If you’re like most homeowners, you’ve probably been dreaming of your home improvement project for months, and now it’s finally time to get started on turning your dreams into reality. Admittedly, the idea of having a new and improved home is enticing. However, the process of completing the actual project can present a number of unexpected challenges that range from budgetary concerns to contractor conflicts and from schedule delays to unmet expectations. All of these issues can dampen your excitement at the thought of a home improvement project. But don’t worry! There are ways to make sure your home improvement project goes smoothly! Here are five suggestions to remember.
Get a Good Contractor
Many homeowners try to save money on their home improvement projects by completing a large portion of the labor themselves. In many cases, this is a great way to create your dream home while on a tight budget. However, if you’re not a licensed professional contractor, it’s a good idea to know your limits and hire a good contractor if you’re not 100% confident you can complete your project safely and with the quality you desire.
A good contractor can make all the difference in your home improvement project. A reliable professional will have the skills, experience, and tools to be able to give you the best product possible. Many homeowners find contractors online. This is a good option because most contractor websites will have published reviews of previous customers’ experiences. Researching these reviews can help you find the contractor you need. Don’t just hire the first contractor you see; instead, interview several different contractors. Ask for a quote from each of them.
Choose a licensed contractor who communicates well with you, who understands your vision, and who is committed to delivering a quality product for a fair price. When hiring a contractor, you should keep in mind that you’ll get what you pay for. While hiring an experienced contractor might be more expensive, it’s a safe bet you’ll get a better product.
You can avoid most home improvement disasters through clear communication with your contractor. Set clear expectations about what you want the final product to be like, and make sure your contractor understands and agrees with those requirements.
Some companies offer 3-D renderings. If you are building a deck, for example, a 3-D rendering of your deck helps you see what you are getting. These 3-D renderings can be invaluable tools in making sure everyone is on the same page.
Another important aspect of communication is building a good relationship with your contractor. While remaining firm on your own priorities and expectations, try to be humble and accept suggestions that your contractor might offer. Their professional opinion will often be based on years of experience, so validating that opinion can go a long way for your communication.
Stick to Your Budget
Budgetary issues are a common downfall of many home improvement projects. It’s important to be realistic about planning your project’s budget. Try to account for as many details as possible early in your budgeting process so that you aren’t caught by surprise in the middle of construction.
Another way you can make sure to stick to your budget is by listing your priorities and accomplishing those items first before moving on to lower priority items. This way, the most important parts of your project will be completed even if you run out of money due to unforeseen circumstances.
After you’ve planned out your budget, share it with your contractors and make sure they’ll be able to work within it. Ask them about their change-order process so you know how to handle any budgetary changes if they arise. It’s a good idea to plan some buffer space in your budget just in case your project becomes more expensive than you originally planned—adding 20% is a good rule of thumb.
Make a Detailed Plan
Set yourself up for success by putting in the necessary prep work before you actually start your home improvement project. Specifically, make a detailed plan. Start by brainstorming, sketching out your ideas, and imagine your dreams. Let your ideas ruminate as you get inspiration from the experiences of other homeowners. Put together a timeline and a budget for your project. Give yourself plenty of time to change your mind early in the process. Thinking through your many ideas ahead of time will save you money in the long run by helping you avoid expensive change orders.
In addition to planning out the actual project, you should plan how the construction process will affect your daily lifestyle, as well your family’s. Will you need to pack up and stay somewhere else for a few weeks or months? How will you need to change your daily routines in order to facilitate the construction that will be happening in your home?
Taking these factors into consideration as you plan will ensure that you lay the best foundation for your project, ultimately giving you the best result possible.
Hire an Owner’s Representative
Coordinating with contractors and conducting quality control can be difficult, especially during a time-sensitive home remodel. Hiring an owner’s representative can be extremely helpful in cases such as these. An owner’s representative will give you advice, ensure your needs are met, and help the project stay on time and on budget. They will advocate for you, provide technical support and knowledge, and manage any conflicts that arise with your contractors. Owner’s representatives are especially helpful on larger remodel jobs when keeping track of everything feels like a full-time job.
Additionally, hiring a third-party inspector can help you ensure quality control throughout the remodeling process. If you are unfamiliar with the construction world, their advice can provide the guidance you need to feel comfortable and confident in your project.
Your home improvement project will have much higher chances of success if you choose a good contractor, communicate clearly, stick to your budget, make a detailed plan, and hire an owner’s representative. Following these five simple suggestions will help you protect yourself and your home so that you can ultimately enjoy your new and improved home for many years to come.
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