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6 Things Homeowners Need to Know Before Starting a Total Home Remodel
If you’re planning to take your house down to the studs and start over from scratch for a total home remodel, you’re probably itching to get started. After all, you’ve seen it a zillion times on those DIY TV shows. It doesn’t look so hard. Just a little drywall and tile and you’ve got a dazzling new house, right? Wrong.
For one thing, those Do-It-Yourself (DIY) shows have a huge team of experts behind the scenes who make it look easy. They film over several days, weeks, or months, and all you see is just the highlights within a 30-minute show. What they don’t show you is the long hours, the inspections, and all the in between stuff. Plus, that’s their full-time jobs. You’ve probably already got a full plate as it is. How are you going to pull off a total home remodel?
Now, this is just a reality check. Don’t get too discouraged. Just know what you’re up against. If you have realistic expectations before you start your total home remodel, it’ll be much more enjoyable and you will have a plan to keep everything on track. Here is what you need to know before starting a total home remodel.
Find-out What a Home Remodel Really Costs in Your Area
Knowing the real costs of going into a home remodeling Project helps you plan your finances.
Home renovation is one of the remodeling projects that often gets most under-estimated by homeowners.
Find out what it really costs for a full home remodel in your area. Check-out the Houzz.com “Real Cost Finder” to find out actual project costs.
Full Home Remodeling Costs
Find out what it really costs for a full home remodeling project. Check-out the Houzz “Real Remodeling Costs” app to discover actual project costs in your area.
Now that you have a realistic expectation of what a full home renovation typically costs in your area, it's time to make sure you find a great general contractor.
Hire a Good General Contractor
Unless you are an experienced contractor who knows the ins and outs of everything that goes into a home, do not attempt to be your own contractor on your total home remodel project. There are just too many things—big and little—that will require the expertise of a contractor who has been through it all before. Their experience is invaluable! If you attempt to go it alone, you could miss something vital that could end up costing you in the end. Plus, that will be their job and they can devote the time to it; they will ensure that the project is moving smoothly.
Choosing a good contractor is always the first and most important step in a remodel project, because the contractor you choose will have a huge impact on the entire project. Take your time to choose a contractor who is experienced in total home remodels. If they are not, then keep looking. As for examples of total home remodels and what all was included in it.
In his book Sawdust to Satisfaction, author and experienced contractor Michael Baum gives other tips on how to find and hire a good contractor, including asking for referrals and checking with your local homebuilders’ association for reputable builders in your area. Always interview a potential candidate before hiring, and check to make sure they have proper licenses and a good BBB rating. The contractor you hire must be someone with whom you can trust fully.
Do a Walk-through with Your Contractor
Before you do any demo, walk through the entire house with your contractor. Bring a notebook and pencil and write down everything you talk about in every single room, as well as the exterior. Discuss the roof, electrical, HVAC, plumping, and any other major “behind the scenes” things that might need to be addressed. Talk about what needs to be demolished and/or changed, such as knocking out walls. Discuss overall design of the finished product.
At this point, tour contractor can use this information to work on an estimate as to how much these particular changes will cost. Make sure to cover every little detail, including adding recessed lights, updating the electrical outlets, adding insulation, paint, trim, etc.
Get a Written Estimate and Contract from Your Contractor
It may take a while, but be sure to get a written estimate from your contractor of the entire project. It must be in writing, and it must have line items of what the project will include. If something is missing from the estimate, ask your contractor to add it.
Lay-out Payment Upfront
Many people make the mistake of giving a contractor a huge payment up front. That’s a big no-no. But a contractor does need some working capital to purchase items and pay laborers. So set up a payment system. The best solution is typically a benchmark or milestone system of payment; for example, when this is done, you pay them a set amount. Have it in writing for both of you before starting.
Get all of the Right Permits
Don’t ever do a home remodel without the proper permits. You or your contractor will need to call your city building code/inspection office to see what permits you need, and at what point during construction you’ll need an inspection. Discuss it with your contractor to make sure it gets done.
With all of that in place, you should be ready to start demolition. Expect a few hiccups along the way—a total remodel job never happens without them—but if you’ve planned ahead and are ready for them, you and your contractor can work through them just fine. Read about Michael Baum here.
Call Michael Baum now at (562) 424-2286
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Home Remodeling FAQ
Q: What is the average cost of a home remodeling project?
A: The average cost of a home remodeling project varies greatly depending on the scope and materials used. Smaller projects may cost a few thousand dollars, while extensive renovations can reach six or seven figures.
Q: How long does a typical home remodeling project take to complete?
A: A typical home remodeling project can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete, depending on the size and complexity of the project, as well as factors like permitting and contractor availability.
Q: Do I need to obtain permits for my home remodeling project?
A: Yes, you generally need to obtain permits for most home remodeling projects, especially those involving structural, electrical, or plumbing work. Check with your local building department for specific requirements.
Q: How do I choose the right contractor for my project?
A: To choose the right contractor, research local options, read reviews, ask for recommendations, and interview multiple candidates. Verify their licensing, insurance, and experience, and obtain written estimates before making a decision. Here's a helpful guide to help you choose the right general contractor every time.
Q: What are the best ways to finance a home remodeling project?
A: Some popular ways to finance a home remodeling project include home equity loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), personal loans, credit cards, or financing through your contractor.
Q: How can I ensure that my remodel increases the value of my home?
A: To ensure your remodel increases your home's value, focus on projects with a high return on investment (ROI), like kitchen and bathroom upgrades or adding more living space. Consult with a local real estate agent to understand your market's preferences.
Q: What are the most popular and effective home remodeling projects to consider?
A: Popular and effective home remodeling projects include kitchen and bathroom renovations, adding or converting rooms (e.g., an attic or basement), replacing windows and doors, and improving curb appeal with exterior upgrades.
Q: How can I create a realistic budget and timeline for my remodeling project?
A: To create a realistic budget and timeline, average research costs for similar projects, account for unexpected expenses and add a buffer for unforeseen delays. Consult with a contractor or design professional to help you plan accurately.
Q: What steps should I take to prepare my home and family for the remodeling process?
A: To prepare your home and family for remodeling, declutter and clear the work area, set up temporary living arrangements if needed, establish clear communication with your contractor, and discuss safety precautions with your family members.
Q: How can I make my home remodeling project more eco-friendly and energy-efficient?
A: To make your remodeling project eco-friendly and energy-efficient, choose sustainable materials, install energy-efficient appliances and fixtures, improve insulation and sealing, and incorporate renewable energy sources like solar panels.