How to Start a Home Remodel

Remodeled modern farmhouse home - view of rear elevation and backyard with swimming pool

The idea of a home remodel is both exciting and overwhelming. Where do you start? How do you start? Tight market conditions, combined with the recent pandemic, are making remodeling a popular choice for many homeowners. Maybe you’re spending more time at home, and it’s time to finally do something about the flaws that were easy to overlook before. Or, maybe your home doesn’t accommodate your new work-from-home arrangement. Maybe you’ve been looking for a new home for a while now, but there’s nothing on the market that’s just right! Whatever the reason, we’re here to help. If you’re thinking about remodeling your home but don’t know where to start, here’s what we suggest.

Create a List of Goals for Your Remodel

Organization is key to any successful home remodel. If you’re thinking about remodeling your home, start a list of goals. What do you want to change about your home? Do you want to reconfigure existing spaces? Add additional square footage? Create a backyard that will be the envy of all your neighbors? Write it down, and get specific. The more detail the better. Pinterest and Houzz are great tools for remodel inspiration, and a great place to organize your ideas.

Once your list is done, arrange it in order of priority. What are your “must haves”? What would you like to do, but could live without if budget doesn’t allow? As you move through the various steps of remodeling, your list of priorities will help keep your project on track. It can be easy to get caught up in the details, and having a list of priorities to reference makes sure your original goals won’t get lost. Plus, if (or when) you start working with an architect on your remodel, your list will give you a head start on the programming phase.

Know What Your Home is Worth

Once you have a list of goals for your remodel, it’s time to do some research about the value of your home. It’s a good idea to know how much your home is worth in its current state, and what it could be worth after remodeling. The easiest way to do this is to ask your real estate agent to pull comps in your neighborhood, and compare how the prices differ based on the level of upgrades.

The goal of this exercise is to make sure you don’t price yourself out of the market if you remodel, and then decide to sell your home. Think about how long you’re planning to stay after you remodel. If you only plan to stay for a few years, it’s especially important to consider how much you’re going to spend and what you hope to sell for. Planning to stay for at least 10 years? Go ahead and spend a bit more money. And remember, there’s no exact science to this. These are general guidelines and things to think about, but no one really knows what the market will do.

Find Out What’s Possible

Every home has a different set of rules in place that must be followed when remodeling. The city or county jurisdiction you live in has certain requirements that must be followed. Additionally, some neighborhoods have covenants or other rules put in place by a HOA that must be taken into consideration. Want to pop the top on your ranch home? It’s important to make sure there are no height or bulk plane restrictions on your property. Looking to add additional square footage? You’ll need to find out set-back and lot coverage requirements to know what’s possible. This probably sounds a bit daunting. We recommend engaging your architect or builder to help out since they regularly work with jurisdictions, and doing this type of research on your own can be challenging.

What Do You Already Have?

If you decide to move forward with remodeling your home, there are a couple of things your architect will need. The first are as-built drawings. As-builts are a set of architectural drawings that depict your home as it’s currently built. Some homeowners may have some drawings available from when they purchased their home. If you don’t have a set already, not to worry. It’s common practice for architects to create as-built drawings when doing remodels. The second item is a property survey, so your architect can see exactly where property lines fall, topography, the location of water and gas lines, easements etc.

Know Your Budget

The research you did on what your home is currently worth can help inform your budget. We also recommend talking with a lender that specializes in construction loans. Construction loans are different than standard home loans, so it’s helpful to understand exactly how they work. It’s worth mentioning that you should always include a contingency fund in your over-all budget. There’s normally at least one surprise during construction, and you’ll be happy you planned ahead.

Once you’ve determined your budget, don’t be afraid to share it with your team. Be transparent about what you can spend. At KGA, we see ourselves as your fiduciary, and we want to give you the best design possible for your budget. Knowing what that budget is upfront helps us to do just that.

Getting Started

We hope this info gives you a good place to start thinking about remodeling your home. Depending on the size and scope of your remodel, we highly recommend working with design professionals. If you’re wondering whether you need an architect for your remodel, check out this blog for some of the benefits of working with an architect. Still have questions? Give us a call or drop us a line using the form below! We’d love to hear from you. We always enjoy discussing new projects and helping homeowners achieve their goals.

Ready to Get Started?

Let's talk! Tell us more about your project. We respond within 2 business days.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest