How to Prepare for a Home Remodel in 2018
You’ve spent 2017 gushing over your best friend’s kitchen remodel and watching your neighbor’s home transform with a gorgeous room addition. Even though you’ve been liking all those Before and After remodel pics on Facebook, something else in your heart has been stirring. You’ve got a touch of remodel envy. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal. It can be hard to see your friends and family remodeling their homes when you’ve been dying to redo your kitchen, add a full bath, or redo your entire home. If Santa doesn’t bring you the remodel of your dreams in 2017, perhaps 2018 is the year to go big and finally get the remodel that you want.
If that’s the case, here are a few basic steps to start preparing for your 2018 remodel.
Determine the Scope of Your Remodel
First things first, what do you want to change about your home? The answer may be “everything”, but you’re going to need to prioritize, because no one whose last name isn’t Gates, Buffet, or Zuckerberg has an unlimited budget. What are the changes you most want to make? For example, maybe you wish your kitchen were a little bit bigger, but that pales in comparison with how great it would be to have your own office.
Some of the most popular remodels are:
- A kitchen remodel
- A master bath remodel
- Half bath or full bath addition
- Full home remodel
Once you’ve focused down the area of change, go to town jotting down ideas for what changes you want to make. This is the time to let all the possibilities come out. Get to know Pinterest, Houzz, and flip through some home décor magazines.
Of course, the sky isn’t actually the limit. Your bank account is. Once you’ve created a list of improvements, rate them in order of importance. This will be extremely helpful as you begin to determine what is within your budget.
Determine Your Budget
For almost all homeowners, budget is what will ultimately constrain their home remodel, so it is important for you to have a good grasp of what you can and cannot afford. Planning for a remodel is exciting, and as you start to dream big, you may be tempted to push your budget past what is really financially smart for you.
To avoid any post-remodel financial regret, determine the upper limit of your budget before you get into the thick of the process and stick to it. We recommend actually setting your limit a little below what you feel you can ultimately afford, because almost every remodel project has some unforeseen costs associated with it.
When you start speaking with remodeling companies, be firm on your budget. Some less reputable companies may try to upsell you, but at the end of the day you’ll be the one signing the checks. Any remodeling company worth its salt should be able to give you an honest assessment about what is possible within your budget.
Start Looking for a Design and Remodeling Company
It is always a good idea to speak with several remodeling companies and to compare multiple quotes so that you get a competitive on your project and find a company that you are comfortable with. One of the best ways to find a great remodeling company is to ask your friends and family for referrals. You can also look at review sites. Just be aware that people who are most likely to write reviews are usually either ecstatic about their remodel or very disappointed. Many happy clients don’t bother writing reviews.
Also, we caution you against turning the bidding process into a price war. Your mother was right, “You get what you pay for”. Getting a competitive price for your remodel is important, but the lowest price might not come from the best contractor.
In fact, some less ethical contractors will leave costs out of their bid, or will make all kinds of promises that they won’t be able to keep when the work starts. Sometimes a higher bidding contractor can actually save you money. They are the ones who will be able to assess your property accurately and determine the full extent of work required to meet your expectations.
Make sure any remodeling company you consider has:
- All appropriate insurance and licenses. If you use an un-insured contractor, YOU could be financially responsible for any injuries that occur on your property during the remodel.
- A history in the community. Some remodel contractors will shut down operations if they get bad reviews or got through legal issues and then pop back up under a new name with a clean slate.
- A strong rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Every remodeling contractor should provide you with a free consultation. This is your chance to meet project managers and design experts and to receive useful feedback on your ideas. Ask lots of questions. A good contractor will want to know your budget and will give you honest feedback about what is feasible and how much different aspects of the remodel will cost. They should not pressure you to increase your budget or talk over your ideas!
Here are a few other things to prepare for as you begin your remodel search:
A sign of a good design and remodeling company is that they have at least a few jobs already on the books. That means it could be a few weeks or even a few months until work can be started on your project. Keep this in mind and start your contractor search early, especially if you want your remodel done at a certain time.
The remodel will probably take longer than you imagine. Even small remodels can be complicated. In many cases, your contractor will have to pull permits in order to make changes to your home. They may also have to receive approval from your HOA. There can also be delays in the shipment of supplies and finishes, and any number of unforeseen issues can crop up.
Things Will Be Chaotic
The room the contractors are working on will not be usable during much of the remodel. That could mean you’ll have to go weeks or even months without a kitchen or your primary bathroom. The house will also be noisy during the day, and you’ll have workers on your property. It is best to warn neighbors beforehand and to consider how your pets or young children will be affected.
You Don’t Have to Know all the Details
If you don’t know the exact shade you want to paint the walls or which one of the thousands of possible tiles to pick for the new flooring, that’s fine! When you work with a design and remodeling company, you’ll partner with a professional design expert who can help you choose the best finishes for your budget and personal style preferences.
It’s Worth It
Yes, a remodel can be stressful, and it is certainly a serious investment, but just remember how happy your neighbors and family members were after their remodel. A small bit of trouble is worth getting the kitchen of your dreams, right?
If a home remodel is on your wish list for 2018, please give us a call if you live in the San Diego area. We’ve been remodeling San Diego homes for over ten years and have been voted Best Home Remodeler by the San Diego Union Tribune six times! We would be happy to give you a free consultation and a quote for your remodel.