By Andy Meredith
As the project manager for all of our renovations, it’s usually my job to figure out which projects need to be done first and which ones can wait until later. Of course, I’m not the only one making these decisions or the only one affected by them. Once I know which materials Candis can get first and which subcontractors we’ll be working with in what order, though, it’s up to me to create an ordered and prioritized list of things to do for the renovation.
So how do I do that, and how can you make sure that you have the right jobs prioritized for your projects? I’ve found that following these tips can be really helpful.
Think About Your Wants Vs. Your Needs
First of all, what do you really need to do? If the front staircase in an old house is rotting, we need to repair or replace it. If the back patio is looking a little shabby, we’ll want to fix it up. The needs have to come before the wants, so you might as well start with those. Of course, that’s not the end of your prioritizing. If you’re working with an old or heavily damaged house like the ones we renovate, you’re going to have a lot of needs and you’ll have to figure out which ones should be done first.
Go With Structural Repairs Before Aesthetic Ones
Now, looking at your “needs” list, divide it up into aesthetic improvements versus structural ones. In other words, you definitely need to replace that staircase, and you absolutely need to strip the peeling wallpaper in the living room. So which should go first? In my experience, do the bigger, structural projects first and you’ll be less likely to damage the aesthetic ones.
To illustrate my point, let’s look at the staircase versus the living room walls. If you strip and paint the walls before you take out the old stairs and replace them, you’re risking exposing wet paint to a lot of dust and debris. Worse, you’re going to be hauling a lot of wood and other materials in and out, and you’re pretty likely to scuff or otherwise damage the new paint. So it’s just a better idea to go ahead and do the stairs first and wait on the paint.
Go With High Priority Rooms First
Once you’ve gotten the structural issues taken care of, I recommend doing the “most important” rooms first. In other words, spend your money on the rooms that matter most to buyers – the kitchen and the bathrooms. This way you won’t run out of money in your budget and then find out that you still need to buy new appliances or new cabinets for the kitchen, which would leave you scrambling for a cheaper option.
Prioritize Your “Wants”
Finally, look at what’s left in your budget for the “wants” list. You might not be able to do everything on that list, but you can do the things that will matter most to your buyers, and you should do those first. Look at improvements that will help out your curb appeal and things that your buyers will immediately notice. In the end, you’ll probably want to spend a little more on your front walk than you will on the back patio, but you should have enough left over to spruce that space up, too.
If you follow these tips, and you stick to your budget as much as you can at each step of the way, you should be able to take care of everything you need to do in an efficient order that will reduce your stress levels and keep the job running smoothly.