Critical Q’s to Ask Before You Embark on a Renovation
Considering a home remodeling project? Make sure you have all your ducks in a row before starting a renovation project by asking yourself these critical questions:
- Do I have a set of plans or specifications? This is quite possibly the most crucial question of all! If you answer “no” to this question – stop! Do not pass go! Do not collect $200! Take time to think through (and write down details about) every aspect of your remodel, from the floor you’ll walk on to the crown molding that lines the ceilings. The more detailed the scope of work, the less questions you, or your remodeler, or any of their subcontractors, will have. Less questions = less confusion, and less confusion = less deviation from the vision of your remodeled space that you have in your head. Your specifications or plans should also be able to answer #2:
- Do I need any specialty or custom design elements? For example: say you collect designer shoes and have over 200 pairs. First of all, what size shoe are you? Can I borrow a pair? But more seriously, if you are going to, say, remodel your closet, it’s probably important to you that there is adequate shoe storage to ensure room for each and every pair. Another example: you are currently in, or someday expect to be in, a wheelchair. It’s crucial to ensure that your remodeled space will be compatible with your mobility needs. No matter what the case, being sure your wishes and/or requirements are addressed is something important that should be taken care of in the planning stage.
- Is it worth it? Remodeling a house that you are planning to sell in the next year is a lot different than renovating a house you plan to live in forever. Renovations can be costly (in the sense of money and time), so determining which areas of the house you want to touch, if any, is key. Maybe you’re in between the “sell it now” or “never sell it” categories, but you still want to put some money into your house so you can make a little profit in the future. Consider the fact that master bathrooms and kitchens are the two areas where you get the most bang for your buck. But, whatever you choose to do, make sure that the investment has a good return for you and your family (whether this return is monetarily valued or not is another story).
- Will I live in the house or move out? This is often a point of contention for many who are planning on remodeling. The idea of saving money by staying in the home during construction is promising, but if you’re remodeling every room in the house except for, say, a living room, you might want to reconsider. Take some time to make an in-depth list of pro’s and con’s to see if moving out might be worth the money.
- Do I know what type of finishes you will want? Are you partial to transitional styles? Do you prefer hard wood floors to carpet in bedrooms? Will you opt for stainless steel appliances, or will you have custom panels made for the fronts? These are a few examples of decisions you might need to make for your project. Getting your finish selections made before a project starts is my preferred method, but at least knowing which direction you will take the overall design is a must.
- Will I want to work with a designer? Speaking of selections… maybe you feel like drowning anytime someone hands you a paint deck and tells you to choose a wall color. If that’s the case, it might be a good idea to hire an interior designer. Some people (lucky as they are) know what they want and how they want it. Others – can’t tell transitional from contemporary from modern, and need a little help making sure the end product is beautiful and cohesive. True story: I was left to my own defenses in my most recent remodel and chose a green I thought would be nice for my bedroom. Once the paint was up, however, I realized that I had chosen a green that was comparable to that of a neon green highlighter. There’s no shame in asking for help!
- Am I financially able to handle any unexpected challenges during your remodel? Another true story: this year, a client asked us to widen a cased opening they had between their kitchen and living room. When we opened the wall, however, we found a big ol’ plumbing pipe sitting smack dab in the middle of where the new cased opening was to go. Back to the drawing board! I’m not saying something like this will happen during your remodel, but it’s important to have a contingency fund set aside in case it does. If you only have exactly $75,000 to spend, it’s good to make sure that a certain portion of that $75,000 is set aside for any unforeseen conditions.
A renovation of any kind (whether it be tearing apart a whole house or simply doing a surface remodel of a powder bathroom) has a lot of moving parts. For your sanity’s sake, figure out as many of the variables as possible before beginning construction!
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