Surviving the Remodeling Process

Surviving the Remodeling Process

For many, the word ‘Remodeling’ evokes thoughts of magazine-cover kitchens, soaring entryways, and half-acre bathrooms. Though, it also brings to mind a sense of chaos, invasion, and dread. As our homes age, it makes more sense to bring things up-to-date by remodeling the house. It is quite cost-effective than moving and usually is far less disruptive. But for a fact, remodeling can be really stressful. The five key steps to smooth remodeling are:

  1. Collect ideas upfront
  2. Don’t skimp on design
  3. Carefully select a contractor
  4. Use a clear and complete contract
  5. Establish regular communication channels

Collect Ideas Up Front

The first step in remodeling a project is to start collecting various ideas. For several people, this step is pure pleasure—read out articles in the home section of your newspaper, review houses, or remodeling-oriented magazines and books. There are many magazines and books available at hardware stores, grocery stores, and your local library. Visit various websites like HomeAdvisor’s DesignMine and create online photo albums of ideas. Save or photocopy ideas of products or designs that interest you. You can also visit various showrooms to gather ideas.

At the start, do not rule out things that seem expensive or complicated. That can come later. What you want to do is gather as many interesting ideas as you can. It would be way better if your spouse, family members, or friends do the same. As a matter of fact, getting other house members into the act at this stage can help develop their enthusiasm for the project as a whole. Their cooperation can come in quite handy during the problematic construction phase.

Do Not Skimp On Design

Many people feel that once you decide on ideas, priorities, and scope, it is time to bring in a design professional. Many people need help making decisions about prospects and deciding what is feasible in terms of the existing structure and the overall budget. A design expert can help make sure that the end product is attractive and meets all the objectives for which it is built. As a thumb rule, the larger the project, the more important it is to have design help.

Now, there are quite more options than ever when it comes to design. In the past, people decided on getting an architect for the entire project or winging it on their own. Now there are architect experts who will provide you with hourly help, and there is a new option called a design/build company. Each approach has its pros and cons.

The conventional approach involves hiring an architect to help you sift through your plans and help you convert your needs into a complete plan for modifications. The pros of this approach are that the architect provides a comprehensive service and is highly trained in the area of design. The most skilled architects can also help you work with your contractor.

Carefully Select a Contractor

Choosing a contractor is, by far, the most crucial step in a successful remodeling project. Everyone knows this, yet many do not understand the process or do not take the time to do it right. People have been known to select a contractor based on the size of the companies, yellow pages ads, or sometimes the owner’s last name.

To properly screen a contractor, you must document insurance and licensing, assure that the company has good records with area consumer agencies, and interview some recent customer references about quality, price, promptness, and other factors. Do not skimp on this process!

Use a Clear and Complete Contract

A super contract with an unreliable company is almost useless. Some people think that a watertight contract with a bargain-basement firm will ensure ultimate satisfaction. It does not always! On the other hand, a clearly complete contract plays a significant part in the relationship you establish with a reliable company. The more particular details about the project that is in the contract, the better, simply because written contractors are far less susceptible to misunderstandings.

Establish Regular Communication Channels

Because you have completed your homework, it is very unlikely that you will have problems with ethics or workmanship with your contractor, but do not assume for a second that this makes you immune to problems with the project. This is because it is an absolute certainty that problems will occur, even if they are minor (or major problems in other cases). Knowing this in advance, it is necessary to set up arrangements for regular communication with your contractor.

Make proper arrangements to meet with someone in charge of the project at least once a day. This could be the first thing in the morning, at lunchtime, at the end of the day, or at any other suitable time. It must be with the same person every day, and it should take place at the project site. Make it a regular part of your daily routine during the remodeling process.

Remember, it is a great idea to take a couple of breaks during the remodeling project. Leave the house and visit friends or go visit nature for a few days to get recharged. Staying at a nearby hotel for a weekend package for two is a fabulous way to relax and refresh your mind.