Sooner or later, you may join the millions of people who remodel their homes each year.

Perhaps it was the moment you realized avocado green and harvest gold are no longer the “in” colors for today’s trendy kitchens. Or maybe you had an epiphany one day as you stood in line to use your own bathroom. Whatever the impetus, the thought has crossed your mind: Maybe it’s time to start a home remodel?

The reasons for home remodeling are as varied as the projects, including:

  • Adding more space
  • Upgrading cabinets, counters, appliances, and fixtures.
  • Creating a floor plan that is customized for your lifestyle
  • Improving energy efficiency with new windows, doors, insulation and climate control systems
  • Increasing the resale value of your home

Where to Begin

The first step is to develop an idea of what you want to do with your home remodel. Write a prioritized list of your needs and wants. Look at magazines and websites and collect pictures of what homes or remodeling projects you like. The more clearly you can envision the project and describe it on paper, the better prepared you’ll be in making your decisions.

Think about traffic patterns, furniture size and placement, colors, lighting and how you expect to use the remodeled space. You may want to improve home efficiency and hire a remodeler for green home remodeling. These projects include replacing windows and doors, upgrading heating and cooling systems, adding insulation and other remodeling to make the home more energy-efficient, easier to maintain and comfortable.

Figure out how much money you have to spend on the home remodeling job, furnishings, landscaping or any other cost you might incur.

Choose Your Options

Once you have created a list of what you would like out of your home, the next step is deciding how to accomplish your vision.

Hiring a Professional Home Remodeler

If you are considering a home remodeling project, the most important decision you can make is selecting a professional home remodeler to do the job. Your home is too important to entrust to anyone but a professional home remodeler who can:

  • Save you money by doing your job right the first time.
  • Ensure your dreams are accurately translated into reality by offering design services in-house or through an arrangement with a professional architect or designer.
  • Understand that your comfort during the project and its successful completion depend on effective communication and follow-through.
  • Maintain a safe and neat job site to prevent damage to your home or injury to household members and pets.
  • Provide the best possible materials within your budget and assist you in making selections through the vendors they work with.
  • Ensure your job meets or exceeds applicable building codes and regulations.
  • Guarantee the quality of their work with a warranty.
  • Respond promptly to service calls and inquiries.

Can you do it yourself?

For the more handy homeowner, a do-it-yourself project can be both rewarding and cost-effective. However, more than 30 percent of all jobs professional home remodelers perform come from failed do-it-yourselfers.

Do-it-yourself projects have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years on the heels of popular home improvement television shows and publications. A DIY project can be rewarding and fun — IF you are prepared and have the proper skills. But before you start knocking down walls and taking out wiring, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have a clear idea of what you want your project to look like?
  • Do you realistically have the time to complete this project?
  • Have you ever undertaken a project like this before?
  • Do you know everything you will need (materials, tools, etc.) to complete the project?
  • Are you familiar with the applicable building codes and permits?
  • Do you enjoy physical labor?
  • Do you have all the tools you will need?
  • Do you have the necessary skills for this project?
  • If not, do you have the time and resources to learn these skills?
  • Where will you obtain the necessary materials?
  • If you cannot complete the project according to your original schedule, are you (and your family) prepared to handle the resulting inconvenience?
  • Will you need assistance with this project? If so, who will assist you? Do they have the time and skills required for this project?
  • Do you understand all the safety issues associated with this project?
  • Are you familiar with the architecture and structural makeup of your home?
  • Have you considered the hidden costs associated with doing it yourself — time, tools and the possibility that you may actually decrease the value of your house if the result isn’t up to professional standards?

It’s easy to look at the cost of hiring a professional remodeler and think only of labor and materials. But remember that professional remodelers offer you very important services — years of experience, the right tools, a network of suppliers and subcontractors and an in-depth understanding of legal regulations, cost estimating, scheduling and the latest construction techniques and materials.

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