7 Steps to Prepare for a Home Remodel

A homeowner’s motivation for taking on a remodeling project can vary greatly, but there’s one universal rule of thumb: home upgrades should add value, function or both. This step-by-step guide can help ensure you get the maximum return on your investment and make the most of your remodel.

Step 1: Identify Reasons for Remodeling

Deciding whether to undertake simple aesthetic changes or a full remodel can be difficult. One of the best ways to decide is to figure out why you are remodeling in the first place, whether it’s to make your new house feel more like home or to update an outdated kitchen.

Step 2: Consider Timing

Many variables can impact the timing of your project, including the climate and exact nature of the job. For example, foundation work is easier when the ground is cold during winter. Spring tends to be busy for the construction industry, so you might pay premium rates for labor and materials, but it’s also the perfect time to get a project done that you can enjoy throughout the summer. Summer months are ideal for indoor projects out of the heat. Also consider factors such as personal or professional obligations, or even an event for which you need the project completed.

Step 3: Set Your Budget

Every home is unique in structure, age, quality and craftsmanship, which all impact the price of a remodel. Since no one can see through walls before demolition, the quote you receive may not be 100 percent accurate. However, a qualified remodeling company will be forthcoming about potential challenges. Account for these adjustments by planning for a 10 percent cushion, just in case.

Step 4: Hire the Right Team

Choosing the right professional is an important decision for your project's success. To help ensure you find the right company for the job, do your research. Referrals from friends and family are one way to find a remodeler. Visit ALASKA HOME’s Resource Directory for a list of high-quality pros. For a little extra peace of mind, consider hiring a member of your local home builders association or kitchen and bath association. Members of these associations have a great advantage over nonmembers – and that's a plus for consumers. One of the greatest benefits to consumers? It's the educational edge these builders, designers and remodelers gain from their membership. (See below for resources.)

Step 5: Establish a Written Agreement

Most companies insist on a contract to protect their own interests, but if they don’t, you should. In addition to defining the scope of work and budget, a contract ensures all parties are on the same page with expectations about factors like timing, liability in the event of an accident and other practical matters. Contractors also often provide guarantees of workmanship, so find out what they cover for how long and include this information in your work agreement.

Step 6: Understand the Plan

Keep the lines of communication open between you, the remodeling contractor and the work crew. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Let them know your family’s schedule and circumstances that may affect their work, such as pets. Make sure to specify the best way to reach you and how often you wish to communicate about your project.

Step 7: Complete the Project

When the remodel is almost finished, walk through the area and note any adjustments that need made while the contractor is still on site. You should also take another look at the contract and confirm you have signed permits, receipts, change orders, lien waivers, warranties and manufacturers’ guides at your disposal.

Source: National Association of the Remodeling Industry, nari.org

LOCAL RESOURCES

Hiring a builder or remodeler?

Visit your local home builders association website to search for a member in your area.

These associations produce shows and events that greatly benefit consumers, including annual home shows, preview of homes, and parade of homes. All contractor members are licensed by the state of Alaska. Members gain continuing education through meetings and classes, as well as certifications for various specialties within the home building and remodeling industries. The associations are politically active in lobbying at a local and national level in building and construction industry related issues.

Hiring a professional to remodel your kitchen or bathroom?
Visit the Alaska Chapter of the National Kitchen & Bath Association at nkbaalaska.org to search for a member in your area. NKBA certification means that a designer has a certain amount of experience in the kitchen and bath industries and is also required to know kitchen and bath trends, clearances, codes, best practices, and has passed a rigorous national exam. All certified professionals must keep up with changes in the industry through continuing education programs, such as those offered at the annual Kitchen/Bath Industry Show & Conference.