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Five Essential Steps Before Starting a Remodel Project and Five Pitfalls

You have been dreaming of this remodeling project for years.  You have Pinterest boards and screenshots saved to your camera, color schemes and saved wish lists of new furniture, fixtures and other items for your remodel.  You can’t wait for it to be completed.  

But first it must begin.  

5 Essential Steps (to do): 

  1. Be emotionally prepared.  Remodeling is a rollercoaster - buckle up. 
  2. Design.  Re-design. Design Again.  The design process is critical and often requires a significant amount of time.  Don’t be afraid to design something and then sit with it for a while before committing.  Think about how this design will look in 5 years - 10 years?  How will it effect the resale value of your home?  It is much easier to change something during the design phase than during the construction phase.  Once your design is finalized determine what types of permits are required and consider a realistic timeline for your project.
  3. Budget accordingly.  Remodels ALWAYS cost more than you originally planned - budget for 30%-100% over your starting price.  Yes - that is a wide range - it is better to be prepared than shocked.  
  4. Interview and choose your contractor.  Check out this article for more details on How to Vet a Contractor (link to article).
  5. Take inventory of your belongings and store valuables in safe (locked) storage.  You did your due diligence in vetting your contractor and we know they are probably incredibly trustworthy - but everyone is happier when your valuables are audited and secured. 

5 Pitfalls (to avoid):

  1. Remember when we told you to be emotionally prepared?  Those before and after photos on Instagram may look like magic but the truth is home remodeling and renovation is a messy process.  Don’t succumb to unrealistic expectations and be ready for surprises (not the good kind.)  There is always a solution to said “surprise” and you will be happier when you have a realistic expectation on the process of a remodel.  
  2. If your design is not specific or detailed it often leads to issues.  Did you consider there might be requirements to update to current building codes in your design?  Did your design include detailed specifications or was it a rough sketch? 
  3. Did you mock the 30%-100% over budget allocation suggested above since it was a very wide range? One of the most common pitfalls for remodel projects is low cost projections and capped budgets.  Don’t get stuck in the trap of budgeting too low for labor and too high for item selections such as cabinets, countertops and fixtures.
  4. Supply chain issues are real.  Be prepared for back orders, double check that the correct items are on the packing list and closely monitor delivery dates.  In order to keep productivity moving forward, know when your materials are scheduled to arrive and where they will be stored prior to installation.
  5. Even the best contractors do not have x-ray vision and do not know what may lie beneath the floors or behind the walls.  Outdated or insufficient plumbing and electrical, mold and mildew issues, hidden dry rot, uneven floors and settled foundations, or environmental hazards like asbestos, lead paint and radon are all common issues you should be prepared for during a remodel project.  Best case scenario - you are emotionally and financially ready for the “surprise” behind the wall or under the floor and amazingly it is not as bad as you had feared.  

Remodeling is a process - one in which you can guarantee it is going to get stressful and messy.  Preparation is the name of the game and before you know it you will be posting those before and after photos and wishing you had done that remodel years ago.  

This is very informative, I need to…

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