Tips for Home Remodeling Success

In order to ensure the success of your home remodeling project, you will need to plan ahead and carefully. These tips will help you prepare for your home renovation.

Remodeling a home is a significant investment, and for this reason, you have to take vital steps to ensure that your time, effort and money won’t go to waste. Any remodeling project can seem overwhelming, and inevitably, there are bound to be a few kinks that will need to be smoothed out. Whether big or small, you will need to take your time, keep organized and do a lot of careful planning in order to guarantee a successful home improvement project.

Here are a few tips for a relatively painless and trouble-free remodeling experience.

Identify Your Specific Needs

Sit down and on a piece of paper, write a list of what you need – the necessary work to be done – such as fixing a leaky roof or upgrading electrical wiring and plumbing. On a separate sheet of paper, write down the things that are merely ‘wants’, such as adding a swimming pool or converting your basement into a game room. This way, you will be able to narrow down your choices and be very specific about your needs. You can identify and focus on the essential things that must be done, avoiding unnecessary expenses.

Compile Design Ideas and Draft a Budget

After you have identified the work required, compile design ideas which you can use when discussing your plans with professionals, such as architects, interior designers and contractors. While it will be quite difficult to determine exactly how much a project will cost without finalized plans and specifications, an experienced professional will be able to provide you with a ballpark figure for your proposed project based on similar projects they have completed in the past. Most of the time, this can be accomplished even before you are required to commit to hire them.

Once you get the rough estimate, you will need to determine how much you can afford to invest in the remodeling project. You may realize that you do not have the budget for your dream remodel, but a good contractor can suggest ways to maximize your budget and even creative design solutions. Keep in mind that it is recommended to include a buffer of approximately 15 to 25 percent to your budget to cover any potential unexpected surprises, which is inevitable in any home improvement project.

Choose an Experienced, Reputable Contractor

Direct referrals from a trusted family member or friend are a good place to start. If you can’t get referrals, check with the local Better Business Bureau or trade associations such as the National Association of Home Builders. In fact, even if you do get referrals, it is still best to conduct a background check through BBB to find out if they have ever been reported for negligence or unethical practices. Trade association members also tend to be more reliable, better equipped and educated, and are more likely to keep abreast of construction and design trends.

Depending on the scale of your project, you will likely be spending weeks and even months with your contractor, so it’s important to have a good rapport with him or her. Choose a contractor you could trust, one you are compatible with and can communicate effectively with.

Communicate Effectively

Does the contractor listen to you? Does he or she answer your questions suitably and candidly? Can you reach the contractor easily? Does he or she return phone calls promptly? Does he or she alert you to any issues that arise in a timely manner? Does the contractor work with you or get your input to solve these issues? Does he or she keep you updated on the project’s progress? Remember as well that communication is a two-way street. The contractor may be an experienced professional but they can’t read minds. Let him or her know if anything is unsatisfactory so they can deal with the issue – they might not even know that something is not acceptable with you.

Agree on a Detailed Contract

The contract should cover all the bases such as the:

  • Project timetable
  • Cost (labor and materials) and payment schedule
  • Detailed specifications of all products and materials
  • Insurance and permit information
  • Procedures for handling change orders
  • Lien releases
  • Provisions for conflict resolution
  • Notice of your right under the FTC’s Cooling Off Rule
  • Miscellaneous details (workers’ schedules, access to your home, care of the home, cleanup, etc.)

Know What to Expect

Renovating a home is an exciting process, but it can also be a stressful and frustrating time, especially if you are not prepared for it. Knowing what will come can help prevent anxiety and stress. There will be dust, noise, unexpected surprises, and even delays. You will need to be flexible in order to keep your sanity during the actual renovation.

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