Preparation and Planning a House for Renovation in Houston

10:47 Jul 2023
House for Renovation

So, you have decided to finally get serious about preparing your house for renovation in Houston and you are doing some research. You have come to the right place.

There is much to consider if you are an experience in home renovating or just a first-time owner.  

You are already ahead of most homeowners by doing your research before you plunge head first into the long list of decisions you will be facing with a house for renovation.

There are no real hard and fast rules about the exact order to the procedural steps of planning your house for renovation in Houston.

More like guide lines to avoid getting the cart before the horse. The most important thing to remember is do your research and have fun. 

Houston renovations are supposed to be fun and exciting work. The homeowner is not supposed to be an expert in these projects but rather be coachable and prepared to ask relevant questions that will qualify a comfort level with a trusted home renovator and other supporting professionals if required.

A house for renovation requires careful planning and preparation in Houston

House for Renovation

We have prepared an outline of some important steps to act as a guide to assist you in getting organized and confident with moving forward with your house for renovations.

If there are areas of the home remodel process that you are not comfortable with you should share these concerns with your trusted professionals.

Your home renovator should be able to do more than house repairs. They should be capable of effectively communicating and developing a clear understanding of your needs and wants and translating them into images and ideas that you can understand.

We will cover the following topics;

  • Preparing the Wish List
  • Develop a Financial Plan
  • Prepare a Renovation Living Plan During Construction
  • Screening Houston General Contractors
  • Develop a Renovation Design Team
  • Selecting a Home Renovator
  • Develop your House Design Plans
  • Building Permit
  • Order Long Lead Time Products
  • Work your Renovating Execution Plan

Preparing the Wish List

Preparing the house for renovation journey normally begins with the owner preparing a wish list.

This consist of photo images and product details that the owner would like to incorporate into the home renovation project.

This collection of images can be organized in many different files such as kitchen cabinets, appliances, floor plan layouts, bath fixtures, windows and paint colors etc.

These files can be used for developing your product and color boards later in the design process.

It is also advisable to assess the possibly of including any major home maintenance projects or house product replacement needs you may address during your upcoming renovation projects.

Evaluate the condition and age of the existing products in the immediate renovating area that could be incorporated into your remodeling project.

These include such items as windows, doors, roofing, electrical & lighting and insulation upgrades

A few advantages of including maintenance projects can often be completed a bit more cost effectively and can prevent disrupting newly finished renovated work after the fact. Preparing the house for renovation is a significant task.

We have prepared a comprehensive guide to the entire home renovation process.

Develop a Financial Plan

Developing a financial plan is essential in the early stages of planning your home renovation.

This plan includes preparing large group budget items (kitchen, bathroom, roofing) and the method to pay for these improvements.

The budget becomes a work in process as you progress through the plan and design process.

So, the early budget groupings are a best guess lump sum with a plus or minus of 25%.

As you begin the general contractor interviewing process you will get a much better feel of a more accurate renovation budget.

Although until you actually have a detailed plan and have selected the new house products you want, there will be some question to the exact amount of the total cost.

In addition, you should plan some contingency for any unwelcome surprises that can be revealed after demolition.

These types of surprises include termite damage, water damage and dry rot. It is also possible to discover a previous construction error that was missed during the original construction of the home.

Prepare a Renovation Living Plan During Construction

Preparing a plan for making accommodations during the destruction of your home is too often overlooked or left to the end of the planning process to address.

The need for planning a family livability plan depends on the extent of the magnitude of the house for renovation.  

If your home has multiple bathrooms, it will require much less planning for a new master bathroom renovation.

If you are planning a whole home renovation, you are likely to make plans for temporary quarters for your family during construction.

A word to the wise when it comes to living with major home renovation construction.

Your family may save a few dollars but the inconveniences and consequences may not be worth the savings in hind sight.

When a family attempts to live with construction activities the projects historically take much longer to complete and often results in unwanted incidents with workers.

There is also the issue of safety and security to consider. When the project is affecting the home’s exterior envelope it can reduce the security of your family from intruders.

The greatest inconvenience is the dust and debris that will result from a major house for renovation project.

Even when the home renovator is cleaning daily the dust can migrate to other parts of the living area causing issues with the family.

