If you’re thinking about doing a full renovation of your entire house — knocking down walls, changing the layout, replacing the windows and updating finishes — you’ll need to do much more thorough and careful planning than if you were renovating one or two rooms. A whole house renovation is a long and complex process, and there are a number of considerations to keep in mind as you plan your design and timeline.

Factors to consider before remodeling your home

Will you be living in the house during the renovation?

If you are renovating a house that you are not currently living in, that’s obviously ideal and it can allow the work to proceed more quickly and efficiently. If the home is one in which you are currently living, you may want to make arrangements to stay with a family member or in an extended stay hotel or short-term rental for the months while the work is in full swing.

If it’s simply not practical for you to move out of your home for several months, you may need to plan the renovation in phases so that there will be livable spaces within the house as work proceeds. However, even a phased renovation may require you to be out of the house temporarily as certain types of work are performed. For example, hardwood floor refinishing may limit your ability to use the home for a few days.

How much time are you willing and able to spend?

If you are renovating a home and need to move in by a certain date, that may impact how ambitious you can be with your plans. Additionally, if you plan to live in the house during most of the process, think about how much disruption you are willing to endure and for how long.

On a large renovation project, give yourself as much lead time as you can. Permitting is often a slow process, so it may be some time before the project can begin. And even the most meticulously planned renovation may encounter unanticipated setbacks. Budget extra time for the unexpected.

Planning and designing your whole house renovation

The following are some questions and issues to think through as you plan your home remodel.

Are there historic features that need to be saved?

If your home has any historic or period-specific features, do some research on their value. Even if the style is not something that you personally like, tearing down historical moldings, fireplaces and windows can affect the character and future value of the house. A design-build contractor can help you assess the best way to incorporate or repurpose historic features in a way that complements your style and desired layout.

What are your priorities?

Have in mind your ultimate goals for the remodel. What are you trying to achieve and what are the most important priorities for your ideal living space? Are you looking for space to entertain? Better flow? Family areas for gaming and home media? Make a list of must-have features versus those that are desirable but not deal-breakers. Then if you need to modify your plans, you will have a clear idea of which features can be eliminated without compromising your ultimate goals.

How will this design transition with your needs over time?

Keep in mind that your needs and lifestyle will change over the years. If you are raising young children, how will the space work for you when they are teenagers? Or when you become empty-nesters? If you are approaching your senior years, are there features that will allow you to age in place? Will your home be desirable to buyers if you decide to move? Plan your design with the future in mind.

Be flexible.

Even though we just told you to prioritize your must-haves and deal-breakers, try to enter into the renovation process with an open mind. You may have a very specific vision for your space and then find that a wall you want to remove is particularly challenging or a feature you desire is going to cost much more than you thought. Be open to the possibility of achieving your goals in a different way. A good design-build contractor will have creative solutions to many challenges and there may be more than one way to achieve your ultimate goal.

Other considerations as you prepare for your whole home renovation

Figure out where your stuff is going to be stored.

If you will be living in the house during the renovation and you don’t have enough space in a garage or storage shed where you can put furniture and other belongings as work proceeds, you may need to rent a temporary storage unit or storage pod.

Plan for site security.

If you will not be living on site during the process, consider installing motion lights, cameras or other security measures. Talk to your neighbors and ask them to let you know if they see anything suspicious. Although it’s rare, burglars may take advantage of an unoccupied home.

Prepare your neighbors.

It’s a good idea to brief your neighbors ahead of time and let them know you are planning a major renovation. Give them an idea of how long you expect the project to last. Ensure that your contractor is one who hires professional workers who are respectful of the neighborhood.

Interested in discussing your upcoming renovation project? Contact Advance Design & Remodel to schedule a consultation.