How do I plan a remodel of my house?

So, you are tired of your house and are considering a remodel, or perhaps an addition.  Where do you start?  Overwhelmed already?  That’s okay.  Here are some ideas that may guide you in the right direction.

Consider making a list of the features you want in your remodeled house.  Establish a budget for your remodel.  Then dream, dream big!  Prioritize your list in case you need scaling down the dream just a bit.  Now, sketch your house using accurate measurements – a standard tape measure or one of those fancy electronic tape measures works well for this task.  Don’t forget to measure ceiling heights.  Draw an overall view of your house, or the area to be remodeled, to scale using the measurements.

Now, the fun begins.  Make multiple copies of your drawing so that you can develop different schemes of your plans.  Consider repurposing existing spaces in your floor plan, adding doors and/or windows, removing walls (properly, of course) to open rooms, changing kitchen countertops, painting cabinets, changing the floor coverings, adding appliances, etc…. the list is endless.  When adding features that involve plumbing, consider locating new or remodeled features next to existing water services like supply lines and drains to save costs on the remodel.  Establish a final plan, clearly drawn to scale, showing all details and dimensions.  

Select furniture and finish features to enhance the areas of your remodel.  Draw the furniture, to scale, onto to your remodel schemes to ensure a proper fit of the furniture to the space.  Search on-line and magazines for styles, colors, products and furnishing to enhance your remodel.

Do you have a good idea of where you are headed with your project?  Now the business part of the project begins.  If you are modifying plumbing, electrical, and framing features in the remodel, you will likely need a permit from your local authority.  Permitting requirements can be trying and burdensome and can best be handled by your contractor.  There are usually permit fees involved with the permitting process.  Be prepared.  Each permitting office has their own regulations when obtaining a permit.

Also, it is time to select a contractor.  Solicit bids from competent, qualified, and state licensed contractors. A local Home Builders Association is a great place to start.  Focus on obtaining bids and contracting with a contractor who SPECIALIZES IN HOUSE REMODELS.  There is generally a difference in delivery of services between contractors specializing in remodels vs new house construction. Obtain and check references from each contactor.  Inquire about the contractors with local and state licensing boards.  Ask references about the timely response and commitment the contractor brings to the project. Once a contractor is selected, OBTAIN A WRITTEN CONTRACT SIGNED BY ALL PARTIES identifying terms and conditions of the contract, the scope of work to be performed, and work that will NOT be performed.  This task may be the most important of all tasks.  You may also want legal assistance with this task.

Depending on the magnitude of the remodel, you may be required to move out of your house.  Coordinate all activity with your contractor to manage the remodel.  Be prepared for unexpected and inconvenient conditions like hidden damage to framing, plumbing and electrical services in walls, dust and debris, changes in plans, time delays, etc……. and additional costs.  It is always a good idea to leave some budgeted funds, say 15%-20%, for unexpected causes.  Remodeling a home can be a bit of a journey but, when thoughtfully planned, it can be a wonderful experience in providing a refreshed look and feel to your home.  

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