Remodeling Survival Guide!

Our expert advice on how to survive & thrive during a home remodel.


Kitchens and baths….that’s where our Nest agents and investment experts will commonly tell you to put your money when undertaking a home renovation—whether it’s for investment, fix and flip, or the home where you plan to stay for years to come. It also just so happens those are the two spaces in your home you use every day. Your happiness, and sometimes your very survival, depend on them.

Whether you’re a first-timer or experienced contractor…we all suffer in the same ways when it comes to remodeling projects. But sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to get where you want to be, as they say, and a home is no different. Sometimes to achieve a desired style or feature set, you have to get down to the studs and start over. And that’s okay. Just be prepared for the journey.

We’ve tapped into our years of collective experience to bring you this remodeler’s survival guide, aiming to help you successfully navigate a major remodel.


Any experienced remodeler will tell you about timeline fatigue. You can expect things to take at least twice as long—sometimes three times as long—as they’re “supposed” to take. Especially if you are doing it yourself, expect to encounter countless trips to the local hardware store to pick up that one (insert a million diff erent possible tiny things from drill bits to saw blades to pipe fi ttings to caulk) thing you need to finish the job. There will also be mistakes. And returns. So set a moderate and realistic timeline as you begin your project. Understand that there will be highs and lows. But keep reading and stick with the plan.


In the heart of the storm, when your kitchen is in shambles, you’re doing dishes in the backyard, and showering at the gym, you will need a safe space to retreat to within your home.

Create clean spaces that can remain a sanctuary during construction. If you have kids rooms, obviously those will need to be taped off or protected from saw dust, drywall dust, and the many other toxic fumes and dirt you are going to create during your remodel. So perhaps it’s a primary bedroom, a study, or a home gym, but preserve a small piece of sanity for yourself that isn’t going to be covered in dirt or have construction workers tramping through it, ever. Trust us, you’ll want a place to go and meditate during this renovation process.


It can be an even better idea to not be around at all during your remodel. Set yourself up for success by going to an in-laws, taking that extended family vacation you’ve been wanting to do, just get the heck out of town for a while. Assuming you fully trust your contractor, have verified their licensing and insurance information, and have a signed contract in place, you are good to go. They likely don’t want you around anyway—as they say, it costs more if you want to help. Give them the time and space to do their job and yourself a little peace of mind by not being around to worry. Set a time when you’ll be back with established progress check points, but take the time away if you can. After all, many appliances and materials are back ordered six weeks or more anyway, so relax. There will be plenty of time to worry when you get back.


Sometimes things just aren’t going to be perfect. Or done. Talk to any long-time homeowner and they’ll give you a list of things around the house that have been waiting to be “finished” for 20 years. Contractors are human and they make mistakes, especially when time and money are at risk.

This isn’t some Jo and Chip fantasy show. This is your house, your life, and your investment in time and money. You’ll ultimately have to decide how much to bite off and what you can live with, but going into it knowing that it’s not going to be perfect (or fast, or easy) is the key to your success and happiness.

~ From the pages of NEST…We shared this story with you in the Summer 2023 issue of NEST Magazine. To subscribe to NEST Magazine, click here.  

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Posted in Asheville, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Greater Louisville and Southern Indiana, Greensboro, Greenville, Jackson, Lake Norman, Morganton, NEST Magazine, New River Valley, Raleigh-Durham, Richmond, Roanoke, Shenandoah Valley, Summer 2023, Wilmington
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