We’ve all heard some version of the remodeling horror stories that end with an unfinished project, an empty bank account, or both. Understandably, you may have some anxiety about starting a remodeling project on your home. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. Following the advice below will ensure you have a stress-free and in-budget project that is finished on time.
Get Clear About What You Want
Before you get on an airplane and take off, you have a definite destination in mind. Being clear about what you want from your remodel is the first step to a successful project. Start by jotting down the things you love and what you dislike about your current space. Next, think about the way you want to use this space. Writing down this wish list and understanding clearly your goals for the project is the first step toward a successful journey.
Planning, Planning, Planning
Before the first hammer swings, it’s essential that you know exactly what will happen within your project. To avoid lags and surprises during the construction phase of your remodel, you’ll need a plan that covers every detail. Making these decisions on the spot with a carpenter standing in your home with a hammer in hand is something you want to avoid.
After you’ve created the list we mentioned earlier, the next step is to determine which floor plan layout will serve your family best. For example, do you need to move walls, are they load-bearing, or are there utilities in them?
Once you’ve decided on a floor plan, it’s time to think about the details and finishes. Unfortunately, construction is sometimes started before these crucial decisions and costs are clearly defined.
“While You’re Here”
Speaking of your remodeling budget. One of the most common phrases we hear during a remodel is, “While you’re here, could you….”. Unfortunately, this seemingly simple question is at the heart of most budget overruns. While you can’t pre-determine these last-minute add-ons, try to jot down as many as you can think of during the planning stage and consider having your contractor create an options list. This is a list of things you may consider doing if they fit into your budget. Having a cost identified for them will help you in this decision-making process.
Stick to the Plan
Over the years, we’ve joked with our clients that we won’t exceed their budget, but we certainly cannot stop them from doing so. Now that the planning is complete and you’re ready for the construction phase, it’s essential to stick to your plan. You have invested the time and energy in developing a plan that gets you what you want within a budget allowance you’re comfortable with. It’s time to trust that process and watch it come to life. Having the help of an experienced professional contractor can make it happen.
A Good Contract
The importance of working with a reputable contractor when drawing up your contract cannot be overemphasized. You should never allow anyone into your home to perform any work without a signed contract. For a good contractor, this will be automatic. If anyone tells you, “Oh, we work on a high level of trust and do all of our work on a handshake,” run the other way. A good contract is like a good insurance policy; you hope you don’t have to use it, but having one brings peace of mind. Always make sure the contract spells out what is included in enough detail that you can understand it. That way, you and your contractor will always be on the same page and can work together toward the same goal. Your contract should also spell out how changes will be documented and handled. Changes are not always a bad thing and sometimes include additions that enhance the original design. It is imperative that there is a transparent process that keeps you informed of the cost implications, so you don’t have any unwelcome surprises on your final invoice.
Hiring the Perfect Team
As the saying goes, this process is simple but not easy. Once you and your family have done your due diligence, it’s time to call in the professionals. The right Design-Build contractor with experienced designers and craftsmen on staff will ensure your project will be a success. A professional Design-Build firm will listen to your needs, develop a detailed plan, help you design the perfect space for your needs, and make it all come to life. With a one-stop shop, everyone from the designer to the carpenter will be on the same page providing control over the design, the budget, and the schedule.
A successful project that stays on budget, on time, and looks and functions beautifully is possible with the proper preparation and planning.