If you’ve been through a home remodel experience in the past or know someone who has, you know it’s not an easy road. Every time you think you are past the danger zone, something comes flying at you at record speed, ready to send you back to square one. That’s why people go on vacations after home remodels because they are like full-time jobs! You need to be ready for what’s coming your way. What better way to do that than to arm yourself with knowledge stemming from other people’s experiences? Let’s see what homeowners have in common on ‘things they wish they knew before their home remodels.’
Factors to Consider in Your Home Remodel
What can’t you afford to ignore as you embark on this journey?
A home remodel is a new beginning that allows you to play about with the integral aspects of your home. You can even take down walls if you choose to and create open-plan designs. Some people even choose to add more space to their homes. A home remodel is a door to a world of possibilities, and if you are open to it, the ideas will come flowing. However, just like with installing wall paper, you cannot treat the home remodel like an island. It does not exist on its own. Instead, it’s complementary to the rest of the house. For example, if you want to install floral wallpaper, you first think about how it will affect the use of the space.
It’s the same case with a home remodel. Think about the overall design of your home. Does the new space match it? Will you need to redo the whole house to create a flow, or will you change the home remodel design? Before you even start calling contractors and getting quotes, consider how well the idea meshes with the original concept. We cannot stress this enough.
Home remodels take very different directions. Some people want a simple bathroom remodel to convert their tub into a shower. Others want to redo the whole bathroom and create a luxurious spa in their home. Then some want to add an entire garage to their space. Regardless of what you hope to gain, you must start with one thing – space assessment.
At this point, you will have come up with a design that’s complementary to the house. Now, you want to ensure that your house can structurally and physically support this idea. So, what do you do? You get the opinion of an expert who will walk you through what’s possible and what’s not. If you need permits for the remodel, now is the best time to find out before you run into trouble with the law.
Do you want to know a quote you can live by during this period? It goes ‘everything that can go wrong will go wrong.’ It stems from Murphy’s law and holds strong for home remodel projects. Why? You will have control over very little as the project ensues. You can order cabinets, and the shipping company delivers the materials two weeks late. Or you could hire a contractor who ends up spending ten weeks on a project that should have taken six weeks. The stories people narrate about what went wrong with their projects can make your hairs stand on end. But does this mean you should surrender to everything taking a downturn? Not at all!
We recommend that you develop a design that works for your home (step 1) and consider your capacity (step 2). Then come up with a list of things you need to do to accomplish the home remodel. It should include everything, including finalizing the design, hiring a contractor, ordering materials, getting permits, etc. You can then come up with a clear scheduling map showing the sequence of activities and their timelines. Once you account for lags in the schedule, you should have a timeline that can work for you and the contractor. Please research on average times to ensure that you do not underestimate or overestimate your project timeline.
How much money can you afford to spend on the project? You do not want to make the mistake of going in without a budget. Project budgets are known to double and even triple when a clear budget is not in place. Why? If you’ve not decided that you will only spend $3,000 on cabinets, what would keep you from getting the high-end ones priced at $5,000? You would only realize that you were way above what you could afford when deep into the project. Once again, keep Murphy’s law in mind – a lot will go wrong during the project, and it will only move the budget up.
Here’s how you can prepare for this. List all the items you will need (accessories, furniture, appliances, labor, permits, etc.) Using this list, seek quotes from reasonable sources and get an average cost for each. Note this down on your list. Consider how well this meshes with your budget and make some cuts as needed. For example, if the countertop cost is high, you can replace it with a budget-friendly option. Or you can skip one appliance for now and buy it next year. Come up with a reasonable budget (considering market rates) and add a contingency fund of 5% to 10%. Larger projects require contingency funds on the higher limit because a small change affects their budget significantly.
You are now ready to move on to the next step.
Hiring a contractor is one of the key challenges when remodeling a home. Some contractors tend to be unscrupulous and drag a project for months, increasing the costs over time and frustrating you. So, when hiring a contractor, ask how long they have been in business and how much they charge. Their quote should be within your budget if you worked with reasonable market rates. It might be higher, though, and you might need to revise your budget. But only do so for a contractor with a proven track record, which you can gauge from their reviews from past clients and overall demeanor. Their reputation can also help guide you on this path. Also, don’t ignore your gut feeling.
There you have it! You’re now ready to get started on your home remodel.