When considering a home remodeling project, many homeowners are not really sure where to start.
Whether it’s a new kitchen, den, dormer, extension or bathroom, the typical project has many components. And if construction is not your “day job,” it’s hard to know what comes first. Some want to start with the design. Others may start shopping for materials or potential vendors.
Those are all important things to consider, but the first step of your home remodeling project should be to create your project plan. Remember the old saying: “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” Don’t let that happen to you. Create your plan first.
With that in mind, here’s an outline of the keys to a successful home remodeling project.
How much do you want to spend on your project? And more important, how much can you spend? It’s best to go in with your eyes wide open. Establish three points on your budget scale: the minimum you expect to spend and the maximum you can spend. Once you have a budget range in mind, this will help you at each of the remaining steps to make the best decision. Put these budget numbers on paper, and start a budget folder for your project.
2. Design Concepts
Start a design folder and collect all of your ideas in one place. Maybe you have photos of a friend’s kitchen that you like. Put them in your design folder. Or you have some home design magazine articles with ideas you like. Save them. Another good design source: go to your local public library and take out some home design books, or browse their magazine selection.
Are you using an architect for your project? Do you need one? This is typically only needed for larger projects. But if you are sure you need one, shop around at this stage.
If you’re not sure, skip that for now – you can ask your general contractor what’s needed.
3. General Contractor
You have a day job. You don’t have time to coordinate the work of construction crews, plumbers, electricians, tile experts, etc. That’s why you have a general contractor for your construction project. Start shopping for your general contractor in this phase.
When considering general contractors, see if your friends or family have recommendations. When interviewing contractors, look at factors such as the history of their business and their portfolio of previous projects.
If you’re talking to a sales rep, ask who your primary contact will be on the job. Will you have the primary contact’s name and phone number, or will you just have to call the office?
Ask about the contractor’s experience working with architects. Do they have one that they recommend? And also find out about government building permits – does your contractor assist or provide guidance on applying for permits?
And finally, ask your potential general contractor for references. There’s no better way to find out about a contractor than talking to previous customers.
You now have the basics needed to create your home remodeling plan. Create that project folder right, and put together your initial budget and design notes.
And one last tip – enjoy your remodeling project. Planning removes a lot of the concern and stress, and instead of questions and worry, you can sit back and dream about the results.