Renovation is an excellent way to make a house more functional and give it a fresh feel. Kitchen renovations, bathroom remodels, and basement finishing can upgrade a home’s value while making it more comfortable for the family. That said, home remodeling is more complex than T.V. shows depict. Between planning the changes, negotiating with contractors, and executing the plan, a big home improvement project can take up considerable time, energy, and expense. Consider taking these steps for a smoother and more seamless renovation project.

Find the right financing

There are many financing options available for home renovations and repairs. If the home repairs are necessary to keep the home safe and structurally sound, it’s a good idea to call the local Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office or visit their website to learn about any grants or loans they offer. For other home improvements, such as a kitchen renovation or new sunroom, budgeting and saving up for a renovation is one of the most common paths people take. “Some decide to borrow against their home’s equity or take out a personal loan,” said Chicag-based Northwestern Mutual Financial Advisor Alison Fyhrie. “It’s also possible to borrow against the cash value of a whole life insurance policy or a universal life insurance policy.”

Look for a qualified contractor

The right contractor can make all the difference when it comes to home improvement projects. “Ask for word-of-mouth referrals from friends or neighbors,” said Fyhrie. “Check online reviews and, if possible, talk to previous clients.”

Homeowners may want to look for someone who has worked on projects like theirs. For example, if someone is looking for a kitchen remodel, they should look for a contractor who is experienced in that area – ideally in the style they’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t forget to compare rates after speaking to a few different candidates.

Identify if permits are needed

Depending on the type of home improvements planned, homeowners may need a permit from local authorities to complete the project. Typically, the contractor takes the lead on applying for permits, but homeowners should keep tabs and ensure all permits are secured before work starts. Homeowners in an HOA (Homeowner Association) can also ask about any HOA-specific rules or requirements. It helps to ask questions about possible renovation limitations or guidelines when the project is still in the planning stage.

Make appropriate arrangements

Leaving the packing and decluttering for the last minute can cause unwanted stress later on. Requirements will depend on the type of project. For example, with a bathroom remodel in a home with two full baths, it’s possible to continue living in the house and use the other bathroom. But with a kitchen remodel, homeowners may need to pack and store pots, pans, and other kitchen implements as appliances. A makeshift kitchen space may be required, or the family may choose to live elsewhere for the duration of the project. Alternate living arrangements can cost money, so consider this while building the budget.

Consider the impact on resale value

Most homeowners want their home improvement efforts to increase the value of their home. They may even conduct a cost-benefit analysis to see how investing in renovation can affect the value. But renovations are not all the same. Sometimes, extensive customization can make a home more difficult to sell. Depending on the homeowner’s priorities, it can be a good idea to discuss some of these factors with a contractor (and possibly a realtor) before undertaking a big renovation project.

The primary purpose of permanent life insurance is to provide a death benefit. Using permanent life insurance accumulated value will reduce the death benefit and may affect other aspects of the policy.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM) and its subsidiaries in Milwaukee, WI.

Source: Northwestern Mutual