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Steps to Take Before You Start

Creating the perfect home remodeling project to increase your home’s value takes an enormous amount of planning, but all the dry, boring, head-scratching details must be in place before the excitement of developing the design and picking elements and finishes can begin.

If you’ve read parts 1 and 2 of this series, you’ve already asked yourself at least the basic questions: 1) Why are you remodeling, 2) What is your all-in budget, and 3) What are your priorities? You’ve also spent some time discovering your brand, or, in other words, how to put your spin on the timeless and pragmatic decisions for the more costly elements of the remodel.

First Step – Non-Builder Professionals to Engage

You’ve completed your all-in budget so you know how much you can spend. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Engage one or more trusted real estate professionals to learn if the changes you plan to make are consistent with your neighborhood in terms of design and eventual home value. This valuable information will not only keep you from overspending but may also impact the overall scope of the project and the next steps. Whether you’re remodeling to stay, and especially if you’re remodeling to sell, the goal is to increase your home’s value without over-improving.

Reach out to your homeowner insurance carrier to let them know what you’re planning. You want to be sure that you have enough coverage for both the dwelling and liability in the event of an accident.

Contact the permitting authority for your location to learn what permits may be required, and if the expectation is that the homeowner or the contractor pulls the permit, and why it may make a difference.

Next Step – Should We Stay or Should We Go?

First, be very realistic in making this decision. Many have tried to stay, only to find that the disruption and chaos is just too much to handle, especially if you have children, pets or work from home.

Stay . . .
If the scope of the remodel is such that you can stay in your home while it undergoes this transformation, there are still many decisions to make. For example, if you’re remodeling the kitchen, where will food storage and preparation take place? Remodeling a bathroom? Figuring out the schedule in advance for the remaining bathroom when there are now more morning users will go a long way to reducing the stress.

And on the subject of morning bath habits, planning for privacy and/or a plan to ensure everyone is showered and dressed before the contractors show up may save everyone from embarrassing moments.

Develop a safety strategy for children and pets – both of them curious and unpredictable, and also likely to be stressed. Contractors will be in and out of the house all day. Building materials will be scattered throughout the construction site.

Go . . .
If, on the other hand, you’re going to need to relocate during the remodel, having a contingency plan is crucial. Remodeling projects are notorious for unexpected developments and delays. Is your relocation location flexible on an end date? If not, where will you go?

What do you need to take with you? Again, realistic planning now will save much aggravation later. Clothes, toiletries, pet supplies, and electronics are necessary, but plan to take some things along that will make the place you’re staying feel like home.

Plan Now to Manage Expectations and Frustrations Later.

Remodeling is a great time to purge as you’re packing up everything that will be in the way of the project. Take a bit to thoughtfully evaluate each item and decide if it truly fits with the vision of the new space, then pack everything carefully and plan out-of-the-way storage.

There will be dust and debris. Weather conditions will affect what gets tracked in and can also affect heating and cooling efforts.

On a more delicate note, what are your expectations for the contractor’s bathroom needs? Are you comfortable with them using the family bath or a powder room? Would you prefer a portable bathroom?

Portable bathrooms and roll-off dumpsters are details to discuss when you . . .

And Finally, Choose a Contractor

This undertaking may actually be the most time-consuming and stressful. One of the first decisions you’ll need to make depends on the scope of your remodel: do you have the experience and grit – yes, grit – to act as the general contractor (GC) on the project, working with the architect or designer, hiring trades (electricians, plumbers, HVAC, drywallers, floor and cabinet installers, etc.) or will you be hiring a GC? All the expected recommendations apply. Ask friends and coworkers if they’ve had a good – or bad – experience with a contractor. Check the Better Business Bureau. Do the local licensing entities share lists of licensed tradesmen and complaints?

There is another alternative if you want to truly minimize the stress of a remodels to increase your home’s value. Hire a Design-Build firm. They are with you from the very first step of clarifying why you want to remodel through the completion of the project. They’re experience in all areas of remodeling guides you through all the decision-making to achieve the home of your dreams. Already having a roster of vetted contractors means you’re assured of quality work without the stress of finding or supervising them yourself.

This, too, shall pass. There is a light at the end of the tunnel that is not the oncoming train, but those gorgeous pendants hanging over your new kitchen island.

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