It’s easy to stand in your kitchen and know you want to remodel, but it can be challenging to know where to start. Home remodeling projects can be intimidating between hiring a professional, deciding what you want to do, and figuring out how to live without a section of your home. However, you can avoid all those scary unknowns and maybe even have some fun with your remodel with the right amount of preparation.
Hate List and Love List
At this early time, think about what you would like to do in the space, and don’t let perceived obstacles hold up your dreaming. Start a brainstorming list and jot down anything and everything that comes to mind. Talk to your spouse or family members who will also use the space and get their input and ideas as well. You may be thinking, My home works fine, it’s just that my cabinets are hideous, and that’s fine too; put it on the list.
It’s also essential to list the things you hate about your current space. These details can help build a picture of your ideal design and avoid making the same mistakes you hated in the original space. For example, maybe you hate where the refrigerator is in your kitchen, or that cabinet in the master bathroom is awkward to get into. Add these to your list, and be sure to bring them up when it comes time to design your new space.
Collect Houzz Ideas
While there are some common threads in all remodeling projects, the goals for your project will be uniquely yours. After all, you live in and use your home in a way that is unique to your family. However, getting inspiration from photos in magazines and Pinterest is a great way to start a visual wish list. Houzz is an excellent tool for this part of the planning, and we have a dedicated guide on how to use Houzz to plan for your project. Start by saving everything you love and adding notes to indicate what it was precisely that caught your eye. This will help contractors and designers understand your end goal much easier than explaining it with just words. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand.
Create Your Ideal Timeline
Timeline is a tricky thing for a remodeling project, and many things affect it. Among those are contractors’ availability, material wait times, weather, timeliness of selections, and project size. While it’s near impossible for you to know all of these right now, you can better communicate to a contractor what your needs are if you’ve already thought ahead. For example, your kitchen and bathroom remodel might take longer and creep into holiday months, and you’ll want to be prepared for that. If that’s a deal-breaker, you can always push the project back or break it up into sections. No matter the situation, understanding your plans and when you’d like this project done will help you communicate to the contractor and get you both on the same page.
Talk About Budget
You might cringe when you think about the budget, and you might have prepared yourself to avoid the question when speaking with contractors. Still, we encourage you to be open and honest about your budget with everyone involved. This might mean having a spouse meeting and getting super clear about what you both are comfortable spending. Getting confident with your spouse or even yourself about this number can help you make decisions instead of wondering if you have wiggle room. You can also then share that with a contractor and allow them to stay within that budget. If they don’t know your limit, they can’t accurately help you design and prepare for construction.
Prepare to Interview Contractors
You’ve gone through your space and written down what you love and hate about it, you have what seems to be an endless list of photos you love on Houzz, you know when you’d like the project to be done, and your budget is set in stone, now it’s time to interview contractors. This might feel scary, but it’s important to remember that they are here to help and want to ensure you end up with a project you love.
It’s always the little things that will tell you the most about someone. Where they on time? How did they dress? Is their truck clean? Did they listen when you spoke, or did they wait so that they could sell you? So pick up on these little things, and don’t dismiss it if something bothers you.
It’s a good sign when you meet with them and instantly feel at ease, and the conversation flows. While you might not be inviting your contractor to your yearly BBQ, it’s still essential to have a connection with your contractor. If they make you uneasy, rub you in the wrong way, or you don’t get along, trust your gut and move on.
We have an excellent blog that you can read here that goes into more details and will help you successfully interview a contractor and help you choose the right one for you.
While these are all great ways to get your project started, it can still feel overwhelming to take that first step. Take your time, talk over with your spouse, friends, and family and see if anyone has an experience that you can learn from. Ample research will help you prepare and give you the information you need to make an informed decision.