It was not an easy process. I was told by many people when we started our home renovation journey. Boy, I didn’t think it would take that long. It took us years to renovate our home. I remembered receiving a DM from a reader as I went through the documents. She said that their house had been renovated about three years ago, and although it was miserable, she would do it all over again. I was unsure at that point if she was correct. Would I do it again? It turns out that she was right. Fast forward one year. It was something I would do again, but it would be different. Here are some things I wish I had known before I renovated my home and some tips for home renovations.

The TL;DR is that we bought our 1970s house in 2014 and have lived happily in it for five years. We knew the house was in a growing area of Atlanta and that its value had increased exponentially over the past few years. We realized that to find a larger space, we would need to double the price of our house. Even then, it would not be a unique property. We were faced with a choice: either we love it or sell it. We were able to put about 100k into the house, making it the home of our dreams. We were able to put this equity back into the house by simply living in it. It wasn’t too risky. Although we wouldn’t get more space or a larger bedroom, it was unnecessary. We could instead get a bigger main bedroom, a main bathroom and closet, and a larger kitchen. We had completed the work on every wall, floor and light throughout the house.

After reading a few reviews on Next Door and talking to the people, we decided to hire a GC. Later, we discovered that friends and family wrote the reviews of the men who were starting a business, and this was their first real project. 

Home Renovation Tips

Note: This was discovered about a month into the project. We were smart enough to see through their contract and prove that they had broken it.

Do It Yourself

If you are not building from scratch, it is good to have your general contractor hire a friend or family member. The general contractor’s job is to make sure that the project is on track, that subcontractors (plumbers and electricians, handymen or tilers) are hired and paid, and act as an intermediary. Do not rely on any third party to do your job. Our GC was limited to texting a plumber asking, “when are we going to show up” and they were not even present when subcontractors arrived. Our situation was terrible, but GCs tend to have many projects and will not be able to attend to your project. They are a glorified project manager and usually charge around 25% of your total project budget. I would rather pay it to a close family member with strong opinions and an organizational flair if I could.

Make Your Decision Early on

Before you start any project, I recommend drawing and planning everything. It will cost you both time and money to change your mind every time. We made one major change during our home renovation. Although I was certain it was the right decision, it still cost us. Don’t let it go.

Do Not Be Afraid to Ask

Do you remember sitting in a chair with a hairdresser and not knowing what to say about the 3 inches that they had just cut off your hair? Yes, I have. It is not the right time to agree on a home renovation. This project will cost thousands of dollars, and you want it to be exactly what you envisioned. You will find yourself where every contractor, tiler, tiler, and quartz engineer will tell you that the 8-foot island you want to build is too large for your space. Listen attentively and ask specific questions about the reason they made a recommendation. It may be worthwhile to listen if they are referring to the function. If it is aesthetic, it might be worth asking them.


Although I did not want to have to source materials myself, I understand why contractors are paid for labor and then take care of the materials. Contractors can charge a premium when they buy certain items. You could end up paying 30% more for some materials. It is best only to hire labor.


It would be best if you took some time to research any issues in your home. We were informed early on that a gas stove was not allowed in our house. So we designed it accordingly. After the project was complete, we discovered that our neighbors had gas stoves. This functionality was readily available for our street. Please do your research before you trust anyone telling you something is impossible or that it’s not possible.


The internet is magical. I cannot tell you how many amazing deals I found on Amazon, Etsy, and Target. Even large-box stores such as The Home Depot have more selection and availability online than in-store. Although it may be difficult to see products online, read customer reviews and review the return policies. Home Renovation Tip – Many places allow you to order online and have your product returned in-store.


It is amazing how many things you forget while working on a large project such as this. I bought my appliances, countertops, sink, faucet, lights, and cabinets in the kitchen. I was not aware that I had purchased garbage disposal until the end. Before you start your project, do your research about every area. Decide on the design and style you want, and read through reviews. Once the ball is rolling, you won’t have time to think about it, so create a list before starting your project.


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