Home remodels are often nothing like they seem on home improvement shows. They often take longer to begin, longer to construct, usually cost more, and usually cannot facilitate during the project changes. After all, an entire home remodel does not realistically fit into an hour timeframe. Relying on shows like “Fixer Upper” or “Property Brothers” is not a good indicator for the process and cost of your dream remodel. So, if HGTV shows are not good indicators of the process and cost required to do a remodel, how does one realistically start a remodel? Find steps below for how to start a home remodel…

How to START a Home Remodel

1. Decide Which Area You Want to Remodel and Why

  • First things are first, decide where you want to remodel and why. Does your kitchen lack adequate counter or storage space? Does your bathroom lack your dream bathtub? Would you like to convert your basement into a fun space for your children? Whether for design or functional reasons, decide which space you want changed and make a list of the changes you must have and those that you would like to have as this will help with designing and budgeting for your remodel.
  • Consider your potential return on investment (ROI). Before jumping into a remodel, get an idea of the ROI for your project. Minor kitchen and bathroom remodels are known to have some of the highest ROI, while adding a pool has a lower ROI. If you still really want the pool, go for it, but just realize it may not increase the value of your home as much as it cost to install; you may be eating some of the cost when it comes time to sell.
  • Consider the future function of the remodel. Will the changes you are making to your home still function well in the future? If you are remodeling your basement as a children’s play area with a rock wall, will that still be functional in 5-10 years or would some extra storage space prove more beneficial over a longer period of time?

2. Get Inspiration

  • Get some inspiration for design and materials you would like for your remodeling project. What kind of cabinets do you like (shaker, traditional, contemporary, etc.)? What kind of lighting do you like? Do you like open shelves or not? Getting inspiration from places like Pinterest, HGTV, and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) can help you obtain more accurate contractor quotes and to budget accordingly.

3. Obtain Quotes and Budget

  • Get quotes from several contractors of varying caliber. Make sure the estimates are working off of the same general proposal outline that includes all of your must-haves as far as project timeline, materials, warranty, scope and quality of work, etc. This will help ensure you can adequately compare and get an overall idea of the cost of your project.
  • Budget based on your quotes. Decide how much money you are willing to put down as a down-payment, how much you are willing to pay on monthly payments, if you can really afford all that you would like to do, etc. Include, in your budget, a 10% (of the total budget) contingency in case of emergencies to ensure that you do not go over budget. You may have seen this on remodeling shows, “oh we didn’t budget for water damage.” Or there are contractors who deliberately low ball their quote planning to make up the difference on change orders or “we didn’t budget for that.” The end result is the supposedly lower quote finishes in line with the honest contractor quote

4. Decide How to Finance Your Project

  • Once you come up with a rough budget, look into different financing options, such as, personal loans, home equity loans, credit cards, etc. Compare interest rates, fees, total cost of loan including interest, monthly payments, etc. and decide on a lending option that fits your budget and needs. Various apps and websites, such as, Hearth and LendingTree can allow you to obtain multiple quotes from different lenders without affecting your credit.

5. Choose a Reputable Contractor

  • Next, choose your contractor. Ask around to family and friends to see if they have used anyone they really like. Then, interview several local contractors, checking their references, reviews, license and liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Local contractors should know the building codes and be licensed in your area. They are also likely to perform quality work in order to maintain in good standing in your community. Once you choose a contractor, make sure to get a written contract to avoid any misunderstandings later on.

6. Adjust Your Expectations

  • Your contractor will likely not be able to start your project right away. Drafting designs and getting the appropriate permits and materials can take a couple months.
  • Your project will likely take much longer than similar projects appear on TV. A kitchen remodel that only takes 2 weeks on TV will likely take six or seven weeks in reality.
  • You won’t really have the capacity to change things mid-project. Also unlike on home improvement shows, you won’t really be able to decide to change your remodel design or features mid-project. On TV, if something comes up and you need to take something out of the design to stay on budget, the contractor allows it like it is no big deal. In reality, once materials are ordered and construction and installation begin, it is very unlikely to make changes, since the whole project is like a puzzle; once pieces are made, you can’t change a piece and expect it to fit together.
  • There will be some inconveniences. Although most contractors try to inconvenience homeowners as little as possible, there are likely to at least be minor inconveniences, such as, listening to hammering and drilling, having dust around the work area, not being able to use a portion of your house, etc. It is a good idea to have a conversation with your contractor before the start of the project about what sort of inconveniences you should expect, so that you can prepare yourself accordingly.

7. Get Ready for Your Remodel

  • Start a job file. Start a file to include all paperwork regarding your remodel project, such as, the contract, permits, receipts, warranties, manufacturer guides, and maintenance schedules.
  • Remove personal property. Move your personal items to a safe location until the project is completed to prevent damage or loss.
  • Decide on alternatives to using the space due to be remodeled. If your kitchen is being remodeled, make a plan for eating out or eating with friends or family. If you are remodeling your bathroom, schedule the use of other bathrooms in the house. Tennessee Craftsmen will help you. For example, we have set up in the kitchen a temporary sink/faucet and microwave space.

Tennessee Craftsmen

Tennessee Craftsmen in an experienced local remodeler. Tennessee Craftsmen is proud to serve homeowners in the Brentwood, Franklin, and Nashville areas by providing quality craftsmanship throughout the entire remodel process and to set a project schedule that fits your family’s activities with as little disruptions as possible. The skilled craftsmen at Tennessee Craftsmen have experience in a variety of remodeling projects (kitchens, bathroom, outside spaces, basements, garages, etc.); view our portfolio for examples of our work. Contact Tennessee Craftsmen for your FREE consultation.