5 Things to Do Before You Start a Home Improvement Project {Free Printable}

This post was sponsored by Capital One.

Whether you are doing a quick DIY project or a major remodel, you need to do these things before you start! And this printable home improvement project planner makes it easy. Get it now and start making your dream projects come to life!

"What do you want for Christmas this year?" my husband asked the other day. My answer came quickly. Not jewelry or even a tropical vacation. "New floors," I responded without hesitation. And while I'm not expecting to wake up to gleaming hardwoods on Christmas morning, I know that the time has come for us to start planning home improvement projects in our now 11 year old house. But there are a few things we need to do before we start, and I'm getting organized with a free printable home improvement project planner.

We have been working on our home improvement wish list for a while now, and I'm so excited that we are actually in the planning stages of some of these projects. After potty training two kids and house training two dogs, replacing our floors is at the very top of the list. Whether you're planning small upgrades or a major remodel, there are a few things that you should do before starting any home improvement project.

Before You Start a Home Improvement Project

Set Your Vision & Priorities

Before you start any project, be sure that you have a clear vision for the end result, and that you know what your top priorities are. Are you set on a certain material or finish, or is functionality more important? For example, with our flooring, while I love hardwood what I really want is a floor that is easy to clean and can stand up to our kids and pets. I can be flexible on the material as long as I achieve this goal. Be sure you're discussing these types of questions before you begin your project, especially when there are two of you making decisions together.

Decide Who Is Doing the Work

Choosing between a do it yourself project or hiring a contractor is one of the most important parts of planning a home improvement project. With two small children and a very busy schedule, doing our floors ourselves is just not an option right now. If you are going the DIY route, know exactly what is involved in your project to make sure you have the skills, time, and materials necessary. If you are hiring out, be sure to take your time to get several estimates and check references before signing a contract.

Create a Budget

Once you have your priorities set and your DIY plan or contractor estimates in hand, you need to create a budget. When determining a budget, give yourself a little cushion because most projects end up with at least a few surprise expenses along the way. A little wiggle room will help you be prepared and allow your project to turn out exactly as you hope.

Determine How You Will Pay For Your Home Improvements

Now that you have a budget, you need to determine how you will pay for your project. We are looking at options now, and I'm so impressed with the home equity tools available from Capital One.

Whether you’re remodeling your home or consolidating debt, Capital One is here to help with simply smarter tools that help you choose the right option for your situation. Since we are still in the planning stage, I haven't used their services yet but I would love to as we make our home improvement ideas come to life!

I have been using Capital One's planning tools and calculators, and they really simplify the process. Just by visiting, you can:

  • Get your customized rate offer and estimated loan amount – with no impact to your credit score.
  • Begin the application process – it’s simple and there are no application fees or closing costs.
Maybe you're planning a new gourmet kitchen, an upgrade to your backyard patio or an addition, and with a home equity line of credit, you can start that project today. From contractor financing to construction loans or borrowing from your 401(k), there are numerous ways to fund your dream. And you could get a lower rate than with other financing options – be sure to check out for their current HELOC rates.

Get Organized with a Free Printable Project Planner

There's so much to keep track of when planning a home improvement project that you need to get organized from the start. I've created a project planner to jump start our projects and I'm sharing it with you as a free printable! Click the button below to get the printable.


This worksheet covers the basics - use it as a guide to work through the tips above, and keep it handy in a folder with any estimates, receipts, or other paperwork as you go through your project. Keeping all your documents in one place will help you stay on track and before you know it, your dream project will be a reality!

What's on your home improvement wish list? Stop dreaming and start planning with Capital One!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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