Remodeling Your Home

Remodeling your home can be a rather exciting task- from changing a simple piece of art or furniture to an entire revamp. It often adds a refreshing zest to life, especially as the seasons change. New décor and rearrangement of furniture pieces can make a room look completely new, and we all love the “thrill of the hunt” when it comes to shopping for something we love that is affordable.
But if you are looking to remodel your home, just how much does it take to do this? What kind of budget do you have to set aside? What are the steps to remodeling a home? How do you contact the right contractor? We can help you with a few simple key points below.
Steps to remodeling your home:
1. Dream simple
Think of what you are trying to achieve and match your needs with the simplest possible solution for this. This type of project can quickly become something that rapidly grows into more, and it is important to match your needs with a solution that is within budget. If you have a spouse or kids, make sure they are all on the same page with the goals, and everyone is on the same level of expectation to avoid disappointment or uproar at the end.

2. Do research
Research remodeling, whether this is online or in a library, or via magazines. If you are looking to redo a bedroom, refrain from looking at bathroom dedicated research as this could also tempt you to broaden your scope of work.

3. Draw out your plan
Using graph paper, measure and draw out your room. This will help when trying to plan what needs to be rearranged, especially if you are looking to close off doors and open up wall space as windows. This is also very handy with visualizing where to place furniture and frames.

4. Talk to a contractor
Once you have a visual, measured representation of your plan, it is important to contact a contractor for an accurate costing. They will advise you on any roofing, drywall or plumbing required during remodeling. Also, be sure to be in touch with more than one contractor to ensure authenticity regarding your project – reputations, and case studies are of utmost importance.

5. Hire an architect
This depends purely on the stature of your remodeling. For just one room, this may not be worth it. However, if you are looking to remodel your entire home, an architect is most definitely required. An architect will be there to prompt you on your thinking about the project and what you’re trying to achieve. He/she may also give good insight and ideas regarding your project that you may not have thought of. Be sure to ask them for any permits you may require and make sure you tell them about your relationship with the contractor as well as what they will be doing for the duration of the project. When sitting with an architect, you should be looking for critical, unique and connected views on your project.

6. Avoid rainy seasons when scheduling work
Make sure your project is started and done before the rainy season. Alternatively, schedule work just after the rainy season. The last thing you want is to have your project paused almost every day due to the weather.

7. Inspect work daily
After the contractors have left, make sure you inspect what they have done and be sure you are happy with the progress before the next day begins. This seems tedious but will spare you time in the long run. If there is an issue, it is best to fix it at that given time and not necessarily at the end of the project when it cannot be undone.

Now that you are aware of the steps to take when remodeling your house, here are a few don’ts to be aware of during the project:

• Don’t delay your decisions
If you want your remodel to run smoothly, the best way to do this is to have every decision made before work starting. A good contractor can speak to you about a series of possible situations that may come into play while your project is running. However, these situations are not always the cause of a delay on your job. Delays can be caused due to issues related to trimming, paint or faucet selection to name a few. They may seem minor, however, if the decision change occurs in a wrong time of the project, this could cause your project to be adjusted and delayed heavily. For example, if there is a decision made that affects the plumbing section of the project, there can be a very long delay in the rest of the job where a one week schedule of work can change to a five-week schedule of work.

• Try not to change your mind too much
It is inevitable that you will change your mind about something or the other during the project – you may find inspiration from something you see in a store or on television. Small changes can be done with ease; however, it is vital to note that changes may add costs and time take to complete a project. Once changes are made it’s imperative to ensure that all parties involved in the project are aware of the change and how it affects their portion of the job. The last thing you want is disruption and delay caused by minor changes.

• Try not to purchase your materials
This may sound like a strange aspect, and we all know that material buying can be quite an exciting part of the process. However, it does not guarantee you are saving money. A contractor may put mark ups on the materials, but they receive a better rate than you would on materials. They will also buy what’s necessary only, saving you time and money.

