Planning a remodel…it can be tempting to skip to the fun parts or think big before you have a plan on paper, but for ANY renovation to go smoothly there are a few tips that can really, truly make the difference…
And what “difference” do I mean? I’m talking about ditching the STRESS. First, there’s the budget…then making choice after choice after choice on fixtures, finishes and the endless details that come up…and then the dust and the noise, and maybe living without a kitchen or your main bathroom for a while!!
Yes, a remodel can open you up to a LOT of potential stressors. But it’s so practical to avoid them—all you have to do is start with these five essential tips.
I say “essential” because these ARE the things that don’t depend on what room you’re doing, or what market you live in…these are the pillars of what sets any remodel up to run smoothly. Because, ultimately, our goal is the same as yours: we want to give you the remodeling experience you deserve. That means…
- The experience where the choices you have to make are knocked down a minimum, leaving you just with the fun ones…
- The experience where you don’t feel “displaced” in your own home, and don’t suffer when the noise and dust start to swirl…
- The experience that finishes on-time and within budget
Here are the 5 essential tips to make that happen…
1: Choose the right team
OK, so this one is kind of obvious. But it might NOT be so obvious how it’s done. Yes, you have to choose the right team of designers and craftsman for your remodel…without it, you won’t have the skills and talent on-board to create the space you’re dreaming of.
Talk about unpleasant surprises, spending thousands of dollars for anything LESS than your dream come true…
To pick the right contractor, these are the MAJOR factors to take into account:
- The contractor’s portfolio
- The contractor’s certifications and accreditations
- The contractor’s reviews from previous clients (we call this social proof)
- And, yes, your gut feeling (you have to like them!)
Ask us about our contractor comparison worksheet to make this process easier…if you can assign numbers, or “yes/no” values to all the above, you’ll be able to compare contractors properly. For example, you can’t just compare prices, because all bids will include different things…apple and orange comparisons won’t get you any good info you can use.
You can also download our complimentary ebook, “How to Choose the Perfect Contractor,” to get REALLY in-depth on how this is done…but anyway, no matter what, your first step to a successful remodel is choosing the right team!!
2: Visit a jobsite
So, this actually serves TWO purposes…first, if you visit a jobsite of the contractor you’ve chosen (or are closest to choosing), this validates all the information you’ve gathered up to that point…is the job site as clean as you want yours to be? Can you see proper protection of the homeowner’s space? Are you seeing a truly professional team in action? The best remodelers not only keep a clean worksite but a SAFE one, and know how to keep a low profile in the neighborhood….
Second, visiting a jobsite is an EXTREMELY helpful way to prepare yourself…because even the smoothest-rolling remodel will still be a roller coaster!! Just seeing it and breathing it in for a few minutes will help you prepare mentally and emotionally for what you’re about to dive into.
3: Remember that you deserve a DETAILED contract
If you jump into any remodel with an ambiguous contract (meaning anything other than a totally complete, detail-for-detail agreement), you might as well set a court date at the same time! The bare-bones minimum for your remodeling contract includes a start date, completion date, and details for what will be done, what’s included…how about zoning and permit requirements? Will your contractor take care of that? How does the design process work? What insurance do they have, and what contingencies are in place when unexpected items come up?
Get. It. In. Your. Contract!!
4: Get your communication expectations in-check
This goes as much for your remodeler as it does for you.
Your contractor can do incredible stuff, but they can’t read your mind. Never assume that something is “obvious.” Take advantage of the consultation process to communicate everything on your mind. Share doubts. As questions. Talk about what you do and don’t have time for.
And as the project unfolds, tell the project manager when something is unsatisfactory or when you have any other doubt. It’s in that very moment that it will be easiest (and most economical) to deal with the issue.
This communication is, however, a two-way street. Make sure you know how your contractor’s team will communicate with you, and where you can go for more information. Will you be given a weekly update? A daily update? Will the company owners be in touch with you, or will your project be handed off entirely to subcontractors you also have to communicate with?
5: Factor in a contingency
Even when you have the best remodeler, the best plan and the VERY best of intentions…unpredictable issues might come up. Maybe you tear up the floor and find an un-level subfloor beneath…maybe you find water damage after stripping your walls…or maybe you find some shoddy plumbing “fixes” in the guts of the bathroom that took place who-knows-when.
Whatever the issue, it’s always best to factor in a 10% contingency in your remodel budget, especially in older homes. Who knows what’s lurking on the walls behind those kitchen cabinets?…
It’s also VITAL not to let these bumps throw you off your game. If you stick to the first tip above and hire the right remodeler, your project manager will have hiccups handled in no time. Expect that things will happen, and think with a big sigh of relief that the perfect professional is taking care of it and will find the right solution. This does not have to be your stress!!
You deserve a positive remodeling experience. Taking the time to read through this blog was a great start!! Now just implement these tips, and your remodeling experience can be a custom journey from your remodel dream to remodel reality…