Planning ahead and taking things step-by-step is the key to a successful stress-free home improvements and remodeling projects. If done according to design, renovation projects can be painless and enjoyable. Remodeling is a decision that requires patience and planning. NARI suggests the following 10 Step Program When Remodeling:
Make sure you have the financial resources, time, and patience it takes for a successful remodeling project before you start.
How long do you intend to live in your present home? If you plan on selling your home in the next few years, check with or hire a professional appraiser to see how much you can invest in remodeling and still recoup those costs when you sell the home. If you are planning on selling your home we suggest you should work an interior designer to develop your plans and budget. Once you have your permit ready designs you could immediately list the property as a For-Sale-By-Owner. We recommend these DIY & Done For Your marketing services.
Make a list of the ideas of what you want the remodeling project to include and what rooms you would like to change before calling a contractor. Make a list of the rooms you would like to remodel as well as the reasons for the changes. Go to Houzz.com and create an ideabooks, starting pinning on Printerest or post on Instragram. Now you are ready to start by talking with a Design/Build firm, an Architect or a General Contractor.
Allow time for the remodel. Possible delays may and do occur during the project due to materials shortages, weather and unforeseen problems. Delays are common for special orders like replacement windows and kitchen cabinets. Take these into account when creating a time with your contractor. Unrealistic time frames will add to the difficulty and stress.
Hire a professional contractor. The best way to protect yourself is to hire a professional. Horror stories abound from homeowners who have hired disreputable contractors. Choose a contractor who is insured, meets any state licensing requirements, and is a member of a professional trade association such as NARI.
Most cities, towns and counties have established building codes. They vary from one jurisdiction to the next. A building permit generally is required whenever structural work is involved or when the basic living area of a home is to be changed. If you have a home with an unfinished basement and would like to finish off a portion of it for a family room, you would need a building permit because you have changed storage space to livable space.
Do not obtain your own building permit. In most jurisdictions, the person obtaining the permit is considered to be the contractor and is, therefore, liable if the work does not comply with local building codes. The complex elements of local building codes and permits are familiar details to a professional remodeling contractor.
Create a realistic budget. Decide how much money you can spend on home improvements before undertaking the project.
Get a comprehensive proposal from your contractor. This allows you to know upfront how much money the project will cost. The proposal should also include the types of products that will be used.
Get a signed contract before any work begins. The contract should detail the scope of the project, start and approximate completion dates, a payment schedule, product types, and responsibilities of the contractor and any subcontractors. The contract should also include provisions for change order procedures, warranties, and alternative dispute resolution clauses.
Tie payments to work stages. Avoid contractors who ask for the total cost or a large sum of money up front. Contractors will usually split payments into percentages of the total cost of the project. These payments are typically tied to significant stages of the project, and payments are rendered as parts of the job are completed. Kitchen remodels, however, often require a large amount of money at the beginning to cover the costs of ordering cabinets and appliances.
Keep your perspective. Remodeling is disruptive to your normal household environment. It is important to take a deep breath, keep your focus, and work toward the end result. If problems occur, talk to your contractor about your concerns. Remember, remodeling is fun and before you know it, you’ll have the dream home you’ve always wanted.