• Don’t hesitate to keep a contingency fund
Remodeling your home will always have additional costs. There are almost no projects heard of where the estimated budget is exactly how much the job costs. So, to preempt this, it may be a good idea to keep away a contingency fund. This will allow you to have a proper budget to stick to, and in the event of needing anything additional that is vital – simply tap into your contingency fund. The general amount for a contingency fund that is reasonable and sufficient would be around 5 percent of the total project budget.

• Don’t allow kids and pets near the area
When you have builders in and around your home, it is important to try to clear as much as possible within your house. Apart from the furniture and décor, it isn’t safe for your kids and pets to be around the remodeled room. Construction material can be very dangerous, not to mention the fumes from paint, varnish, and other similar substances.

• Try not to live in your home
If you are having your entire house remodeled, when planning this it may be a good idea to stay away from the house. Build this into your budget when planning and perhaps do a short-term rental of another home or apartment for the duration of your project. This way, you will not have to worry about pets or kids being hurt, or your family inhaling fumes on a daily basis.
• Don’t forget what the house wants
This may sound rather odd, but a house has certain looks that go with their architecture. It is important to match this up well. For example, you would not go to a pool party dressed in a tuxedo – Similarly, houses need to be treated with the same respect. There are no hard and fast rules here which could make this rather tricky. However, research and get professional opinions on what will work best for your home.

So now that you have the steps and all the do’s and don’ts for remodeling your home, how do you actually budget for it? These steps will help you create a realistic budget that still covers all the aspects of the job:

1. Set up an approximate costing
The key is to know exactly what you are remodeling before getting a ballpark costing done. This will depend on how many rooms you wish to have remodeled, and the spec of remodeling will be done based on this. Usually, there are per square foot costings. It is important to contact a professional should you be unsure of how to get a rough idea of costs.

2. Set out a budget of how much you have to spend
Once you know exactly what you want to achieve in this project, and how you will achieve it, the next step is to check how much money you have for this. If you wish to pay cash, this is an easy answer. However, if you decide to borrow, you will need to assess how much the bank is willing to loan you versus how much you need, about your monthly income and expenses. Loan options include:
o A home equity loan
o A cash-out refinance
o A home equity line of credit

The most common version of borrowing money for home improvement or remodeling is a home equity line of credit. Better known as HELOC, this loan is secured by your home equity, which means that the loan then qualifies for a lower rate when compared to other loan types. What’s more? You can deduct the interest on your taxes. HELOC also works differently in that it allows you to have a check book where you can withdraw money as and when you need it, up to the maximum amount of the loan, as opposed to a lump sum of cash available to you. Remember always to remember that there is an existing minimum payment on HELOC and it is advisable to establish your very own repayment schedule. This can be done by paying 1/60 for five years or 1/120 for ten years in addition to your monthly interest. This will aid you in repayments going forward and ease up the initial process with the bank.

3. Get quotes from a few contractors
This seems obvious, but many people forget to get quotes from more than one contractor. This starts off with what you want, from the tiling to painting to furniture and faucet types. When getting quotes, it is important to know exactly what you want so that details are all specified upfront, and all contractors are basing their quote on the same scope of work. Try to get contractors that your friends, neighbors or family has used before. It is always important to try and get a contractor that you can trust. Don’t forget to ask them:
o For their recent work
o References
o Testimonials
o Do research on them
Once you have quotes from contractors, it is important to compare and check what is in line with your budget. If you do have quotes that are very high, you may want to cut back on the scope of work to fit within your budget.

4. Trim the project to align with your budget
If you are looking for the dream remodel of your home and not do not have the budget for it, there are ways of cutting back on certain elements that will still allow you to have a great remodel without breaking the bank. Get in touch with your contractor about how best to cut costs. Below are a few things to consider if you do have to cut budget:
o Low cost alternatives – here you can use a cheaper option for materials that serve the same purpose. For example, laminate to replace granite when choosing countertops.
o Keep old items – this may not seem as attractive, but some appliances and lighting fixtures could look great with your remodel.
o Decrease the size of the project – this can be done by decreasing the square meter area that needs to be remodeled.

Remodeling your home can be a very fun and wholesome project, giving your house a refreshing look in an efficient manner. Be sure to consult professional contractors and stick to your budget, and you will surely be on your way to getting a gorgeous, remodeled home.