So, you’ve had enough of settling for “good enough” with your house and you’re ready to start again. Moving is an option; however, you know it’s not only expensive, but it’s also one of the most stressful life events you can go through.
Plus, you love your neighborhood and your yard. It’s just the details of your home that don’t quite meet your wants and needs. So, to turn your home into a space you love as much as its surroundings, you’ve opted for a whole house remodeling project.
But just because a remodel isn’t classified as equally stressful as moving doesn’t mean it isn’t a difficult process. On the contrary, you have a laundry list of factors to consider and decisions to make.
How do you tackle a remodeling project without cracking under the pressure? What’s the best way to bring your ideas and desires to life? How do you choose the best professionals for you and your home?
If you’re preparing for a remodel and asking yourself these questions, you’re in the right place. For the answers to those questions and more, all you have to do is keep reading!
Start With a Clear Vision
Remodeling a single room can be tough, depending on the room, but it’s doable. It doesn’t take so long that it causes a major disruption to your life long-term, and a room is much easier to design than an entire house.
With a full house remodeling project, you have to be willing to invest a lot of time and effort into both the planning and execution of the design. There’s no abandoning ship halfway through, so be sure that you’re committed to the idea before you begin.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about establishing your vision for the final product. In which areas is your home currently lacking? What do you hope to change with the remodel? It’s your house and your remodel – you can create anything you want!
The best way to approach this is to make a list of the rooms in your home, then write the changes you want to make under each room.
It’s a good idea to do plenty of research beforehand as well, especially if you aren’t quite sure which direction you want to go. Thanks to the internet and the popularity of home design shows, you have an unlimited amount of inspiration at your fingertips!
Take your time and get a thorough understanding of your design preferences. It’s better to delay your remodel and be happy with the results than to rush through and have regrets.
Future-Proof Your Plans
When you’re gathering ideas and hammering out your ideal vision for your remodel, don’t forget to include your plans for the future. Because, hopefully, you remodel your home and love it so much that it lasts you a lifetime!
Let’s say that you and your partner are the only ones living in the home now, do you plan to have children? How many?
Or maybe your children have moved out and that’s what spurred the idea to remodel. Well, will you need accessible design features in the future? What about a space for grandchildren?
If you aren’t planning to stay in your remodeled home long-term, resale value and ROI (return on investment) for individual projects should move to the top of your priority list. Be careful not to spend more than you’ll get back.
Choose Between DIY vs. Hiring Professionals
With smaller house renovations, it’s absolutely possible to conquer the entire thing yourself. When you’re remodeling an entire house, however, DIY becomes less of an option.
Now, that’s not to say that you can’t DIY a portion of your home projects. If you have the time and the patience for it, DIY is a fantastic way to save money on your renovation while adding a personal touch to your home.
Because you can’t do everything yourself, you need to separate your projects into two categories: DIY and professional.
The DIY projects you can handle will depend on your experience level and available free time. That said, there are two types of tasks that should always be left to the professionals, and they are plumbing and electrical.
Unless you’re a trained plumber or electrician, you can do more harm than good by attempting these projects on your own. You risk spending far more in the long run than you would have by hiring a professional in the first place.
Create a Budget and Stick to It
Speaking of saving money, it’s time to talk about your budget. Earlier in the process, you made a list of all the changes you hope to make with your remodel. Now you need to put them in order of priority.
Things could go exactly as you plan, you might not run into any unexpected costs, but then again, the opposite could also be true.
One of the best remodeling tips we can give you is to do your best to plan for the unexpected. If you need to cut something out of your plans or adjust to a more inexpensive option, it helps to know which project you’re going to choose in advance.
Maybe you’ve always dreamed of having marble countertops. Great! Put counters at the top of your list of priorities in the kitchen. But keep in mind that you might have to go with a cheaper flooring or refinish rather than replace your cabinets if necessary.
To minimize the chances of this happening, it’s wise to create a contingency fund of 5-10% of your total budget. The more room you have in your budget, the less likely it is that you’ll have to make sacrifices along the way.
Along with doing some of the renovations yourself, there are also tons of inexpensive projects that have an impressive impact and look luxurious! This is one of the reasons why research is so important before breaking out the toolbox.
