Step 1. Create a Detailed Remodeling Project Plan
As a first step, it’s always a great idea to get a plan in place as early as possible that clarifies the most important goals that you have for your renovation project.
This plan should include design inspirations along with a detailed outline of the work required to make your remodeling vision a reality.
A project plan may also include:
- Blueprints or sketches of your finished project.
- A list of the most important needs and desires for your project.
- A detailed list of project steps, categorized by DIY vs. steps that will require professional help.
Once you have a clear vision of your dream remodeling project, it is very important to begin looking at local zoning regulations that may affect your ability to do the project, as well as any permits that may be required along the way. It is always a great idea to verify your neighborhood zoning requirements. For example, some areas may not allow specific types of remodeling or renovation projects like garage conversions or detached garage construction.
If you are planning a project that will change the structure of your property, you will most likely need a permit to do it legally. You don’t need to apply for permits at this point, you can wait until you’ve hired a contractor and built a detailed project timeline.
Step 2. Set Your Project Budget
A very important next step in planning your remodeling project is to set your budget. At this point, it’s also important to determine how you will pay for the project. If you need financing, you will definitely want to start considering your options for lenders and whether you will do a home equity loan.
Your budget should take into consideration the cost of building materials and labor, along with permitting costs that cannot be avoided. Additionally, you will want to consider the cost of finishes and anything else that you will want to make the final project exactly what you are dreaming.
Building your budget:
Determine how much you are able to spend on your project and finalize your financing requirements for loan approval. It’s a great idea in any construction project to set aside at least an additional10% of your final budget for unexpected costs. These unexpected costs could result from fluctuations in materials costs, delays due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, or any changes that you may personally want to make along the way.
After speaking with professionals to get cost estimates for your project, you will want to compare the estimates to your available budget to determine if you will be able to complete the project as desired. If not, you may want to revise your project plan to eliminate lower priority details that may lower the cost estimates to meet your budget.
It’s always a great idea to request cost estimates from multiple contractors to find the best option for your budget. However, it’s never a good idea to hire a contractor solely based on price. You will want to consider a number of factors prior to making such an important decision. See step 3!
Timeline: 3 to 6 months pre-construction
Step 3. Hire A Contractor
At this point, you will want to hire your contractor of choice. As mentioned above, never choose your contractors based on cost estimates alone.
There are many other things to consider when hiring a contractor, including;
Experience – It’s a good sign when a contractor has been in business for a number of years. This demonstrates that they know the business and treat their customers right or they wouldn’t be in business otherwise.
Licensing – You will always want to verify that your contractor is licensed with the state to do the work that you’re hiring them for.
Certificate of Insurance – Legitimate remodeling contractors will have active workers’ compensation and liability insurance policies covering them for the type of work they do.
Customer References – Request references and call them to make sure your contractor has trust with prior customers.
Payment Terms – Any reputable contractor will have payment terms and will not require you to pay the full price upfront. You will want to have a very clear understanding of when payment is expected and paying a bit extra for a contractor that you are comfortable working with is money well spent in the long run.
If you are hiring multiple contractors for a job, make sure you clarify which one is in charge before the project begins. This understanding will help to avoid confusion later that can end up costing a lot of money in some situations.
Timeline: 2 to 3 months pre-construction
After getting your budget and remodeling contractor in place, you can use that information to create your project timeline.
You will want to work with your contractor to determine a construction start date that works best for their crews and delivery of materials depending on the project requirements. Your start date may also be impacted by the target project completion date. You and your contractor will want to consider each phase or step in the construction process and the time requirements for each.
Also important to your project timeline are construction site preparation, shipping and delivery of materials to the site, and holidays, projected weather delays, or any other circumstances that may affect or delay actual construction times.
One great way to map out your project timeline and allow for changes along the way is to use an online project management or calendar program specifically for your project. This will give you a visual representation of the timeline and project that can be modified as needed and give you peace of mind so that you can track each phase of the project.
It’s also important to note that keeping a realistic approach to your timeline is important so that you can account for potentially unexpected delays.
Timeline: 2 to 3 months pre-construction
Step 5. Prepare For Remodel Or Renovation
After completing steps 1-4 above, your planning should be in place. At this point, you will want to begin preparing the project for the remodeling and construction process.
Depending on the extent of the remodel or renovations, you may or may not decide to remain in your home or property during the actual construction process. For example, a remodel covering the entire structure is most likely to make the most sense if you do not stay in the space. This will give the contractor the ability to complete the project in concurrent phases without the limitations of disturbing your living areas. This will also be far more comfortable for you and your family to not endure the stress of living through a remodeling project. Home remodeling San Diego is a company we’ve worked with on planning many extensive remodeling projects over the years.
However, in the case of a kitchen or bathroom remodel, addition, garage remodel, or another similar project, you may be able to create a temporary setup that meets all of your needs as well as keeps you out of the path of the construction process.
Timeline: Prepare project space 1 to 2 weeks before the start date