How to Prepare for a Home Remodeling Project
Know Your End Goal
Before you decide what you want to renovate, you need to know what your end goal is for your home. Are you trying to raise the resale value of your home, or will you be staying put and want to give yourself the home you always dreamed of? Consider the condition of your neighborhood before you begin, and know which renovations are a good return on investment, and which will be considered overdoing it for the area. Having a specific plan in place for your future will help you decide what project or projects you want to tackle.
Set a Budget
Review your finances to determine what you can and are willing to spend. Stick to your budget. It is easy to get carried away, but you took the time to set a budget and need to make the responsible decision. Remember to add in a contingency fund for any unexpected costs that come up as the project progresses. It is also a good idea to budget for incidental costs like the cost of eating out for a kitchen renovation, or even taking a hotel for a night or two.You may want to go with top-of-the-line products, but perhaps all you need are some cheaper options that will make your home look more expensive. Do your research and plan your budget before ever lifting a hammer or hiring a contractor.
Review Your Calendar
Are your renovation your kitchen and expecting it to be done in time to host the holiday? Do you have a special event that would be affected by the project? Make sure you look at your end date and work your way backwards. Pencil in a few weeks to a month at the end for wiggle-room in case there are delays on the way to avoid disappointment or any unnecessary frustrations.
Do Your Research
Take the time to chat with friends, family, and neighbors about the renovation work they have done, and the challenges they have faced during the process. They may have a contractor to recommend for the project you are planning on starting. Using a contractor that is trusted by a friend, family, or neighbor can help facilitate a smooth project. Having a wealth of information from homeowners who have been in your shoes can be invaluable in the planning process, and this information may alter your end plan.
Know Your Limits
Tackling a project yourself is a great way to save money, build a greater pride of ownership, and bring the family closer together by working as a team to finish the project. They can turn disastrous if you don't know what you're doing. Know which tasks you can safely tackle, and which should be handled like the pros. For example, asbestos needs to be removed by a certified contractor. Taking down a load barring wall is much more complicated than you think, and it can lead to a world of trouble if not done properly.
It is recommended that you receive 3-5 estimates before selecting a contractor. Doing so will give you greater detail on the work that is needed, the products being used, the skill level of the contractor, and the price range for your project. Before selecting a contractor think about each appointment you had. Did the contractor provide you with a detailed explanation? Did the contractor perform a thorough inspection to see if there are any hidden issues? How did the contractor present him or herself? Did they look professional and act professionally? There are other questions you can ask yourself before making a decision.
Ask for References
Any good contractor will have no problem providing references before you hire them. Ask for copies of liability insurance before a job begins, and do not allow the project to begin without them. Make sure your contractor has pulled the permit for the work they are doing. Don't rely solely on client testimonials, search out actual customers that can give you a firsthand account and answer any questions you may have. For any project, ask to see before and after images of a contractor's prior work.
Think About Your Daily Activities
If you hired a contractor for any part of the job or the entire job, be sure to be clear about your daily routine, and work with the contractor to come up with start and end times that cause the least disruption in your family's day. Do you work from home? Ask the contractor how much noise you should expect and work out a plan so you are able to continue working while the project is taking place.
Consider Your Needs
You may have children or pets in the home. A remodeling project can disrupt your entire family's life if you do not plan properly. Loud noises typically scare pets and cause them a lot of stress. You may want to board your pets, take them to daycare, or ask a friend or family member to look after your pet during the day. Children tend to be overly curious and can accidently put themselves in danger. Talk to your contractor and children so everyone is on the same page.
Plan for Disruptions or Outages
Your contractor may need to cut the power to safely work during a portion of the project. If plumbing work needs to be done your water will have to be shut off. Make sure you know when these outages are expected to take place. This will allow you to properly plan your day around the work at your home.
Meet with the Foreman
On the day of the installation walk around the property or project area with the foreman. Discuss the project in detail. Doing this before any work is performed can weed out any decencies between your expectations and the contractors understanding. You will have a better understanding of how the project will unfold and you know who to go to if you have any questions during the project.
Try to Relax
Remodeling projects are stressful. It is natural to feel tense or nervous while the project is taking place. If you have questions or concerns during the project, calmly approach the foreman to discuss your concerns. You may be worried about something that will be handled before the crew leaves, or you may catch something that was accidently overlooked by the crew. Whenever an issue arises try to remember that the crew working at your house are people, and they make mistakes from time to time.
Final Walk Thru
When the work is complete make sure you walk around and inspect the work before the crew leaves. Do not be afraid to ask a question or point out an area of concern. It is much easier to resolve issues or concerns before the crew leaves. You will feel confident that the job is done to your satisfaction after you review the completed work with the foreman.
Take the time to reflect on your project. Take photos throughout the process. Look at the before pictures so you can see the drastic change your home has undertaken. Show off you project to your friends and family.