Any home remodeler will tell you that the planning phase is the most important part of any renovation project. If every aspect of the project hasn’t been planned out to the minutest detail before work begins, it’s destined for failure. Here are some tips to help you along as you plan for your next renovation project.
Know what you want
Before can do anything else, you need to have a clear picture in your mind of what it is you want. Are you remodeling for you or are you remodeling to sell? Know what you want out of the project and you’re already on the right track.
Get recommendations for contractors
Unless the remodel is very minor and you are confident you can do it yourself, you’re going to be bringing in a contractor, or contractors, to manage the project. It’s crucial that you get the right people. Ask around in your community for recommendations so you can be sure you’re getting people with a good reputation.
Almost all contractors will need to be licensed with the state depending on the work they specialize in. No matter how good a contractor’s reputation is, you’ll want to verify that they have the necessary license from the state/city and that they are insured. This protects you as the homeowner and ensures that the work is done according to code.
Trust your gut
It may not be scientific but always listen to your gut instincts. You need to have a good rapport with your contractor. If there’s any lack of trust of problems with communication between you and your contractor it can lead to all sorts of problems. If something just doesn’t feel right about a contractor, even if you can’t put your finger on what it is, play it safe and look for a different contractor.
Be prepared to spend more than you thought
When deciding on a budget for the project, always assume that it will cost more than you think. Most contractors recommend setting aside an extra 15% more than you’re anticipating. There are almost always nasty surprises during a project that will add to the cost of the remodel so it’s better to plan for it and be prepared than to hope for the best and be disappointed.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate
The majority of contractors are willing to negotiate on the price to some degree in order to secure the job. If your budget is tight and you want to get the most bang for your buck, don’t be afraid to haggle with the contractor a little. The worst that can happen is he/she says "no."
Get everything in writing
A written contract is absolutely essential for any remodeling project no matter how big or small. A written contract protects both you and the contractor from any misunderstandings. The contract should spell out the scope of the project in detail, an estimated time frame and list of materials, and the estimated cost. You should also ask that the contractor’s warranty on their work is included in this contract as well.
Source: Consumer Report