By Elma Gardner
Remodeling an existing home can prove challenging but with some foresight, common sense and the following tips you can eliminate most of the potential problems before you start the project.
Tip 1. Proper planning.
Use a design professional to plan your project. Make sure they are qualified. Doing a kitchen remodel? Look for a NKBA certified kitchen designer. It is a good idea to ask for references, see past projects and/or a portfolio and discuss budget concerns.
Tip 2. Consider all options.
While you may think you have the perfect solution for your design problem, remember that a design professional comes into your home with completely fresh eyes and may see possibilities that have never occurred to you.
Tip 3. Do consider resale value.
While your intention may be to stay in your home for many years it is still wise to keep resale in mind when planning your project. Use your design professional’s experience in tailoring current trends to timeless design so that you can recoup your investment down the line.
Tip 4. Avoid over remodeling for your neighborhood.
No matter what your budget is there is only so much that you can recoup if you decide to sell. Check the real estate market to see what homes in your area are worth. Consult with your designer to create a project that will keep your investment in your home in line with others in your neighborhood.
Tip 5. Pick the best products for your budget.
Protect your asset. Do not use low quality products in your project. Even though there is a wide variety of design techniques and products available in today’s market place you don’t want to cut corners to save a few dollars and put quality at risk especially if you plan to stay in your home.
Tip 6. Don’t over extend yourself on a do-it-yourself project.
The best plans will only be as good as the execution. Be very clear about your ability to take on a do-it-yourself project and the time commitment needed for its successful completion. Remember if you get into trouble it may be hard to find a qualified contractor to take on a partially completed project.
Tip 7. Hire the correct contractor.
Deciding who to hire for your remodeling project is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. Look to your design professional for a list of qualified contractors that work in your area. Make sure that they are licensed, bonded and insured and consider using a professional that is a member of a trade association such as the Greater Sacramento Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).
Tip 8. Manage your budget.
Work with your designer to create the project within your budget and then, as team with your contractor, work to keep the project within those guidelines. You don’t want to come up short at the end of the project. Do not get distracted by input from friends and family, who have not been involved in the design process, along the way.
Tip 9. Avoid the domino effect.
It is easy to fall prey to the domino effect. When one room has been remodeled, such as your kitchen, it makes the adjoining spaces cry out for renovation. Fine if your budget allows it, otherwise plan carefully with your design professional to prepare a master plan that can be completed it phases that do not over extend the budget.
Tip 10. Be realistic.
Timing is critical when executing a home improvement project. Make sure that lead times for ordering critical items such as windows, special order tile, appliances and cabinets are considered. There is nothing more frustrating than having a demolished kitchen and a six week wait for cabinets! Don’t expect a kitchen remodel to be completed in two weeks but do get a firm time estimate as well as an approximate completion date from your contractor before signing on the dotted line!
Tip 11. Know your rights.
Before you sign any contract, be sure you know what is involved. A contract should include a comprehensive description of your project, a line item list of costs for labor and the materials that were listed on your plans, a timetable and a schedule of payments as well as a list of responsibilities undertaken by the contractor.
Tip 12. Remember your designer is your advocate.
Make sure that you call on your designer during the construction phase of the project to clarify details and problem solve any on site issues that affect your project during the installation phase.
For award winning design and personalized professional service contact Elma Gardner, CMKBD, CID, By Design, 331 D Street, Davis. For more information, visit www.bydesign-studio.com or visit the showroom.