Remodeling your home is fun, time-consuming, complicated, messy, and hopefully, quite gratifying. Whether you’re planning to remodel your kitchen or your entire home, here is our list of top things to consider when planning your home remodel.
Define Your Scope
Often a room remodel, such as a bath, may lead to re-doing an entire suite or sometimes, the entire home. If your home is 20 to 30 years old, it’s worth considering a whole house remodel in order to replace antiquated energy, plumbing, and electrical systems, as well as refreshing the interior. An exterior “re-skin” can replace aging or deteriorating siding and roofs while adding character.
Where to Begin?
This is a challenge…understanding what to do first and who to seek out for guidance. For example, who should you hire for design? Who does the construction?
- First, as you’re defining your scope, do a financial review. Talk to your banker or a financial planner and to a real estate professional to understand home values. Start to formulate a budget for the remodel and note the specific goals you wish to achieve.
- Next, interview professionals to create your project team. You will need an architect to interpret your vision, conceptualize the design, and then create construction documents. The architect also coordinates building restrictions and codes with the builder, who will examine budgets, prepare cost projections, and generate construction schedules.
Ultimately, a remodel project can be rewarding and result in an amazing metamorphosis of your home… but a remodel will always cost more per square foot than new construction, make more noise, and create more dirt and dust than you expect. A lot more dust.
- You will want a complete site survey to map existing site conditions, the home’s location, easements, utilities, and vegetation.
- Other professionals you might need: a civil engineer, structural engineer, soils engineer, kitchen designer, interior designer, and landscape designer.
- Once your team is assembled, review goals and budgets. “Inventory” your existing home and property. There will be certain design constraints to consider, such as existing structure, site orientation, and maximum allowable heights. A program will then be created through discussions between you, the builder, and the architect, with decisions guided by your budget and remodel priorities. From these discussions and the design process, a strategy and schedule will evolve.
Some Rules of Thumb
- As previously noted, remodeling is a more expensive proposition than building new.
- Strongly consider not occupying your home during construction.
- Have a contingency fund included in the builder’s bid or in your own overall budget. There is always at least one surprise during construction that will necessitate use of the fund.
- Research allows home owners to make smart, value assessed decisions about finishes, appliances, and fixtures, so start your research early.
- Make lighting a priority; you’ll regret skimping on fixtures or controls.
- The crowning touches to a successful remodel: built-ins, landscaping, details, appliances, finishes, and color.
- Select a builder who specializes in remodeling. The process of remodeling, in comparison to building new, is as different as cats and walruses.
- Do it right. Soils reports, proper engineering, and construction techniques create good value, as does a certificate of occupancy.
- Be patient. Municipal and bureaucratic guidelines, restrictions, and processes are ever increasing, which slows the permitting and construction schedule.
- Be patient. Insisting on a fast-paced schedule often results in added stress, poor construction coordination, and unwise decisions.
- Be patient. You will love some of your subcontractors. Others may drive you crazy.