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Prioritizing Home Remodeling

Do you have an overwhelming list of projects to make your home yours? We certainly do; and most of us don’t have unlimited resources to improve our home. We want it to be comfortable and relaxing, but sometimes you have to do the boring stuff first.

If you are trying to make your home the best place it can be and don’t have a million dollars you will have to prioritize your projects. This was really hard for us. While I wanted a functional kitchen more than I wanted anything, fixing key structural elements in our house had to take priority. If we couldn’t fix the basics and make our home structurally sound and safe any money spent was potentially lost. We had to focus on safety first. Six things you should have inspected and prioritize before any other remodeling are:


We live in an area where foundation problems are common. We have clay soil that shifts with the weather conditions. What is your foundation made of? Concrete slab, pier and beam? is it stable? If you have questions or live in an area with shifting soil, have an analysis completed, have several. We had several and the estimates to fix our foundation were $9, $16 and $46,000. The most expensive option is not the best. We connected with a friend in the business and the $9k option was actually the best. If you can find a contactor you trust or get a referral, use it. It can save you a ton of money and worry.


When you have foundation damage you will most likely have pluming issues too. The foundation company gave us an estimate from their preferred plumber. Do research. Get estimates. The original foundation company required a plumbing inspection for our warranty. The company they recommended would drill though the foundation in four rooms of our house. This would require four new floors. That area was not high on our remodel list and cost almost as much as the foundation repair, $7.5k. We found a local company through Angie’s List that tunneled under our house from outside for a slightly more attractive price tag. Without pulling up every floor in our house, that meant we didn’t have to move those rooms ahead on our remodeling schedule. We saved a lot of money using the company that came in from the outside versus breaking up the floors.

Septic System

If you have a septic system have it inspected and make sure you are maintain it. Having a disruption here can be quite the household emergency which is costly and makes a mess of your yard and landscaping.


Spend the money, hire an electrician to inspect your home. We have a home that was built in 1984, building codes have changed, Make sure your home is a safe and that you have GFI plugs where needed. Primarily the bathrooms, kitchen and around the pool.

Heating and Cooling

Have your heating and cooling units evaluated and serviced twice a year. Once for hot weather and once for cold. If you keep your units in good working order you can avoid emergency replacements. If your units are just old, budget and plan for replacement.

Water Flow and Irrigation

Hire someone to come out and see how water flows though your yard and travels around your house. This is key to protecting your foundation and even preventing flooding in your home.

What’s next?

Do any of these key areas have problems? Prioritize them high on the list. Putting the structure of your home and the systems that make it a safe and comfortable place to live will ensure that you maintain your investment and your family’s comfort.

You wouldn’t want to put new flooring in to have it buckle or crack because your foundation is moving. Or have your new landscaping dug up to replace a failing septic system. It was hard for us to put these things first but we did. As a result, we have confidence that the new sheet rock and flooring in the kitchen and bath is less likely to have cracks or need other repairs related to an unaddressed issue.

I’m sure you’ve heard people say if you have a home you are never finished with improving it and they are right. You may get everything that’s on your list completed but that list will evolve and change over time as your life evolves and changes. Keep that list flexible and keep moving forward. Remember to enjoy the simple things your home provides, shelter, plumbing, etc. and take care of those things first! Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is the perfectly remodeled home!

Prioritizing Home Remodeling - Safety and Soundness First


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