Remodeling your home can be one of the most exciting projects to undertake. Whether you’re thinking about a bathroom update, kitchen overhaul or a new room addition, planning and setting realistic expectations are critical in ensuring your project goes as smoothly as possible.
Consider these steps from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) before you get started:
- Determine your goals and needs. Understand why you are undertaking the project, whether it’s for resale value or so you can enjoy your home more. If looking to increase resale value, consider the neighborhood and potential upgrades that can have the highest impact when going to market. If remodeling can make for a more comfortable space, create a list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” then evaluate what’s feasible. Being realistic about needs and wants can help you create a budget.
- Get inspired. Whether watching home improvement shows or browsing the internet, finding photos of styles and looks you admire can be beneficial when sharing your vision with a remodeling contractor.
- Understand your budget. Setting a budget and staying within it is critical to the project’s success. Be sure to build in a contingency fund for unforeseen expenses. Project expenses should factor in the cost of products, labor and project management. There are also possible additional costs such as long-term maintenance, repairs, energy use and a dining out budget if undergoing a full kitchen remodel or hotel costs sometimes necessary with large-scale projects. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, be sure to get a written estimate and scope of work once you’ve selected a contractor.
- Determine timing. If there is a specific event driving your remodel, work backward through the various project stages to determine a realistic timeline. Build in additional time as a buffer for unexpected delays and recognize remodeling contractors typically have long lead times and may require flexibility to deliver optimal results.
- Find a contractor you trust. Home remodeling can be stressful no matter how well you plan, but a dependable partner can make the process go smoother. While some of the best references may come from neighbors, friends or family members, a trade association like NARI can help with its online “Find a Remodeler” tool. Make sure any contractor you’re considering has several years of relevant experience, as well as liability insurance.
- Check references. When it comes to remodeling your home, you can never be too careful when choosing who to work with. Be sure to follow up on references, read reviews online and even check out the work of any remodelers you’re considering hiring, if possible.
- Prepare for the process. Regardless of the size of the project, there will almost surely be inconvenience, noise, dust and potential delays. Your daily routine will most likely be disrupted. Because it can be especially stressful when redoing the kitchen or an essential bathroom, you’ll probably need to consider a backup plan or other arrangements throughout the duration of the project. Remember to also declutter the work area and protect or pack away any belongings that might be in the way during the renovation.