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Renovating your home is one of the most stressful and challenging undertakings to take on. Business Insider compares remodeling a home to a crash course in relationship viability, since, “…Large sums of money are involved, plus ego, personal preferences, childhood dreams, high stress, forced collaboration—the list goes on.” In order to keep stress at a minimum for you and your family, it is important to plan and prepare extensively beforehand. Here are 5 helpful tips to make your home renovation a smooth one:

1.) Understand what it is you are doing, and why you are doing it.

Is the purpose of your renovation to sell your home, or are you renovating to your own specific taste and preference? If you are renovating to sell, priorities and budgets will be different than if you are renovating for yourself. While you can try to figure out your home’s value by utilizing various resources online, the best way to understand how a renovation will affect your home price, long-term, is by discussing your plans with a realtor. Decide what is priority, and what isn’t, so that you can move forward with realistic expectations and ideas.

2.) Develop a budget and a plan, and be committed to sticking to it.

Determine what it is you want to tackle, and what “extras” are more negotiable, so that you do not feel pressured into making decisions or “adding-on” when you meet with various contractors. Consider the additional items a bonus if the project does in fact turn out to be less than originally thought (and a quick drop if the price is exponentially more). Once you figure out what it is you want to do, you can set your budget – with contingency – and commit to sticking to it.

3.) Determine if there are any aspects of the project you are willing to take on yourself to minimize overall costs.

Let’s face it, there are certain home renovation projects you should never attempt to do yourself, such as plumbing and electrical, but there are countless others that can help save you a few bucks. If painting, landscaping, and minor touch ups and improvements don’t bother you, consider taking on the projects yourself to stretch your budget even further.

4.) Research online and ask trusted friends, family, and neighbors for contractor referrals.

While sorting through reviews online is an excellent way to gauge which contractor to use, there is no better way to find a top-notch, trustworthy contractor than by obtaining referrals from friends and family. You can even use neighborhood message boards such as Nextdoor to sort through businesses of interest. One point to remember is that going with the lowest bid isn’t always the best idea. Choose a contractor that provides a fair price and service combination along with having an excellent reputation.

5.) Remove your belongings from your home while the renovation is taking place.

If you are embarking on a major home renovation, moving items from room to room is not a viable option. Instead, renting a self storage unit will increase your work space and keep your items damage-free. This is especially helpful if you are preparing your home to sell, enabling you to store your boxes and stage your home as needed. Best of all, with storage units available to rent in nearly every neighborhood at an affordable price, finding one close-by is simple (and won’t break the bank)!

By planning ahead, setting a budget, finding a reputable contractor, and utilizing a self-storage unit, you will alleviate unnecessary stress, and make your summer a good one!

To a successful home renovation!