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Remodeling Tips: Things You Need To Know Before You Begin
The idea of remodeling is exciting. The reality of it is often less so. In fact, for many people remodeling is nothing but frustration. Chances are they are people who didn’t think their project through as well as they could have. Ask anyone who has ever done a major remodel and they’ll have stories of the many things they learned the hard way.
Even the most careful planning doesn’t guarantee perfection, but it will certainly limit the frustration and unpleasant surprises along the way.
Here are some things you need to know before you begin:
Learn from those who have gone before you. Talk to friends and family who have done remodeling. For those who love home improvement magazines and television shows, it’s easy to get stuck in the dreaming stage of remodeling. Time spent listening to the experiences of others will make you much more aware of the reality of remodeling.
Prepare for the unexpected. This is especially true if you live in an older home. Tear out a wall and you’re sure to find something different than you had thought. It might be lovely old brick that was covered over with drywall, it might be asbestos… just know that there will likely be something. Make sure you have some contingency plans — extra money in the budget and extra time. If it all goes smoothly then you’ll have more to play with for fun details at the other end.
Don’t take shortcuts. Shortcuts are like small, but vicious, dogs. They look harmless enough. How bad can it be really, you may ask yourself. But they will eventually bite you, and it will hurt. Shortcuts in remodeling usually lead to costly troubles down the road. There’s a good reason why you’re supposed to do it the right way. It works. If you don’t feel you have the time, or the money, to do it right then chances are you need to wait.
Take the time to hire good people and listen to them. By the time you hire a professional you should have checked their credentials, seen examples of their work and talked with other homeowners who used their services. If you did your background work then you should be able to trust that they will do a good job. They are the experts. If they have concerns about a part of your plan then you should take note.
If at all possible, leave. This one is really part two of the above. Hire good people. Listen to them. Then get out of the house.
Remodeling is dusty, messy, noisy work. It is difficult to live in a home that is undergoing a major remodeling project. Tensions build. Tempers flare. People begin to feel resentful and angry. If it’s a part of the house that is not in daily use then maybe you can live through it. If it’s the bathroom or kitchen that’s being done, everyone will be a lot happier if you go somewhere else for the worst of it.
Know what you want to do before you begin. It sounds obvious but beginning a remodeling project can be like opening a can of worms. You start one area and that leads to ideas about another area. Think the whole layout through and try to anticipate how those changes will affect the home. Talk to your general contractor and raise any thoughts you have with him. Yes, during remodeling it is not uncommon to discover something extra that needs to be done (a problem with the wiring or dry rot, for example) but don’t add new ideas just on a whim. For the sanity of all involved make sure you have the parameters of the project clearly defined.
Negotiate a contract. Even if the work is being done by someone you know well, make sure you have a written contract. This will ensure everyone is clear of what is to be done, how much it will cost, and a schedule for completion. The process of negotiating a contract also helps homeowners get more comfortable asking questions and talking about the process with the contractor, making ongoing communication much easier.
Make sure your calendar is wide open. Don’t plan a major remodeling project to finish just before some major family event to take place in your home. Although it is understandably tempting to want to have your home at its recently remodeled and shining best before relatives from another state come to visit, try to resist the temptation. It is a recipe for disaster. A schedule for completion is important, but when remodeling deadlines only serve to make everyone crazy.
Know who you are remodeling for. If you love your house and plan to stay there then you’re remodeling for yourself. If you’re planning to move in a few years, however, you need to be aware of the current value of your home and the general value of homes in your neighborhood. Otherwise you may sink $75,000 into your home with no hope of ever getting it back.
Finish it. Again, this sounds obvious but all too often homeowners get the major work done but then run out of steam and not get around to the finishing details. If it’s in the contract then it will get done, but if you planned to save money and do those final details yourself, make sure you actually do them.
Renovation Experts is a premium network of thousands of remodeling contractors, who carry out bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling, attic remodeling and basement remodeling projects. Since 1999, Renovation Experts has helped homeowners to locate and hire a local remodeling contractor.
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