(Family Features) A homeowner’s motivation for taking on a remodeling project can vary greatly, but there’s one universal rule of thumb: home upgrades should add value, function or both. This step-by-step guide can help ensure you get the maximum return on your investment and make the most of your remodel.
Step 1: Identify Reasons for Remodeling
Deciding whether to undertake simple aesthetic changes or a full remodel can be difficult. One of the best ways to decide is to figure out why you are remodeling in the first place, whether it’s to make your new house feel more like home or to update an outdated kitchen.
Step 2: Consider Timing
Many variables can impact the timing of your project, including the climate and exact nature of the job. For example, foundation work is easier when the ground is cold during winter. Spring tends to be busy for the construction industry, so you might pay premium rates for labor and materials, but it’s also the perfect time to get a project done that you can enjoy throughout the summer. Summer months are ideal for indoor projects out of the heat. Also consider factors such as personal or professional obligations, or even an event for which you need the project completed.
Step 3: Set Your Budget
Every home is unique in structure, age, quality and craftsmanship, which all impact the price of a remodel. Since no one can see through walls before demolition, the quote you receive may not be 100% accurate. However, a qualified remodeling company will be forthcoming about potential challenges. Account for these adjustments by planning for a 10% cushion, just in case.
Step 4: Hire the Right Team
To help ensure you find the right company for the job, do your research. Referrals from friends and family are one way to find a remodeler. Resources like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry provide unbiased information that can help you find qualified, certified remodelers in your area. With more than 5,000 member companies, the organization represents professional remodelers who adhere to a strict code of ethics. Many hold certifications in remodeling, kitchen and bath design and lead carpentry.
Step 5: Establish a Written Agreement
Most companies insist on a contract to protect their own interests, but if they don’t, you should. In addition to defining the scope of work and budget, a contract ensures all parties are on the same page with expectations about factors like timing, liability in the event of an accident and other practical matters. Contractors also often provide guarantees of workmanship, so find out what they cover for how long and include this information in your work agreement.
Step 6: Understand the Plan
Keep the lines of communication open between you, the remodeling contractor and the work crew. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Let them know your family’s schedule and circumstances that may affect their work, such as pets. Make sure to specify the best way to reach you and how often you wish to communicate about your project.
Step 7: Complete the Project
When the remodel is almost finished, walk through the area and note any adjustments that need made while the contractor is still on site. You should also take another look at the contract and confirm you have signed permits, receipts, change orders, lien waivers, warranties and manufacturers’ guides at your disposal.
Find more remodeling advice and contractors in your area at remodelingdoneright.com.