How to Get Your Remodel Started and Finished in 2018

You’ve heard the nightmare remodel stories from your friends – how the contractor promised that kitchen remodel would only take three weeks, and it took three months instead. You’ve heard about permits taking forever to pull, cabinets that never showed up, and walls painted horrid lime green because someone wrote down the wrong swatch. Now that you’re dreaming of your own San Diego home remodel in 2018, how can you make sure the process goes smoothly and stays on time? In other words, how can you ensure that by the end of 2018, you’ll be cooking in your new kitchen, enjoying a bubble bath in your remodeled master bath, or feeling blessed in your full home remodel?

Start with a Plan

The road to a smooth remodel starts with you. A contractor can only give you a proposal if he or she has a solid idea of what you want. Of course, you don’t have to know every single detail, down to the doorknobs, but you do need to provide some sort of scope. Are you looking at a full home remodel, a kitchen remodel, a room addition, a half bath to whole bath conversion, or something else? Jot down ideas and prioritize. What are the top ten most important changes you want to make?

The more details you can provide, the more accurate proposal the remodeling contractor can write. For example, if you just want new cabinets, new countertops, and new flooring in your kitchen, that is a world of difference from someone else who wants to expand the footprint of their kitchen (which is likely to require plumbing, gas, and electrical work) and to install new features, like an island and breakfast bar.

Quick Summary: Before you even call up a remodeling contractor, have a clear idea on the scope of the project. Ideally, you should be able to explain your top priorities and big ideas.

Know Your Budget

The other critical piece of information your remodeling contractor needs to know before he or she can provide you with a quote is your project budget. Your budget will help the remodeling contractor determine which priorities on your list are feasible and which may need to be put off to another time. Knowing your budget can also help you plan your remodel, since it will force you to determine which updates are the most important to you.

How do you determine your budget? That will depend on how much you have in your savings, whether you are seeking financing, or if you will be refinancing. It is worth looking into charts that provide ballpark estimates on how much value different remodels add to homes in different areas and considering how much personal value the remodel will give to you. (If you love entertaining but have a tiny, cramped kitchen, a kitchen remodel could be priceless.)

Finally, always keep some funds in reserve. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for remodelers to run into surprises when the work gets started (example: a surprise mold infestation or poorly implemented piping) that require more labor than originally estimated.

Quick Summary: Your budget will define the parameters of your remodel.

Start the Process Early in the Year

A lot of people assume that the primary time consideration with a remodel are the actual days and weeks that the remodel team is at your house knocking down walls, rewiring, framing, and installing. Not necessarily. Just getting to that point often takes much longer than most homeowners realize.

First, it could take weeks or months to pick your contractor. We recommend getting a quote from several different companies. Each company will need to schedule a consultation with you, inspect your home, and provide a quote. Some companies drag their feet during this process. With quotes in hand, you’ll need to compare them, ask follow up questions, and possibly negotiate.

Choosing your contractor is only the beginning of the process. Most well-regarded contractors will already have jobs scheduled over the coming weeks and months and will not be able to start on your project right away. During this waiting period, you’ll work with your contractor to draw up specific plans of what you want (which may require the services of a professional architect). You’ll also work with the company’s design team to pick out your finishes, everything from those doorknobs to light fixtures, flooring tile, and paint colors.

More waiting is in store. Your contractor will then need to pull permits and possibly also get approval for major changes from your Home Owner’s Association.

Other delays include waiting for materials to arrive, working with the schedule of sub-contractors, and facing unexpected challenges (see: previous mold example).

All this goes to say that it’s a good idea to start the search for your contractor as soon as possible. While the physical remodel may only take 30 days, it could take months until everything is set and the crew is ready to work. Deciding in November that you want a remodeled kitchen by Christmas is likely an impossible expectation.

Quick Summary: It takes much longer to move through the remodel planning process than many homeowners realize. Get your project started early in the year to ensure you’ll have your remodel finished by its end.

Choose the Right Contractor

As a homeowner, there is a lot you can do to speed up the remodel process. Most importantly, you can come to your remodeling contractor with a strong scope of project and a firm budget. However, at some point, the responsibility for the project transitions over to the remodeling agency. With so many factors in play, it takes a highly organized and experienced company to ensure that everything goes smoothly, from pulling the right permits, to submitting the right plans to the electrician, to ordering the supplies so that they arrive at the right time, and much more!

If you try to cut corners by hiring a “handyman” who swears he can remodel your entire kitchen by himself, you’ll likely get a poor result and dramatically extend the time of your remodel. (Plus, we all know fixing mistakes always takes longer than doing a project right in the first place.)

When assessing and comparing different San Diego remodeling contractors, make sure you look at each company’s ratings on places like: Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, and Yelp. Request to speak with previous customers and ask those referrals how reliable and communicative the company was and whether they were able to hit their timeline.

Quick Summary: Choosing an experienced, reliable, and highly rated remodeling company can keep your remodel on track and on time.

If you live in San Diego or San Diego County, we want to compete for your business. Right now is the perfect time to start the process of planning your 2018 remodel and finding the right contractor for the job. We would be happy to provide you with a consultation, give you a quote, and add you to our schedule for 2018. The sooner you fill out our contact form requesting a quote, the sooner we can get started on your San Diego remodel!