Emotion is what spurs us to act, and frequently it’s what pushes us headfirst into a home remodeling project. We’re in love with our neighbor’s new kitchen, we’re exasperated from sharing a bathroom with the kids, or we’re so excited about hosting our first family holiday.
There’s no doubt about it—home improvement projects can be immensely gratifying (once they’re completed), but tempering head with heart from the start can enhance the process all the way through.
Here is a list of three key things you should do before calling a contractor:
1. Know your "why?"
Why are you remodeling? There are plenty of good reasons: The room is out-of-date, the room isn’t functional for your family’s needs, you’re making an investment for future resale. Keep the reason(s) for remodeling front and center throughout the process. You don’t want to get to the end of your project and realize the final product doesn’t solve your original need.
2. Survey the landscape
It’s time to do some reconnaissance. There are thousands of design websites and magazines that can give you information about features you like and don’t like, as well as what skills and expertise are needed to attain the result you want from your remodel. Check out homes of friends and neighbors. Visit local home shows and retail showrooms. Research what the costs of materials and labor are, as well as how much time similar projects have taken to complete. Create a list of must-haves for your remodeled space and a list of would-be-nice-to-haves.
3. Set a budget
Crunch the numbers. Look at your wish list and see if the dollars you have to spend will be appropriate for the work that needs to be done. Account for the unexpected by giving yourself a cushion of 15 to 20 percent on top of whatever you think the project will cost. Once you have a rough price tag figured out, consider the best way to move forward with paying for it. Do you have the cash on-hand? Do you need to investigate financing options? Can you afford to do the entire project now? Should you consider breaking up your remodeling project into smaller projects?
If you’ve made it through these first three steps and are still gung-ho to move forward, then it's time to start making calls. You now have the information you need to evaluate contractors and choose the one who will help you reach your remodeling goals and your list of must-haves within your budget.
Ask family, friends, and co-workers for contractor recommendations. Do some leg-work with the Better Business Bureau and a local home builders association to find out how long the contractor has been in business and if they have any complaints against them. Confirm that your contractor has the proper insurance and is licensed in your area. Make sure they provide you with an in-depth plan timeline and budget for completing your project and always get everything in writing.
If you are ready to move forward with your project, our team at Kitchen & Bath Center can organize every step of your kitchen and bath remodeling project, from helping you design a layout and choose the perfect finishes to hiring and scheduling your plumbers, electricians, contractors and more.