Prioritizing your Home Improvement To-Do List

If you are like many homeowners, you have a seemingly endless list of home improvement projects – remodel the kitchen, paint the house, replace the roof… where to start? For most people, tackling all of the projects on the list at once would be infeasible, so some prioritizing is in order. We have compiled some tips to help you prioritize your home improvement to-do list in a way that makes sense for your situation:

First address repairs that will incur additional costs if neglected. Any issues with the home that will worsen and cost more money with time should be high priority. Water damage is a good example, as are foundation and roof problems. A water leak left unfixed could mean massive costs down the line, such as replacing water damaged walls and mold remediation. Unfortunately these types of repairs are less exciting than for instance remodeling the kitchen or installing new hardwood floors, but they are necessary for the longevity and value of the home.

Consider any necessary electrical, HVAC and plumbing repairs or upgrades. Ensuring that the mechanical aspects of the home are in working order is another phase of home improvement that may seem less than exciting, but in most cases function takes priority over aesthetics. It would be difficult to enjoy a newly remodeled bathroom without a functional water heater, or to enjoy anything about your home with a broken heater in freezing temperatures. Use your best judgment to determine what mechanical repairs are necessary.

Budget should be considered in planning your home improvement timeline. Your home improvement list probably has a mix of costly and less expensive projects. The financial magnitude of different projects should be considered as you prioritize. Expensive projects may be spaced out according to your financial means, with smaller projects filling the spaces between.

Separate fantasy from reality. There may be one or more items on your list that are more of “I wish I could..” than “I plan to…” There is nothing wrong with aiming high, but distinguishing which projects get the green light and which stay in the wish list category is a part of prioritizing. This does not mean you have to remove your fantasy projects from the list, but rather that it helps to be realistic about them when setting up your project timeline.

Prioritizing the order in which projects should be done and planning a realistic timeline based on your financial situation and the condition of your home can alleviate the anxiety of a seemingly never ending to-do list.