15 Tips for Planning a Successful Home Remodel
Planning for any kind of remodel project can bring on a mix of feelings. From excitement or fear, to a sense of being overwhelmed with all of the little details that go in to planning and designing a beautiful kitchen or luxury bathroom. You may be tempted to skip to the exciting stages like shopping for plumbing fixtures or selecting your new paint color, however you'd be missing out on some important key steps in the process. A full scale remodel or minor makeover of your space doesn't have to be stressful though. With the help of an experienced remodel contractor and the following tips that we've compiled, your home remodeling project will run smoothly and stay on track.
#1 Identify Your Goal for the Project
Why do you want to remodel? Are you upgrading to improve the resale value or making modifications to live and age in place? Knowing your end goal for your project is vital. If your focus is around resale value, then you'll want to consider the other home values in the neighborhood and know which projects will provide a good return on investment. For the latter, you're likely to be more focused around such things as durability for the years ahead, safety-conscious modifications, and designing around your needs now, as well as the future.
#2 Establish a Comfortable Budget
Establishing your budget is one of the most important steps in planning your home remodel. There are two parts of budget planning that you'll want to carefully think about.
- Project Budgeting – This is the total cost that you are comfortable spending on your renovation. This number should include contingency funds for unexpected issues that arise. For example, having $75,000 to spend on your Phoenix remodel, while knowing that you could come up with an extra $5,000 should it be absolutely needed. Unexpected issues are items that are unforeseen during the design and planning phase and are not revealed until the demolition and build are underway. Faulty wiring or the presence of mold is commonly unforeseeable that is not known about until the walls in your home are opened up.
- Incidental Cost Budgeting – These expenses are commonly not thought about when it comes to remodeling, but can add up in a big way if not careful. Being mindful of the ramifications of doing your home remodel like having to eat out while your kitchen is torn apart or for a hotel stay for a night or two during construction.
#3 Check Your Calendar
Do you have a particular holiday, special event or time that company is coming into town that you are hoping to have your Arizona home improvement project completed by? Check your calendar and work backward planning for ample time for all aspects of your project from the planning period, to the design and selections phase, and then for the build-out. It's recommended to pencil in a few weeks of wiggle room at the end of your project in case there are any last minute punch items that need to be addressed or delays in the schedule along the way.
Running short on time? Talk to your remodel contractor about phasing out your project. Instead of tackling the entire house at once under a tight schedule, think about the possibility of doing one of the bathrooms or specific areas as phase two of your project. For homeowners that choose to continue living in the home during construction, it is important to always have a bedroom and a bathroom intact. In this instance, after phase one is complete the homeowner can then switch bedrooms and utilize another bathroom in the home for phase two to begin.
#4 Do Your Research
Take your time in the planning phase to do your due diligence. Talk with friends and family about their experiences with remodeling, the challenges that they had, and most importantly the contractors that they've used. Research top-rated contractors in your area. Having your home remodeled is an intense time period that involves having workers in your personal space, walking through your home, and possibly disrupting your normal daily routine. Hearing from other homeowners who have lived through the process and how they coped can prove to be very insightful.
While you are doing your research (see above), be sure to pay special attention to testimonials and contractor reviews. Nowadays there are plenty of ways that you can see real customer reviews. Such websites as Yelp, Angie's List, Better Business Bureau, and many other 3rd party sites can provide insight as to what it's like working with a specific remodel contractor, how they treat their customers, the quality of the craftsmanship, and how issues that arise are dealt with. Any project is sure to have hiccups along the way, but it is how the contractor handles those instances and makes the necessary corrections.
Ultimately you'll want to choose an experienced home remodeling contractor for your project that you can trust and are comfortable with.
#6 Know the Limit of What You Can Handle
While many Phoenix homeowners think they can self-perform part of their home remodel, it is important to know your limitations and the pros/cons to your DIY. While doing some of the work yourself may give you a sense of accomplishment, more often than not it comes at a cost. A professional remodeling contractor has been doing kitchen and bathroom remodeling for years and likely has the processes down to a science in order to operate efficiently. By performing tasks yourself, you are essentially disrupting their lined out construction schedule, which can cause delays and result in fewer savings than it's really worth. Know which tasks should be left to the pros from a cost and schedule standpoint. Lastly, it may not be worth self-performing tasks that could cause limitations to your contractor's warranty or workmanship guarantee.
#7 Think Through Your Daily Routine
Consider how the remodel will affect your routine. Be clear about your daily schedule with your contractor to avoid any mishaps or delays. It is essential during the planning phase of your project that you discuss the contractor's start and end times each day. This will avoid the crew showing up while you're still in your pajamas or their work day running into other appointments that you may not be able to miss.
