If you’re thinking about updating your home, you have a few things you need to consider before your break out the power tools and paint. A little planning now can go a long way to preventing a home remodeling nightmare later on. Here are 4 things you need to consider before starting your home improvement project.

1. Your Budget—Before you begin your home remodel, you need to have a clearly defined budget. More importantly, you need to make sure you stick to your budget (after all, that is the point of having a budget). See, the costs of a home remodel can start to add up pretty quickly. Once you see one thing renovated, you might be tempted to renovate something else. It can be easy to get carried away, leaving you with a drained bank account. When setting your budget, think about how long you plan on staying in your home (the longer you plan on staying, the more money you should probably spend), your other monthly expenses (car, mortgage, credit cards, etc.), and how much money you need to maintain your standard of living.

2. Return on Investment—If you’re going to put money into remodeling your home, you want to make sure you get a decent return on your investment. Each year, a report is compiled analyzing the return on investment for various home improvement projects. Deck additions, kitchen remodels, and bathroom renovations always tend to earn top returns.

This said, your ROI calculation might be a bit fuzzier…  Often home remodeling investments are evaluated in terms of ROI when considering resale price, but if you are planning on staying in the home than its resale value isn’t really of importance.  Instead, try and quantify the value you will derive from a new space, new layout, style, etc.  Its a bit of a gray area, but it would be silly to only look at resale unless you plan on moving soon.

3. The Purpose—What’s the purpose of your home improvement project? Are you simply looking to add value to your home before you sell it? Or do you just want to make a more comfortable living space? By clearly defining a purpose for your remodel, you’ll be sure to make sure everything you do is aimed at achieving that ultimate goal. Without a purpose, you could end up blindly spending money on random renovations that really don’t meet your true needs.

4. Your Home Remodeling Skills—How much of this home remodel will you be handling yourself? Before you start remodeling, you need to truly assess your handyman skills. And be honest here because an amateur mistake on your part can end up costing you more money than you’d spend on hiring an experienced contractor. Only take on those tasks that you know you can handle. For other assignments, hire a trusted home remodeling contractor in your area.

Once you consider all of these things, you should be ready to begin your home remodeling project. Good luck with your renovations!