There are many issues to consider when renovating your house: what will change and what can stay, how much mess will it create, where could an addition go, will I need to move out temporarily, how long will it take, do I need an architect, and even what will the neighbors or city say?
Before you ponder these items, the first thing you should do is sit down and determine a realistic budget. Budgets drive most renovation projects, so it’s very helpful to estimate the amount that can realistically (which means emotionally and economically) be spent on the entire project first before you get too deep into
design and construction issues.
There are many examples of budgets online, but a proper one should include all hard costs (like demolition, actual building materials, and items like plumbing
fixtures) and soft costs (like architect’s fees, permits, and surveys) and even a 10 percent contingency to allow for all those unforeseen events like digging into bad soil or a thunderstorm that ruins work in progress. A budget will tell you how big you can build and what finishes and fixtures can be allocated.
It’s OK if you cannot figure out what all your hard or soft costs will be – residential
architects and builders can assist in that. Your job is to find a budget number
that you and your financial advisors can agree upon that could be spent
comfortably on your renovation. Then those other interesting questions can be
looked at, explored, and nailed down. It all begins with a realistic budget.