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Everything You Need to Know Before Embarking on a Home Remodeling Project

Home remodeling can be a way to upgrade living conditions or boost house resale value. A good home renovation accomplishes both.

Even if you’re planning only cosmetic repairs, like repainting walls or re-tiling floors, home remodeling can be a daunting process. Make sure to do your research and consider all your options.

How Do You Decide What to Include in a Home Remodeling Project?

Choosing wallpaper or ordering furniture for repurposed spaces can wait. A successful and efficient house remodel rests on prioritizing needs before wants.

1. Explore Your Options and Find Out What You Like

This is important for co-homeowners that may have different tastes. Deciding on acceptable compromises is crucial. You don’t want to change your mind about the style of your new kitchen counters after they’ve been ordered.

Think twice about structural changes necessitating knocked down walls or complete reconfiguration of or a space, as they can cost more than cosmetic upgrades.

2. Plan to Fix and Update the Basics

Improving foundational features like doors, electrical wiring, plumbing, or windows can be relatively affordable. These may not be as visually impressive as a brand-new kitchen or bathroom, but they make for a safer and more comfortable home. 

3. Give Yourself a Budget and Create a Plan

Things to consider before setting a final budget: 

  • Know Where Your Money Is Going: Paying for materials will take up a lot of your budget. If you are looking to cut costs, you can use more affordable materials. For minor remodeling, you may go the DIY route.
  • Remember that Some Renovations Have a Better Payoff: If your goal is to increase the resale value of your house, a small kitchen or bathroom improvement could make your property more attractive to home buyers and give you the best return on investment. 
  • Expect Extra Costs: Your budget shouldn’t just depend on the estimated pricing of labor and materials. What if during a remodel, you discover that your old home is no longer compliant with current building codes? What if pest damage is found in the room you’re renovating? Increase your base budget about 15 percent to cover surprises.  
  • Check the Average House Selling Price in Your Neighborhood: If the resale value of houses around you is $300,000, you don’t want to set a home remodeling budget over $50,000 for a house you bought for $250,000. If you do, you may have trouble selling later on, without listing the house for less than what you put into it.
  • Prepare for Disruptions in Your Household Routine: Costs in this area are often overlooked because they are technically not part of the budget. You may want to install safety gates to keep out children and pets from renovation areas or opt to move out for the time being. To do the latter, you would need to arrange for pet-sitting services, a storage locker for belongings, and living accommodations for your family. Factor in lost earnings due to taking time off work to handle remodeling issues, too. 
  • Remember that Renovation Projects Take Time:  Even if you’re capable of renovating by yourself, if you can only DIY on weekends, you could deprive your household of things like a fully working kitchen for an extended period of time. Is the extended time of discomfort really worth the money you would save by not hiring a contractor?

You don’t need a full action plan in the beginning but having a general idea of how much you’re willing to spend and what you want to achieve is essential. 

How Do You Deal With a Home Remodeling Contractor?

In most cases, bringing in a remodeling contractor is the best way to go forward.

Before anything, choose a contractor that is a professional and personal fit. A remodeling contractor with a license, certification, a good reputation and great references is a great indicator of their quality of work, but may not automatically the best choice for your style or personal fit.

You need to be sure that effective and prompt communication goes both ways in this relationship. Conduct face-to-face interviews and be picky. This is someone you’re going to spend a lot of time with, who will have access to your home.

Once you have a remodeling contractor you trust, take these steps:

1. Go Over Your Remodeling Plans and Ask for a Reality Check

Ask for your contractor’s advice regarding your budget and wants. This gets you both on the same page and gives you time to change your mind should your projected costs be incorrect. For example, you might not realize that adding a bathroom upstairs necessitates extra plumbing, but a contractor will point this out.

2. Make Sure Your Plans Comply with Local Building Permits

Most contractors take care of securing building permits for your home remodeling project. Ask them which permits are needed and why, if you are interested in altering your plans to lessen permit fees. Sometimes it is as easy as leaving a load-bearing wall alone instead of tearing it down. 

3. Get Details in Writing, Including an Airtight Contract

An official summary of the cost of materials and labor for the home remodeling project, plus all additional fees, is just the beginning. You need to make an itemized list of improvements to be done. It is also imperative to get down an indisputable payment schedule and progress timeline. Don’t stand for vague language and insist on protective clauses imposing penalties on the remodeling contractor for missed milestones.

Need More Home Remodeling Help or Inspiration?

Doing a home renovation is a serious undertaking. Take your time before finalizing a budget, plan and remodeling contractor.

The Pro Gallery offers a wide array of remodeling solutions, from design consultations to material ordering. We can also connect you with remodeling contractor options for your home renovation. Call 717.982.6870 for inquiries or make a reservation online to schedule a showroom tour.