Will you be away from your home during the construction phase? Now is a great time to discuss that schedule with your contractor and determine how they will have access to complete their work each day. Many Phoenix homeowners set up a unique garage code for access, utilize a lockbox for storing a house key that only the contractor has the code for, or having a friend or neighbor at the home to unlock and lock up each day.
#8 Keeping Your Kids Safe
The remodel process will involve dust, debris, sharp tools, as well as new people in your home working. It is recommended that you block off the construction zone to prevent small children from accessing the work area. Curious little ones can stumble upon a dangerous situation if precautions are not taken. Talk to older children about these dangers as well. Installing child safety gates and electrical safety covers is a great place to start in your efforts to keep everyone safe.
#9 Pets and Construction
While remodeling can be stressful for your family, don't forget about your pets. Your furry friends can be even more prone to stress over the chaos and all of the moving parts of a home renovation. If your pet tends to get stressed easily, you may want to consider having them stay with a family member, at a pet daycare or on the opposite side of the home away from the action. Be sure to let your remodel contractor know about your pets before any work begins as well. This will help ensure crew members are mindful of doors being open when carrying materials in and out.
#10 Water and Electricity Outages
Depending on the scope of work for your project, there could be times where your contractor will need to shut the water off from the main valve or turn off an electrical breaker while work is being done. Most commonly these are only temporary outages but are still something to be aware of for those families that are home during the day. Planning ahead by having bottled water on hand for drinking and cooking, and a contingency plan for bathroom emergencies can take the stress out of any possible situation.
#11 Set Up a Make-shift Kitchen
Most Phoenix Arizona homes have two bathrooms, so while it may be a slight inconvenience having one torn apart under construction, it is not a huge tribulation to live through. Kitchen remodels are a different story though. Before starting your kitchen remodeling project, we recommend setting up a make-shift kitchen in another room of the house. Incorporate small appliances such as a microwave, coffee maker, and beverage cooler or ice chest to provide a functional way to make food and drinks while your kitchen is out of order. Another great idea is to plan meals that you can cook on the grill outside.
#12 It's Time to Pack
In an effort to keep your items protected and clean during the renovation process, it's recommended that you pack up and move any items from the construction zone. Consider using an extra bedroom, storage pod, or off-site storage room to store your stuff. This will also provide a safe work area for the contractor's crew to get to work.
#13 Create Drawings & Keep Them Handy
You may not be required to have a full set of blueprints drawn for obtaining a permit depending on the details of your remodel project, but it's worthy to mention the importance of working with a reputable contractor that has an on-staff design team that will still create drawings and/or renderings of your project with dimensions. It is recommended that they remain near the work area or posted on the wall in the room where they can easily be seen. Not only does this provide a reference if any questions arise, but it also goes a long way in helping to make sure you and your contractor are on the same page with the goal for your space.
#14 Check the Weather Forecast
If your home improvement project list includes tasks that need to be done outdoors such as exterior repairs, painting, cutting tile or wood, etc then be sure to check the weather forecasts before starting your job. Is rain in the forecast? Talk to your contractor about rescheduling the exterior work around the weather. Workers going in and out of your home may track in rain or mud on stormy days, so it's important that you work with your assigned Project Manager to establish a dedicated pathway from the door to the work area to be used and that they will have protected from the weathering elements. Plastic wrap and cardboard panels are the most common materials used for this.
#15 Give Your Neighbors a Call
Often times your home improvement projects can have an impact on your surrounding neighbors. Give your neighbors a heads up regarding such things as:
- Hours that (noisy) construction will be taking place
- Work vehicles being parked on the street
- Random deliveries of materials being made throughout the day
- A dumpster possibly being placed in your driveway or on the street in from of your home for construction debris. It is important to note that larger dumpsters placed in the street can cause blind spots for neighboring cars pulling out of their driveways on either side of the home.
- Porta john that would be placed in the front yard of the home
For many homeowners, this may be your very first home renovation project. Hopefully, these tips can minimize that overwhelming fear of the unknown and have you ready to get your project underway confidently. A well-done quality remodeling project takes time to complete, but utilizing these guidelines from day one of your planning will help you be better prepared and ensure that your project is a success.
As a homeowner, it can be difficult to balance between trying to stay on time, on budget, and on top of the thousands of details and moving parts that are involved in doing a luxury remodel. It's a full-time job! That's why you'll want to hire the professionals for your upcoming remodeling needs.
Phoenix Arizona homeowners looking to remodel are likely to hear about the team at TWD in their research or have used them for other home improvement projects and repairs. Since 1996, their team has been a leading contractor in the valley performing such repair services as drywall, stucco, and painting, in addition to their full home remodeling design-build services. Over the years they have built quite a reputation for their award-winning customer service and impressive portfolio. If you are ready to start planning your next project, then you'll want to reach out to their on-staff design team or stop into their brand new Phoenix design showroom to begin exploring ideas for your home. Visit their website at www.twdaz.com for their business hours and to request your appointment today.