Pick Your Contractors
You know you want experienced and skilled professionals, but choosing a contractor is more difficult than you might think. First, there are two options to choose from. You can either hire a contractor who employs an in-house team, or you can hire individual subcontractors for each project.
For time and efficiency’s sake, the first option is usually preferable. Though a team is often more expensive than individual contractors, they know how to work together and are more likely to take an organized, systematic approach. With the right team, the additional expense is worth it.
But how do you find the right team? There’s a mile-long list of contractors with in-house teams in your area!
Well, the first place to look is with people you know and trust. Have any friends or family members in the area completed home remodels recently? If so, would they recommend their chosen contractors?
If this isn’t an option, move to online reviews and references. Any reputable contractor should be able to provide you with a list of satisfied customers willing to give them a good reference. Ask to see their work as well, including both before and after pictures of their completed projects.
Questions to Ask Potential Contractors
Trusting a stranger with your home is always going to be a gamble, but by trusting your gut and asking the right questions, you can avoid disaster. Here are a few questions to ask:
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have a contractor’s license?
- Do you have proof of insurance?
- How do you handle permits and inspections?
- What does your typical timeline look like?
- What is your preferred payment schedule?
- How can I get in touch with you?
- Does your team work on multiple jobs at once?
- Where will your tools be stored?
- Does your price include daily cleanup?
- Do you offer a warranty for your work?
Remodeling advice: if a contractor doesn’t offer a guarantee on their work, they’re not the one for you. Nothing lasts forever, but if they can’t guarantee that their work will hold up for at least a year, chances are they’re untrustworthy and unprofessional.
Pare Down and Audit Your Belongings
What better time to cut down on clutter than right before a whole house remodeling project? Take our remodeling advice – paring down your belongings before a remodel is among the best things you can do.
Not only does clutter cause stress, but valuables, home decor, and other personal items should be kept in a storage unit or portable storage container during the renovation to avoid damage. The less clutter you have, the easier it will be to pack before and unpack after.
Go through everything you own and create four piles: keep, donate, sell, and toss. Only keep items you truly want or need. This process can be difficult, but when it’s all said and done, you’ll thank yourself for the fresh start!
Once you’re done sorting your belongings, you need to audit what’s left. Put everything in a list and track each item’s approximate value. This is for insurance purposes; should you run into any issues along the way, you know exactly what you have and what it’s worth.
Plan Your Day-to-Day Life
With a single room remodel, it’s possible (albeit inconvenient) to live in your home as normal. But with a whole house remodeling project, you need to have more thorough plans for your family’s day-to-day life.
If your plan is to stay in your home during the remodel, you need to have a designated renovation-free zone.
A house under construction is dangerous, especially for children and pets. You should have an area safe from dust and debris at all times, even if that area changes throughout the process.
You’ll also need to plan for outages. Your plumbing and electricity are more than likely going to be shut off at points during the remodel; have a game plan in place for these occasions.
If you want to avoid the chaos and privacy intrusions that come with living in a home under construction, you need to move out until it’s completed. Depending on the timeline you created with your contractor, you might stay with a family member or get a short-term lease on an apartment nearby.
Those who plan to leave their house during renovations will need to check with their homeowners’ insurance company. You might need vacant home insurance, an upgrade in your liability insurance, or builder’s risk insurance.
Pick Your Battles
Unless you live alone and are planning a home remodel just for you, your opinions won’t be the only ones that matter. To avoid major stress and the risk of damaging your relationship with your partner, it’s essential to pick your battles.
Try not to fixate on the details. You have a list of the items most important to you, your partner should as well. Identify three must-haves each and do your best to be flexible with the rest.
Fighting over every little element of your renovation, whether with your partner or your contractor, isn’t going to lead anywhere productive. It’s only going to take all the enjoyment out of your remodel. Yes, a remodeling project is a lot of work, but it should also be a lot of fun!
Get the Most Out of Your Whole House Remodeling Project With This Guide
The most important tool at your disposal for a whole house remodeling project is patience. You’re guaranteed to encounter unexpected changes and hiccups along the way, and the roadmap you have in mind at the start is almost certainly incorrect.
By using this guide, however, you’ll find that remodeling your home wasn’t nearly as much of a headache as you thought it was going to be.
Interested in learning more about home design and how to turn your house into your dream home? Take a look at our blog!