Are you itching to remodel your home? Don’t start knocking down walls just yet. Before you get started on home remodeling, there are a few important planning steps you need to take.
1. Define Your Goals
What do you want to achieve with your remodel? Whether you want to modernize your home’s look, update aging components, add space or shrink your carbon footprint, your goals will determine the projects you choose.
Your remodel should also account for your future plans. If you intend to sell your house within the next few years, you’ll want projects that increase the resale value of your home. If you’re growing your family, a remodel is a good time to think about adding space.
2. Set a Budget
Before you start shopping for materials or pinning images to an inspiration board, know what you can afford to spend on home improvements. By knowing your budget in advance, you avoid setting your heart on features you can’t afford.
Time advises homeowners spend no more on one room than the value of that room as a percentage of the house. Kitchens are worth 10-15 percent of a home’s value, master bathrooms 10 percent and bathrooms 5 percent, while rooms like living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms range from 1-3 percent of a home’s total value. So if your home is worth $250,000, your kitchen remodel should cost no more than $25,000-$37,500.
Your personal financial situation also comes into play. If you can’t afford to spend $25,000 or make payments on an equivalent loan, you shouldn’t plan a $25,000 remodel. Understand your household budget and financing options before committing to a project.
3. Choose Projects
The projects you choose for the remodel should reflect your goals and budget. If you plan on selling your home, you should also factor the return on investment. Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value report provides approximate return on investment for a variety of popular remodeling projects.
If your goal is to update an aging home, replacing or repairing your roof, installing a new garage door and opener, or replacing an older water heater with a tankless version that’s more efficient and longer-lasting are good projects to consider. If you want a more eco-conscious home, consider buying energy-efficient appliances, replacing your windows, or installing an inexpensive smart thermostat. Homeowners who want to increase resale value can focus on high-impact projects including installing hardwood floors and repainting walls to a neutral color, while owners who want a new look and don’t plan to sell can redesign to their personal whims.
4. Decide What to DIY
DIY home improvements save money, but they add a lot of stress to home remodeling. DIY also means you’re on the hook for mistakes and the cost to fix them. That’s not a big deal if your project is painting the living room, but if you’re trying to rewire a room without professional help, a small mistake could have catastrophic consequences.
Never DIY any project that involves working with plumbing, gas lines, or electrical wiring. You also shouldn’t alter structural components without a professional. In general, if the potential damage to your home is greater than the money you’ll save with DIY, hire a professional to complete the job.
5. Get Contractor Bids
Once you’ve chosen projects, set a budget, and decided what you’ll hire contractors to complete, it’s time to get bids for your remodel. Get at least three bids for each project and choose the contractor that offers the best ratio of cost to value. Avoid bids that are significantly lower than others, as it could be a sign of an inexperienced or unscrupulous contractor. PBS offers additional advice for soliciting and comparing contractor bids.
A home remodel is a serious undertaking. The choices you make during the planning process affect your home’s value for years to come and small mistakes can lead to expensive problems. Plan your remodel carefully so you survive the remodeling process with your home and budget intact.
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