunity to expand then it’s always a good idea to think about doing so, since it will almost always result in a higher return on investment. People love to have extra space! 

Identifying if extensive remodeling is needed

You likely already know that the home is going to need at least a little bit of remodeling since you’re here, but it’s really important to assess the degree of remodeling that will actually be required.

There are many things that you can do to earn a larger profit that can come from simple, relatively cheap renovations. If you have a lot of massive remodeling projects that you need to do though, you may end up compromising on your return on investment since you will be spending so much money on the remodeling.

Some people may be willing to take on the challenge of extensive remodeling, but if this sounds like something that may be out of your remit, it may be worth looking at other properties. 

How modern are the heating and electrics?

If you bought a house that has only recently been built, then there’s a decent chance that it will have fairly modern heating and electronics.

The same cannot be said for older houses. Older houses may be more likely to have outdated heating and electronic systems, meaning that there’s a chance you may need to rewire the home or get new heating systems set up.

This can cost you a couple of thousand dollars on its own, which is no small number if you’re trying to remodel an entire home. 

Thankfully, you don’t need to be a plumber or electrician to recognize a lot of issues with outdated wiring and plumbing.

You may notice an old-looking fuse box, fabric cables, or sockets that don’t look very modern. If you notice any of these, you will most likely need to work on replacing the electricity.

Remodeling A House Step-by-step

home remodeling steps

Now that you know what to look for, the next thing to consider is every step of remodeling a house.

Again, this can be a little overwhelming if you’ve never done any home renovations before, but you should manage to make sense of it after reading this guide. Here are all of the things that you need to know. 

Decide what you’re remodeling.

The first step that you need to take when starting any new remodeling project is to decide what you want to remodel in the first place.

There’s a good chance that you already have some kind of idea of what you want to remodel in your home, but it’s always a good idea to take it to step by step rather than remodeling around 5 rooms at once.

It may seem doable in those renovation TV shows, but in reality, you would probably need a large team to do it in your own home and that can end up costing you a lot of money.

There are certain rooms that don’t actually need to be updated every single year. Rooms like the kitchen or the bathroom can go for around 5-10 years before you really need to do any major remodeling projects.

Your roof too may not need to be completely replaced for around 30 years if you are lucky. Thanks to this, you may be able to save a little bit of cash by only remodeling the parts of the house that actually need to be remodeled at that moment in time. 

Despite the fact that a kitchen or a bathroom can last for a number of years, it has been found that kitchens and bathrooms are the main things that people tend to gravitate towards when they are thinking about remodeling their homes.

It may be worth choosing the room to renovate first based on your current budget. If you don’t have a lot of money to play with straight away, perhaps it’s best to whip out the paint bucket and work on a low-key paint job of your living room.

This most likely won’t cost nearly as much as a kitchen or a bathroom remodeling project, and you’ll have more time to save for both of those jobs.

If however there are certain rooms in the house that need urgent repair work or updating, then it’s a good idea to try to work on these rooms first.

If you leave problems to go ignored for too long, there’s a chance that the issue could cost even more money in the long run as more damage is sustained from use. You may want to work on the bigger projects first.

Ultimately it’s best to choose the remodeling order based on your home’s current needs and your priorities as a whole. 

Apply for various permits.

home remodeling repairs

There are many things that you can do when remodeling that doesn’t require you to have a permit. If you want to remodel the bathroom and add some new appliances, for instance, then you most likely won’t need to apply for a permit.

Other building work, however, will require you to apply for building permits. 

It’s a good idea to check the legal regulations in your state to see what permissions you need before undertaking certain projects. If you are going to be doing a lot of big work like changing the electrical wiring and the plumbing, for instance, then you are likely to need a permit for this.

You can usually apply for permits by going on your state’s website, but if you are a more old school then you can go to your local planning office instead. It may also cost you money to apply for a permit so it’s a good idea to remember that.

If you are hiring a contractor then speak to them before applying for a permit as they may do it for you, and it’ll take a lot longer to get things done if communication isn’t done properly. 

Find inspiration from styles and trends that you like

Here’s the fun part – doing a little bit of research! This is where sites like Pinterest can come in handy. Now, not everyone is renovating in order to change the aesthetic appeal of their home, as we established earlier.

With that being said though, you could take the chance to switch things up a little in your home while you are doing maintenance work and renovations. It’s nice to play around with new styles and aesthetics every once in a while. 

It’s a good idea to look online for different interior designs, styles, and trends. From there, you can work out what sort of thing you like so you can create rooms that really speak to your personal tastes.

Alternatively, you could hire an interior designer to tell you what sort of thing will look good and will align with your tastes based on things that you have said. 

It’s important to note, however, that styles and trends are changing all the time. For instance, what was trendy in the 70s may not necessarily be trendy now!

As such, if you are fully going with a current trend then you may find that it looks a little out of place in a few years. Consider whether that’s a deal-breaker for you.

