Brian Hogan
Dec 29, 2022 2:18:35 PM

Preparing for a home remodel can seem like a daunting and overwhelming task. What do you need to know before remodeling? In what order should you renovate a home? These and other questions may be occupying your thoughts and raising your anxiety. However, home renovations can be a manageable undertaking. If you break the process down into smaller steps, it can make the renovations much easier to manage. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a successful home remodel:

Identify your home remodeling needs.

Before you start your remodeling project, it's important to take some time to identify your needs and plan ahead. Start by making a list of what you need to make your space function for you. The room may be missing a key element, and/or the flow of the space is inconvenient and causing stress. Consider what is working and not working currently in your home, as this will help you determine what needs to be changed.

Exterior home entry with curb appeal featuring a brick and stone exterior, natural wood door and portico.

Define your dreams for the space.

Next, think about what you want to make the space live up to your dreams for your home and what you want to include in the future. Determine the design styles that match your taste. Identify elements you want in the room(s). Create a folder of images and ideas you have for your room(s). Identifying your needs and wants is the first step in defining your project scope and setting up a successful renovation plan. 

Set a realistic budget.

Once you have researched and have a good idea of what you want to do to your home, set a desired yet realistic budget for your remodel. Also, determine your maximum spend amount. Having a clear understanding of these numbers will help you set expectations with a contractor and tradespeople and help you develop a detailed plan.

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Find a qualified contractor.

Once you have a complete understanding of what you want and need to change in your space, consider whether you will be handling the project yourself or if you'll need to partner with someone. If the home project does not require significant changes, you may be able to complete the renovation as a weekend warrior DIY project or hire a handyman to get the job done. However, suppose the project is more significant in scale and requires multiple tradespeople to get the job done. In that case, consider hiring a general contractor or design-build firm. 

Start by asking for referrals and researching online. Read reviews and understand the firm’s service area. For instance, not all home remodeling contractors in Chicago will necessarily cover home remodeling in Wheaton or Lombard. On the flip side, some Chicagoland contractors will service areas that extend to nearby vacation spots like home remodeling in Lake Geneva, Wi or South Haven, MI.

It is key that you make sure that the contractor you hire is experienced and has a good reputation. Check their portfolio. Ask for references and proof of insurance.

Renovated living room featuring a built -in bar, fireplace, woodfllors, and large modern farmhouse wheel chandelier

Make a detailed plan.

With your budget in mind, it is time for the design development phase to begin. During this period, you will flesh out the details and make your selections for the space. You may want to have an architect or interior designer draw up plans to help you visualize the space and create drawings from which your chosen contractor will work. Depending on the type of remodeling approach you choose, design development may occur before or after selecting your contractor. 

Finalize the project scope.

Now that the design plan is in place, you will need to finalize your project scope. The project scope is a detailed outline of all aspects of the project. It identifies which tasks need to be completed, the resources required to complete the tasks, including the cost of materials and labor, the timing in which these tasks should be completed, and the final deliverables. It also defines the project's boundaries, outlining the processes, assumptions, and constraints of your remodeling project. It details the accountabilities of crucial stakeholders, creates a working schedule, and calculates the current cost of materials, labor, and any other expenses associated with the project. Making sure you have a well-defined scope will help you and your contractor set clear expectations, help your renovations stay on track, and avoid surprises. 

Prepare your home.

Your scope has been defined, and your materials are in. But before demolition begins, you will need to prepare your home. Move any furniture and items out of the area you'll be remodeling. Cover the floors with drop cloths, and turn off the power to the area. Your contractor may or may not provide these services. Talk with your remodeling partner to understand what time and additional expenses you may need to incur in preparation for construction to begin.

Be prepared for the unexpected.

With all the detailed planning that led up to your project's start, you will hopefully avoid any major surprises. However, most of us recognize that everything is never foolproof. There can be unexpected issues that arise during the construction period. Items could arrive damaged. A problem is discovered when a wall or flooring is removed. A pandemic could hit that significantly impacts material costs and availability. Even if you have done your due diligence, you should remain prepared to make adjustments if needed. 

Planning ahead is key to a successful remodel. By following these tips, you can ensure a stress-free home remodel. Good luck!

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