Upgrading your home is a significant and time-consuming activity. It requires proper preparation and planning, not to mention the right decisions from the get-go or making timely changes as you move along.
Whether it’s adding another room or revamping your kitchen and bathroom, the decisions you make even before the actual project starts are critical to the project’s success. And home improvement plans oblige homeowners to consider several elements as part of the planning stage.
Ahead, you’ll find six critical factors to take into account in ensuring you get your dream home minus the stress.
Choosing The Right Contractor(s)
This may be the most important of all the many parts that the house planning process needs. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you don’t know how to hire the right contractor. Choosing the cheapest firm that specializes in something else is also a bad idea. Although it may seem paradoxical, the service provider you choose must be certified and recognized as such.
For instance, if you need to have your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system replaced or installed, approach a heating and cooling contractor such as Elevation Mechanical. Don’t go for the roofing company you hired last month just because one of the roofers claimed to know how it’s done.
Falling into this trap can be a costly mistake. When something goes wrong with the project, or if it falls through, the firm’s insurance company may not honor the transaction, making you ineligible for any claims. As you may already know, contractors are required by state laws to protect their staff and the properties they work on getting an insurance policy.
Steps to Take in Choosing The Best Contractor
Take your time in picking the ideal contractor for your project. Ideally, make a shortlist of at least three of the best ones. Most importantly, take the following steps:
- Get referrals from friends and family members
- Research about the contractors online
- Go to the nearest government business agency for advice
- Read unbiased online reviews
- Check the company’s expertise and years of experience
- Schedule a meeting and ask questions
- Ask for their license, insurance, and other certifications
- Call the contractor’s previous clients and ask pertinent questions
- Watch out for red flags, for instance, when a company asks you for full payment
If you’re taking in several companies for multiple projects—for instance, concrete contractors for your driveway, a roofing company, and a general contractor for your kitchen overhaul make sure to appoint a team leader to supervise the entire project. Doing this avoids miscommunication and potential conflict between and among the workers.
Are you planning to do everything yourself? Consider hiring professionals to consult with. Choosing a friend or a family member to help you before initiating a project is also a good idea.
This last thing you want is not to have a proper recourse when something goes wrong. To ensure that both parties are protected, insist on putting all agreements into writing. This way, service providers are obliged to comply with the written terms—which you can then refer to when a misunderstanding occurs. Meanwhile, contractors are also protected in cases where an owner blames them for project deficiencies caused by the latter.
- What Are Your Home Improvement Goals?
Every plan starts with a vision, and before planning your home renovation, you must have clear objectives in mind. Homeowners must focus on enhancing every home project’s aesthetics and functional properties they intend to embark on.
There are several reasons why a property owner decides to upgrade their home. Among them:
- To restore the structural soundness of the property
- To fulfill the family’s growing needs
- To improve your family’s comfort and well-being
- To prepare the home for selling
Having Clear Goals Allows You to Prioritize
Identifying your remodeling goals is essential in picking the home projects to prioritize. That’s because a property revamp can be costly, as you’ll find in the following sections. Hence, before choosing the best contractor, identify which projects require immediate attention and those that don’t. For example, if your patio gets too cold during the winter, you may not need an overhaul just yet; choosing the right heater for your outdoor area can probably do the trick. Conversely, if you see water stains on your wall, it’s a telling sign that you need to have your plumbing system or roofing checked.
Having Clear Goals Take Your Vision Into Reality
Besides choosing suitable home improvement projects, setting clear goals allows you to have a clear vision of how your new home will look like once it’s finished. Not knowing what you want causes an inability to convey your desires and could result in a property that’s not in line with your vision and goals.
If you’re on the fence about how to plan out the finished project, visit showrooms, start browsing through home magazines, and check out multiple sites for home renovation ideas. Depending on your family’s needs and lifestyle, decide which look you want to go for, whether traditional, rustic, modern, to name a few theme choices.
- How Much You’re Willing To Spend
Once you know which project to prioritize, you can allocate a portion of your savings or spend your home renovation budget on it. The property improvement company, Home Advisor, revealed that a home renovation typically costs USD$46,891.
Depending on the project, an owner has to shell out anywhere from USD$18,000 to a little over USD$76,449. Bathroom, basement, and kitchen rehabs often have the highest budget requirements.
Remodeling costs are impacted by multiple factors: the scope of work, the size of the project area, cost of labor and materials, and the unforeseen problems within the renovation section, such as the presence of moisture, molds, or pests, that require additional work. When planning the budget, a good rule of thumb is to add a buffer amount, often recommended at 20%, for potential issues that owners weren’t initially expecting at the project planning stage.
Getting Few Quotes Is Imperative
To develop a more realistic allocation, consider getting quotes from at least three contractors. And don’t jump at the company that offers the lower price. Chances are, you’re going to pay for additional costs along the way. That being said, study all the statements, including the terms and inclusions. Only then can you say in confidence that you’re getting the best deal. Look at material and labor warranties; often, extended protection periods mean the company is confident with its products and work.
Look at How Much You’re Qualified to Borrow
Sometimes, a homeowner’s savings aren’t enough to fund home upgrading projects. As such, they need external financing sources to make things happen. In this case, your project priorities will come in handy. Study the quotes you’ve received and discuss with your contractor how you can reduce the costs further.
- Building Code And Other Restrictions
State-specific building codes cover residential and commercial structures. These regulations aim to ensure that all buildings are structurally sound and safe for humans and pets to reside or stay in. That’s why major home projects require you to get a permit before starting any activity.
This requirement allows governments to monitor the project. Expect the staff to drop in and evaluate whether the works align with the law. Homeowners found skipping this process, whether deliberately or inadvertently, must be prepared to pay hefty fees or take down all of the work done and start from scratch. Check with your homeowners’ association, too, for specific rules on renovation activities.
- You And Your Family’s Lifestyle
As mentioned, a homeowner must successfully create a balance between functionality and aesthetics. In some cases, the design in your head may not be possible with the available space and other specific issues you might have.
If you have pets and children, you may have to rethink getting the most modern design you’ve been eyeing for years. Consider trading materials with more durable ones that resist scratches and impacts typical in households with pets and babies. In addition, consults with an occupational therapist to remodel your home and make it friendlier to persons with disabilities if a family member has one. Or, check your bathroom for friendliness to people with mobility problems if your aging parents live with you.
Of course, it’s best to arrive at a win-win situation. But if you can’t, you and your family member’s special conditions must take precedence over the purely aesthetic look you want to achieve.
- The Time-Frame And Potential Inconvenience
Like any other type of endeavor, you need to consider the preparation process, and the time it needs to finish the project. As with the budget, expect delays due to lack of materials, setbacks in deliveries, the holidays, or the weather.
Considering these issues is vital, especially if you have kids. Depending on the work that needs to be done, you and your family may need to relocate or limit the use of certain portions of the home for several months. So, plan and see how your family can adjust to these situations better.
Any property owner who’s had a substantial renovation project will tell you that not everything will go smoothly as planned. So, prepare for some snags and bottlenecks when getting your property upgraded.
Ask a friend or family member who’s had a recent home rehab done. Ask for some tips on what to expect and prepare for them. Pipe leaks, foundation problems, wood rot, and the presence of molds and termites seem to be the most common and unexpected sources of issues that surprise most property owners. And, as these problems require additional work, the 20% supplemental budget can come in handy to fund unexpected costs.
It’s always best to be prepared, especially when it comes to home improvement projects, so keep in mind the points discussed in this article to achieve better outcomes.