Planning For a Successful Home Remodel

This article written by Larry Abbott was printed in the Sunday, March 10th edition of the Houston Chronicle. 

Renovating your home can be exciting and sometimes stressful. Preparing for your renovation in advance will make the whole process run smoother and help you budget for the cost of your renovation more accurately.

Plan Ahead

Think about your goals for your remodel and make a list prioritizing your needs and wants. Are you remodeling to better your lifestyle or to raise the resale value of your home? Do you plan to stay in your current home for years to come?

If resale value is most important, consider your neighborhood and find out which renovations will be a good return on investment, rather than over-improving your home for the area.

If you plan to live in your home for a length of time you may want to incorporate universal design features to increase safety and accessibility for residents of all ages. For example, when remodeling a bathroom shower consider grab bars, slip proof shower flooring and a curb less shower entry.

There are other priorities you may have when remodeling such as improving energy efficiency or using low maintenance and eco-friendly materials.

Set Your Budget

A budget is based on the costs for building materials, labor, building permits, and finishes. Determine the amount you want to spend. Always reserve at least 10% of your budget for unexpected costs. Include expenditures such as the cost of eating out when having a kitchen renovated or paying for temporary accommodations if you need to leave your home during the remodel. Having a good idea of what you can realistically afford to spend will help keep your stress level down and help your contractor create a plan to fit your needs, wants and finances.

Find A Remodeler

When interviewing a remodeler for your project ask for references. See if your prospective remodeler has a current remodeling project similar to yours in the area that you can visit. Visiting “the Jobsite” will visually give you insight on how organized the contractor is, and a feel for the professional culture he portrays. Does the remodeler belong to any Builder/Remodeler professional organizations or have specialized credentials? Professional organizations provide education and updates on the latest in best practices, technology, and new regulations. Check the company’s record with the Greater Houston and South Texas Better Business Bureau for reviews.

My idea of a successful remodel is where the clients and remodeler leave happy, which I attribute to good communication. The more at ease you feel with the remodeling process, the more you’ll be able to trust your contractor, minimizing tension and stress.

Set a Timeline

Once you have chosen your remodeler you both can come up with an acceptable timeline for your project. A skilled contractor can calculate the amount of time needed to complete each portion of your

project. Your timeline should allow for shipping and delivery of materials. Unexpected issues such as product delays or problems found “behind a wall” could affect your timeline. So, if you are expecting your remodel to be finished for an event or holiday, add extra time to avoid disappointment.

Renovation projects can be challenging, but that doesn’t mean they have to be stressful. If you plan ahead for your remodel, have your goals and priorities set for the final outcome, it will make the process more enjoyable and more successful.