Ready to Remodel: What To Know Before You Start

Do you think your living space could use a little upgrading? You’re not alone. According to a recent survey from Trulia, 90% of all American homeowners plan to remodel their home at some point. And nearly 40% of those homeowners are planning a renovation within the next two years. But while sprucing up your surroundings is an enticing idea, it’s important to go into this endeavor with your eyes wide open.

Unexpected delays, changing costs and other assorted surprises can all be part of the remodeling experience. But these and other potential pain points can be mitigated with a little careful preparation. Here are just a few things to consider as you ramp up for renovation:
Basic Budget
Whether you’re freshening up the fixtures in the guest bathroom or revamping your entire living space, it’s a good idea to get a basic budget in place. Builders and craftsmen are happy to give you a quote, but going into the discussion with a reasonable ball park estimate of what you’re looking at can help you avoid sticker shock. offers an easy-to-use calculator that gives you the choice of a general quote or pricing specific to your immediate area on projects like bathroom or kitchen remodels. The site also includes additional estimating tools for things like interior painting, roof replacement and gutter installation.

Contractor Qualifications
Even a minor remodel can be a major investment, so it makes sense to compare costs and search out the best bang for your buck. But when it comes to choosing a contractor, the adage “œyou get what you pay for” often applies. It can be tempting to go for the lowest bid, but that discount rate can sometimes signal that the builder is hiring inexperienced workers or using inferior quality materials. So, doing your due diligence to find a reputable, licensed contractor is worth the effort. Ask family, friends and colleagues for referrals, and once you’ve got a few companies targeted, inquire as to whether they’ve completed a job like yours before, what their company policies are regarding warranty service claims, and whether they have a list of references you can contact. Lastly, a quick internet search for “œcontractor license lookup in (your state name)” will yield resources specific to your state that allow you to verify that your contractor’s license is valid and up to date.

Domicile Disruption
It’s exciting to think about the fresh new look you’re creating for your home. But it’s also essential to take into account the scale of your remodel and how it can significantly impact your lifestyle. Redoing your kitchen can be budget-busting if you resort to restaurants for every meal. Find some creative alternatives to eating out, such as offering friends home cooked meals in exchange for using their kitchens. Bathroom remodels can be tricky if you only have one in the house. However, most builders can set up a temporary shower and toilet scenario in the basement for a few hundred dollars. It may be worth the money when you compare it to the cost of renting another place to stay during your renovation.

Proper Permits
One of the best things about homeownership is the ability to design your dwelling any way you wish. However, depending on where you live and the local codes, you may need permits for certain types of remodels. Adding a detached structure like a shed or garage or modifying the home with structural changes like balconies or decks almost always require permits. However, there are other instances when approval may be required – such as window installation, fence construction or working on your heating system. Check with your local municipal government office to find out what the rules and regulations are to obtain any authorizations you’ll need to move forward. It’s also a nice courtesy to give neighbors notice that you’ll be doing work on your home, especially if there’s any demolition involved.

Combine planning with a healthy dose of flexibility for a successful and sane remodel experience!

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