Feel confident you are doing the right thing — remodeling makes sense (and cents)

  • Adds curb appeal and potential value
  • Can increase a home’s energy efficiency and help reduce energy costs
  • Improves a home’s comfort, style and beauty
  • Reduces maintenance time and expense

First, enlist help

  • Consider retaining an architect or a designer to help make your vision a reality.
  • Ask for referrals for a reputable contractor.
  • Check credentials for the professionals you are considering retaining by contacting references and the Better Business Bureau. Why?
    • Home improvement fraud consistently ranks as one of the top three complaints from consumers (1).
    • Up to 95 percent of home improvement contractors can go out of business or change their name due to consumer complaints or mismanagement within three years (2).
  • Prospective contractors and other professionals should be licensed, bonded and insured; request to review documentation for your records.

Open communication is key

  • Consider setting aside a time each week to review the project’s developments and agree upon any major changes with your spouse or partner.
  • Define and agree upon a communications plan with your contractor.
    • Determine your primary point of contact.
    • Decide how best to communicate with each another throughout the project.
  • Early in the process, communicate critical details like timing, draws, the project team’s access to the home, cleanup expectations, and disposal of materials or appliances being removed during the process.

Don’t break the bank

  • Have a clear understanding of your budget and how much you can afford before starting a remodeling project.
  • Solicit bids, making sure they are sufficiently detailed so you understand what is included and what is not.
  • Once bids are received, plan on a buffer of 15-20 percent to accommodate price fluctuations and to enable you to splurge on selected items if you wish.
  • Avoid making changes once the project is underway.
  • Save where you can:
    • Buying materials yourself directly if you can purchase them locally or online for less.
    • Consider selecting alternative products that may be less costly, or display, return or discontinued models.
    • Stick with standard offerings and sizes if available.
    • Don’t sacrifice quality; it may ultimately cost you more.

Protect your valued possessions

  • Remove delicate belongings or personal items from areas where work crews will have access.
  • Protect fine furnishings and sensitive electronics from dust; cover with plastic or place in storage.
  • Ensure the safety of your most valued possessions – children, as well as pets – by never allowing them to be left unsupervised in areas where remodeling projects are underway.

Keep the rest of your life on track

  • Set up temporary arrangements within your home or make plans to stay elsewhere if bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms or laundry facilities are disrupted.
  • Provide accommodations for work crews like a portable restroom and garbage receptacles.
  • Talk to your contractor about how to keep the mess to a minimum during remodeling.

Close the loop

  • Conduct a final walk-through with the contractor to evaluate that all work has been completed to your satisfaction.
  • Secure warranties for any new products or appliances installed
  • Contact the contractor with necessary follow-up repairs that surface in the months following the project’s completion.