Screening the Houston General Contractors

Preparing for interviewing a short list of qualified remodeling companies is an important step in the planning process.

There are plenty of websites that provide frequently asked questions (FAQ) that you can download from here;

The important take away from the interviewing process is to find a home renovator that you are comfortable with and trust.

They should be a good fit for the quality of the project and a good fit with you personally.

Major home renovations can take 4-12 months or longer depending on the project scope of work.

The point is that your general contractor will be in your life for an extended period of time.

During the screening process you want to get an understanding of what a day in their life will be like.

Will they be working with subcontractors or self performing the work?

Are they open to working with your decorators/architectural designers or only with their own design professionals?

How do they facilitate on site inspections and design color chooses?

How often will the actual remodeling company owner be on site and who will be the day to day supervisor of the workers?

These questions will help you visualize what it will be like to actually work with them daily.

Develop a Remodeling Design Team

The primary question you must ask yourself before you develop the design team is do you want to be responsible for the cost and possible mistakes that can happen from hiring your own architectural designer/decorator or do you want your general contractor to be responsible by directly hiring the design team.

The general argument presented by owners are that they will not get a competitive bid if they turn the entire design build remodeling project over to the home renovator.

This is usually not the case. During the screening the owner is sharing their budget with each of the likely candidates.

There is a lot of conversation about the feasibility and qualification of the target budget during the screening process.

In smaller renovation projects the owner can often request proposal estimates that also help with defining the actual budget.

Although with larger whole home renovations the owner is better off working with the target budget as a compass and value engineering design and selected products to stay on budget.

House for Renovation Houston Planning

Selecting a Home Renovator

Regardless if the owner hires the architectural designer directly or has the general contractor hire the design team, the owner is far better off selecting a home renovator to collaborate with the designer and provide construction cost insights during the design phase.

If the owner does not get the general contractor involved and waits for the design plans to be completed for bid, they run the risk of substantially over running the budget and having to redesign the home renovation plans a second time.

This will end up costing time and money to the project. For a list of effective questions to ask a remodeling contractor visit here

Develop your Home Design Plans

Developing the home design plans is essential for cost control, permitting and quality control.

A project with a poorly prepared design plan or no plans will always end up out of control.

Depending on the owner’s ability to actual read plans and visualize the finished product will dictate the need for 3D drawings.

The greatest advantage of 3D drawings is the ability to place furniture pieces and introduce color and fabric patterns into the design model.

This can save a lot of time and expense for the owner in determining decorating selections and also aids in evaluating room sizes and architectural features. For a deeper dive into home design read our link.

Building Permits

When the home design plans are complete and the budget has been approved it is time to secure a building permit.

Once again depending on the size and complexity of the project will determine the need for a structural engineer, energy and mechanical calculations.

The actual structural building permit must be approved before the MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) permits can be approved.

A quick point about renovating a much older home, the building department will normally require that anything that is modified during remodeling will be required to be brought up to the current code.

That means that if you are required to replace the entire HVAC system that you would be required to install the SEER requirements for the current mechanical code.

Order Long Lead Time Products

The last very relevant point in preparing a house for renovation will lead the project through planning to ask your general contractor for a prioritized list of required product selections.

It is best if you can complete the product selections before you start your project.

Unfortunately, this is not always possible. In which case it is extremely important to understand the long lead time order products and finalize the purchase.

Many long lead time products require shop drawings to be approved before the order is processed.

The shop drawing should be approved as soon as the final drawings have been completed.

Critical errors that occur with shop drawings can set the project back considerably.

Great care must be placed in the review and order of products which require shop drawings.

Specialty products can also require a greater than normal time line to receive. If a specialty product is an incremental aspect of a critical path scheduling item, it is a good practice to wait to receive the product before the renovation contractor begins that work item.

Work your Renovation Execution Plan

By this point you are ready to begin the dismantling of the house for renovation. Your renovation execution plan has been prepared, long lead items ordered and the owner and renovation contractor have established a like minded expectation of the remodel process and what to expect.

The key thing here is to work the plan that was developed and if surprises develop, keep the owner apprised of the changes.

As you can see, there are an enormous amount of required task in the planning and preparing of the house for renovation process.

By following this guide, you can have the confidence that you will have a great beginning to your home renovation project.

For a vast number of resources for your home renovation project visit here

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