So you’ve saved up, gotten a nice tax refund and you are ready to put the equity in your home to good use… now what?
Time to plan your home remodel project.
Outline Your Expectations
You have a vision. You have a bazillion pins on your “Dream Home” Pinterest board. You may even have tile and paint samples, but you haven’t quite started the process of getting a quote. Before you begin requesting quotes, it’s important to have a clear idea on what your expectations are of the project. We have created a helpful Remodeling Project Homeowner Expectations Worksheet to assist homeowners in outlining their project needs. Below is an example of a typical home project and a homeowners expectations.
Project Type: Master Bath Remodel
Current Space Measurements: 9’x15’ SqFt: 135
Project Goal: Expand master bath into master closet to allow for a two person shower, a soaking tub, a double vanity, and a private/enclosed toilet.
Must-Haves: Glass shower surround. Floor and wall tile throughout bathing areas and vanity backsplash. Pocket door for enclosed toilet.
Preferred Deadline: Completed within 3 weeks from the start of demolition work
Key Questions to Address:
To help manage costs, is there any work or site preparation we can perform for this project?
We have a few ideas of what we want things to look like, but we’d love to see some actual mock-ups. Does contractor offer design rendering services, if so, how much does that cost?
Selecting the Right Contractor
When facing the wide world of general contractors it’s important to do the research. You’ve likely heard the horror stories of what can occur when selecting the first contractor that is available or the cheapest.
First things first, always verify that the contractor is insured. We cannot stress this enough, for obvious reasons.
Secondly, google them! There should be no shortage of reviews (good or bad) within the first page of search results. If the reviews skew positive say 80/20, then they are likely a reliable choice for a quote.
Lastly, the saying “you get what you pay for” is most true for those in skilled trades and contract labor. We recommend reviewing the Remodeling 2019 Cost vs. Value
Report as a reference guide to average or typical costs for certain remodeling projects. This guide will help you to know whether your project has been severely underbid or overcharged (neither are what you want). If a contractor provides a quote that is significantly less than any other quotes, it is likely that they will be using materials of a lesser quality. But don’t take our word for it, ask them what makes them so much less expensive – maybe they’ve found some great ways to provide you with some cost-saving benefits. Same goes with quotes that are drastically over the average bids, ask the contractor what drove the price higher than others.
When obtaining quotes from contractors, we recommend getting 2 or 3 quotes to ensure you have a solid comparison for the best quality and value for your investment.
Most importantly, if you happen to get on great with a contractor, and you find yourself finishing each other’s sandwiches ;D – BONUS! Great reviews and good pricing are absolute necessities, but finding someone who gets your vision and your project needs is something people often overlook when selecting the right partner for their home remodeling project. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!
Setting “House Rules”
Your home is now a construction work-site, but there’s no reason for it to look and feel that way all the time. When you select a contractor it’s important to communicate any considerations around your schedule, and expectations of cleanliness and care while working in your home. If you will be in residence while the project is in progress, it’s wise to have a conversation with your contractor around the project scope and your personal preferences while crew members, and materials are filling up your home.
Reaching the Finish Line
You’ve made it! As you perform the final walk-thru with your contractor and take in all the finishes, try not to get lost in how beautiful everything looks and make a point to test everything out. Depending on the scope of your home remodel project, you may have already had several punch list walk-thrus. However, the final walk-thru is your opportunity to ensure any little (or big) issues are caught and addressed before paying the balance due for the work. If all checks out, works as it should, and looks as you hoped then sing your contractors praises.
Pop the Bubbly and Celebrate!