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Homework Before Starting a Remodel

Remodeling is a time for renewal and clarity. But, it can be also be scary - especially if you haven't done your homework. As with everything in life, being prepared makes things go more smoothly.

I always caution my clients that whatever they expect in a remodel, expect it to be worse, cost more and take more time.

For the record, I'm not against remodeling. On the contrary, I'm for it. But I'm also realistic, having worked through enough remodels to know that the unexpected does happen. You will also learn that there are plenty of "might as wells� too. As long as you have everything ripped up, why not do one more thing? These can add up!

Make sure you work with people who can handle these situations, along with the everyday occurrences. When the unexpected happens, it can be frustrating and overwhelming. Keep your cool and focus on finding the answers through good communication.

Good contractors know to look out for the unusual and unexpected. You can't know what decisions were made when the house was being built - so surprises can happen when you break through a wall or move plumbing. It's these types of things that can cost more, delay the project or force you to change your plans.

Here are some guidelines as you plan your remodel:

  • Interview several contractors and make sure you are comfortable with your choice. It's important to trust your contractor. You will be living with this person for several months. (It isn't always the cost of things, but the value you get.)
  • Remember that your needs come first and should be considered with every decision. You are the one who will live with the results. Don't settle or give up out of frustration.
  • Make sure the lines of communication are open among all the people who are working on your project. You must be able to be honest, be heard, and understood.
  • Make all your decisions and plans before starting the project so that most of the costs are known. They will probably change as you go along, but you must have a starting point so you can understand why things have changed in cost, time and design.
  • Have all your purchases delivered and waiting for you. If cabinetry is being built, make sure it's ready before you begin tearing things out to minimize the down time.
  • As a designer, I love the unexpected. I believe when a situation occurs that appears to be a problem, it is really an opportunity for creative thinking.

    You, too, can be your own designer and challenge your possibility thinking. If you have doubts and concerns, consult with a designer. You may just need an hour or two to keep your confidence and learn about products and ideas to complete your project.

    Watch the progress to see if your decisions were right. You are creating something that did not exist, and many times you don't have formal floor plans. If during construction you see that you've made a mistake, don't stress. Mistakes happen. Now you have the opportunity to correct the issue.

    Certainly you must consider time and expense when making corrections. Weigh and measure the result and then decide how much of a correction you want to make.

    A completed remodel that you love living in can be one of the greatest joys and accomplishments.

    Always remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU DO!

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