Consumer Guides

Plan Carefully for Your Remodeling Project

This is the time of year people begin to plan major remodeling projects. The winter months are a good time to gather ideas and investigate various options. Remodeling is a major undertaking, and careful preparation can help assure that you get the most for your time, effort and money.

In the beginning, most folks have some idea of the one or two main features they’re looking for in the project. Don’t let these early preconceptions blind you to what may be even better design solutions. Take your time and gather ideas about the many different ways that people have solved functional problems while, at the same time, adding beauty and value to their homes.

Good idea sources are home shows, model homes, checkout counter magazines on remodeling projects and TV shows on remodeling. As you and other family members see features or ideas you like, place notes, drawings, tear sheets or photocopies into a project idea file. You can also answer ServiceMagic’s quick Service Request Interviews to create a handy project idea file for you to show professionals and suppliers.

Once you’ve got some idea of the possibilities, contact a professional and use the project file to help you explain what you’re looking for. More than likely, the professional will open your eyes to even more possibilities.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we get from homeowners about planning a remodeling project:

Q: I’ve been wanting to remodel my kitchen since we moved in 12 years ago. It now it looks like it’s going to happen, but I’m afraid that the whole family will blame me for all the disruption the project will cause. What can I do?

A: Your best bet is to find ways to get others involved in the project so that everyone sees it as benefiting them. For example, your husband and kids may get more interested in the project if you point out that it might contain a sandwich making station, work desk, entertainment center or wet bar. Whet their appetites and ask for their ideas.

Q: Should I call an architect, interior designer, contractor or cabinet dealer first?

A: During the idea-gathering phase, ask others about which route they went and what they liked and disliked about it. Always work with professionals with extensive experience in remodeling projects rather than new construction.

Q: We’re going to be putting a substantial sum into a new addition, so we are particularly concerned about how various features will impact the home’s resale value. How can we get a handle on this?

A: To figure out which features are most in demand, visit new model homes. Builders do a great deal of research about what consumers are looking for. Your local real estate agent can also tell you what prospective buyers in your neighborhood are looking for.

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