You don’t have to go all out with a certain trend, though. Instead, you can embrace certain aspects of a style that you like. If you like the lighting fixtures of a certain style, then you can give those a try.

You could work with certain color trends, styles of wood, or carpets that you like. Perhaps you want staple pieces of furniture that reflect a certain style.

There are ways to bring certain trends into your home without making them a permanent fixture. Many things can always be swapped out later in the line! 

Determine your current budget.

One of the most important things to think about when you are remodeling any part of a house is your budget. This is going to dictate what you are capable of doing.

You need to know the costs of different things and if they will be feasible with your budget. Unfortunately, remodeling projects can cost a lot of money, and this can mean that you’re a little bit stuck if you haven’t prepared a budget in advance. 

There are some ways that you can fund your project, however. For instance, you could save up to remodel your house. This may take some time, but it’s ideal if you don’t want to introduce any debt into the mix. You can also get different financing options such as loans.

You can use these to borrow a set amount of money that you will need to pay back by a certain point in time. Look into home equity loans if this interests you. Credit cards can be a useful way of funding remodeling projects as well but beware of interest rates or trouble with debts.

When you have a budget set up and ready to go, it’s then just a matter of affording the renovation. If you plan what you are going to do carefully, then you can minimize the risks of going over your budget, which can happen quite a lot when you are remodeling your house.

Determine the scope of the project.

How big is your project going to be?

This consideration is just as important as thinking about your budget. If you’re changing the layout of your bathroom for instance then you are likely going to need to change the plumbing in the room, and this can cost a lot of money.

People don’t always think to consider the cost of the drains and the plumbing when renovating rooms like the bathroom, but this is a big mistake. 

Ultimately it’s important to remember that if you have a larger project, it’s going to not only cost you more money but it will also cost you more in time.

A small renovation project could take just a few days if it’s done by an experienced contractor, whereas a larger scale renovation could sometimes take months to do.

This isn’t always ideal if you are still living in the house when the renovations are taking place, as it can cause disruption to your everyday life.

Think carefully about the scope of the project, and make sure that you have a plan in place.

Choose to hire a contractor or DIY.

You have two main choices when it comes to remodeling your home – you can either get a contractor in your house to undertake the renovations, or you can do them completely by yourself.

For people that don’t have very large budgets, DIY can seem appealing. This is certainly doable for certain projects, but it’s best avoided for others.

Some particularly skilled jobs are better undertaken by a professional that knows what they are doing. Likewise, you need to consider the permits, since sometimes a professional will need to agree to the permit in order for them to be signed off.

If you think that the remodeling can be done off your own back and you’re not likely to mess it up, then go ahead! If you don’t feel confident doing certain things then it’s always better to get a professional involved.

You will then have the peace of mind that things are being done correctly.

Decide on materials.

house remodeling materials

Next, you need to think about what materials you are going to use. This comes down to the flooring, drywall, cabinetry, and pretty much everything in between.

You have a lot of choices to make.

If you did some research on trends and styles earlier then there’s a chance that you already have some idea about what kind of materials you want to use.

Of course, your budget can also have a big impact on the kinds of materials that you use, since some can cost a lot more than others.

Consider what materials you simply must-have, and which ones you aren’t too bothered about bringing into your home.

It’s possible to get lower-cost equivalent materials in most cases, so it’s worth thinking about that when making your plans for the remodeling project. 

Demolish the space.

You’re then going to need to demolish the room in order to get started on the remodeling.

In many cases, this is something that you can actually do yourself, though you may feel more comfortable getting a contractor to do it if you are remodeling a room where there is plumbing since it’s best to avoid damaging it.

You aren’t likely to save a massive amount of money from demolishing the space yourself either, so it’s worth keeping that in mind. 

Begin remodeling.

It’s finally time to start remodeling so you have the room that you’ve been envisioning for a long time!

If you’re getting contractors to do the work for you, then there’s likely not a lot that you need to do since the professional will get it all done for you.

There’s really no need for you to oversee it in most respects. It can be tempting to micromanage the work, but that’s just going to annoy you and the contractors.

Alternatively, you may be doing all of the work yourself, in which case you will need to take some time off in order to get it all done. Book time off with your work well in advance of renovations so you’re sure that you have the time to get it all done. 

Complete mandatory inspections

Now that the remodeling is done, it’s time to get everything inspected if you have made any changes to the structure, plumbing, or electrical work.

Get a professional in to ensure everything has been done correctly. In most cases, a contractor will handle this part for you and you aren’t going to need to worry, but if you have done it yourself then it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion. 

Add finishing touches.

Last but not least, add in any little things that you think will really make the room shine. For instance, if you are remodeling the bathroom or kitchen, this is when you would add in all of the items you need to the cabinets, or it’s where you’d add a plant for some extra decoration.

Perhaps you want to move the furniture a little. This is the time to do any additional things that will make your new room feel like it’s truly finished. 


That’s everything you need to know about remodeling your home! Now, sit back and relax, take the time to enjoy your handiwork. You certainly deserve it!