Remodeling can feel a bit daunting, so we’ve gathered together some expert advice to take the guesswork out of it. Here are some dos and don’ts for you to consider as you embark on your project.
Take care of all the unseen things. Make sure every contractor and subcontractor has the proper licensing and permits and that every inspection is properly done by local officials. Down the road, if something were to happen, such as a fire or water damage, homeowner’s insurance will not cover it if your remodel was not up to code. Another thing to keep in mind is that when you update, such as a kitchen or bathroom for example, you should also take a look at all your unseen elements, like pipes and electrical. It’s less expensive in the long run to update those features while you already have a contractor. Additionally, think long term if you plan to stay in your home. Pick features like wider doorways and curbless showers that would allow you to age in place.
It is important to choose an established company that provides quality, guaranteed work and a great customer experience. Homeowners value a worry-free experience by companies that do the job right, not just do the job. After all, it is your home.
If your project involves anything more than strictly cosmetic updates, consider working with an architect or residential designer before you call a contractor. They will help you prioritize your needs and wants, understand any potential code or structural issues, get a handle on possible costs, and draw detailed plans that a contractor can then use to accurately price and execute your project. We’ve found that having all this in place helps avoid costly surprises or budget overruns and generally helps projects move along smoothly.
“Having a place for everything and everything in its place” is a great mantra to live by. When remodeling, plan out what kind of closet and storage space you need. Also consider what amount of open storage you would like to have. Make sure your shelves are adjustable to allow you to move items around and not waste space. It’s nice to have open storage or shelves so that you can easily access items, but it’s also important to have closed storage to rid yourself of visual clutter, which will bring order and calm.
Quality professional help is worth the money. Don’t base your decision on price alone when selecting a service provider. Do contact previous clients of anyone you plan to hire, as prior clients make the best references. Do educate yourself on your product choices and ensure all remodel bids include your preferred brands. Do be involved in all stages of your remodel, including budget, design, planning, and construction. Don’t rely on your service provider to make decisions for you – do be involved and do ask a lot of questions. There are no stupid questions. You should know why and on what your money is spent.
Identify your splurge items early. There is so much information out there (Houzz, Pinterest, HGTV, etc.) that you can find yourself saying this too often: ‘I’d like to have that in my project … it’s just a little bit more.’ So, find your splurge items early and stick to them. Two things I’ve never heard in my years of designing homes are 1. ‘This project was completed much faster than I thought,’ and 2. ‘This project cost a lot less than I thought it would.’ With that in mind, plan accordingly.
Working with a design professional has several advantages that will help you streamline your remodeling project. A professional will help you understand if you need to repair or replace your windows, explain the difference in window and door efficiency, and help you choose the correct window (vinyl, fiberglass, or wood). Another way to simplify the remodeling process is by researching upfront on the look you desire. Make sure to provide your professional with images and examples of home designs you love.