Planning a Remodel? Here is a quick checklist to get you started

I often hear a lot of stress and dread from clients when planning a large remodel project. The process can be complicated, long and costly leaving many with a sense of fear about how to begin and ultimately survive. 

Here is a quick list and some tips to guide you through the planning before the first strike of the hammer:

Decide on the scope of the work to be completed.

Think about how long you plan to stay in the home. This will advise how "big" you want to go.

Paying a Designer for a consultation at this point can help you figure out the potential of the space and avoid unnecessary details.

If you are afraid you wont be able to afford everything on your wishlist....or live with all the dust and mess, you might want to consider doing the project in phases. 

Have base floor plans ready and at hand

A contractor and / or designer will ask for these immediately upon speaking with you. If you don't have plans you can get a set from your local city planning department. 

Meet with contractors and pay for an estimate based on your scope of work

Note: Designers are a great resource for finding good contractors. Designers usually will recommend someone who is knowledgeable about construction details and working well with homeowners.

Don't be tempted by very low bids. In my experience this is a strategy to get the project underway ,making it much more difficult to terminate the relationship once the roof has been removed from your house. 

Obtain references and vet your contractor

Call their past clients and see some of their completed work. Also check and make sure their licenses and insurance are current.

Choose your contractor and sign an approved budget and contract

Note: To have an accurate bid general selections on kitchen tile, flooring, plumbing, lighting need to be made. 

Make sure your personalities jive since you will be working together for an extended period of time. That being said ,shy and quiet can be good. This can indicate a focused quiet genius. Angry, yelling, no-show BAD!

Obtain a written construction schedule, timetable from the contractor. 

This may take pulling some teeth, but you need to have some general idea of time and project pace in order to keep everyone accountable. I like having regular meetings with the homeowner and builder to keep everyone on track. 

Now that you know how much your project will cost, work with your designer to put together a construction plan set.

The contractor will use this to pull permits, meet with sub contractors, build and purchase the specified material.

Pull your  building permits- The contractor will do this. 

Note: Be prepared for this. Permits can be costly, anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 so expect to have this factored into your construction budget. Also depending on your city approval can take several weeks so plan ahead. Get an idea about permit costs from your contractor ahead of time if possible. 

Design development - Interior Design

Work with your designer to make shopping trips. select materials and finishes, review pricing and availability, purchasing of tile, flooring, plumbing, kitchen cabinetry, appliances, etc. Usually most items that are decorative , like plumbing trim, tile, stone, vanities, cabinetry, sconces, decorative lighting, flooring, hardware are selected by a "designer/client team" to make sure its all cohesive and beautiful. 

Note: Most contractors will not begin working on your project until most of this is complete and on its way to the construction site. 

You are now ready to begin! Once the project begins, well , that's a whole other long list of items, but if you are decisive and honest about what you can afford you will do great. 

Call me if you get stuck!   :)