Man working on a new kitchen installation and looking at blueprints
Man working on a new kitchen installation and looking at blueprints

4 tips for remodeling your home

Home improvement can be a headache, but you can lessen the burden with these helpful tips

If you’re feeling restless about your space—perhaps the kitchen is out of date, or the living room layout has never made sense—remodeling can help you upgrade your surroundings without having to deal with the hassle and expense of moving. Whether you’re simply sprucing up a bathroom or going for a complete home remodel, here are some tips to help the process go smoothly. 

Know why you’re remodeling

Before you start picking out tiles or knocking down walls, make sure you’re clear on what you hope to accomplish with your remodel. Your strategy should match your goals. For example, if you simply need more space, putting on an addition may be more effective than trying to rework your home’s existing footprint. If you’re converting your Over-the-Rhine, Broad Ripple, or Short North home to a short-term or annual rental property, you’ll want to think about what could make it appealing to future renters. You may want to focus on increasing your home’s resale value by making improvements like updating your bathrooms or adding a deck.  The improvements can boost your home’s value without needing to change the interior. 

Prepare for surprises

When remodeling an older home—whether it’s a historic townhouse in Pendleton or an East Side Victorian like the painted ladies in Columbia Tusculum—it’s important to prepare for the unexpected. For example, opening up a wall to get more floor space can reveal issues you may not have known you had. You may discover your entire electrical system needs upgrading, or that you have a persistent leak that’s making its way through your walls. These kinds of discoveries can wreak havoc on your timeline and budget. Knowing your home’s history and keeping up with regular maintenance can prevent many unpleasant surprises. This is why it’s always important to set aside money in your budget to cover the unexpected.  

Figure out how you’ll finance it

For a significant remodel, you may need to seek out financing. Home equity loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), and construction rehabilitation loans (for major improvements) can give you the cash you need. Before applying for anything, figure out how much equity you have in your home, and make sure it’s enough to cover the estimated budget for the remodel. Then, shop around to get quotes from a few different lenders. For instance, a local bank that is more familiar with your neighborhood and current home values may offer you a better rate or repayment options. 

Hire the right contractor

With any kind of home repairs, make sure you have a contractor you trust. The best contractors often come by word of mouth, so ask friends, neighbors, and coworkers for recommendations. Once you’ve landed on a contractor you like, ask for references, pictures of previous work, and try to visit a current worksite to get a sense of how your contractor interacts with clients and their homes. It’s also a good idea to get multiple quotes, even for a small project. A contractor with a large crew that handles multiple jobs at once may see your job very differently than a handyman who works alone and only takes one job at a time. 

Most people who’ve lived through a remodel will tell you that the process can be stressful, but remodeling a home is also exciting. You get to make fresh choices that can give you a new appreciation for your home while potentially adding to its value. If you can get through the tough parts, there is a light at the end of the tunnel: a home that feels even more like the sanctuary you want it to be.


The information on this page is accurate as of January 2021 and is subject to change. First Financial Bank is not affiliated with any third-parties or third-party websites mentioned above. Any reference to any person, organization, activity, product, and/or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement. By clicking on a third-party link, you acknowledge you are leaving bankatfirst.com. First Financial Bank is not responsible for the content or security of any linked web page. Member FDIC / Equal Housing Lender.

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First Financial Bank is not affiliated with any third-party websites. Any reference to any person, organization, activity, product, and/or services does not constitute or imply an endorsement. First Financial Bank is not responsible for the content or security of any linked web page.