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Top 10 Remodeling Tips




Determine your budget. Keep in mind that construction costs have soared over the last few years, and they continue to rise. Research available lending institutions and determine your borrowing power.

#9 Include in your budget the "soft" costs. These include professional design services (figure 10-12%), the costs for temporary relocation of your family, and possibly the cost of renting a storage room for furniture and other items that may have to be relocated.

Gather ideas and any old plans in advance of hiring an architect. Start a scrapbook of pictures that appeal to you, torn from magazines . Investigate the latest products and ideas that you may want to include by going to an appliance store, or a home improvement superstore. See if you can't find old plans of the house. Find your property survey in your real estate closing papers. All will save you time and money, and will be essential to the process.

#7 Interview architects who specialize in remodeling and additions. You will need professional advice to guide you through the complicated design and decision-making ahead of you. Choose the best qualified architect who you believe can do thisfrom initial planning through the end of your construction project. Contact the local chapter office of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for a list of architects in your area.
#6 Work with the style of your older home when altering it. Each home has its own unique character that should be respected when you enlarge the floor plan or make internal changes. An architect who is versed in older styles will give you the best results, even if your goals are to modernize and update. The real estate value of the finished project directly corresponds with the design-sensitivity of your remodel.
#5 Obtain a preliminary construction cost estimate once you and your architect have worked out a design. These schematic architectural plans will basically outline the extent of your project. Ballpark estimates may be a range of potential costs, and are provided by either the architect or an interested contractor. Knowing probable costs early on will allow you to either proceed with construction drawings, or scale back the project to fit your budget.
#4 Consider phasing your remodel. If your budget doesn't allow you to include everything you want to do, tackle your project in an orderly fashion. Utilize your architect to develop a master plan, so that each phase of work is done without having to undo a previous phase.
#3 Utilize your design professionals throughout the remodeling project. Many architects and engineers will only take projects on if they are involved in seeing it through project completion. Through the design process, your architect has become the most familiar with your home's limitations and possibilities. Owner-requested changes during construction, or alternate design solutions to unforeseen problems found during a remodel, should involve the architect's input for best results.
#2 Include at least 10-15% more money than your final cost estimate to cover the costs of unforeseen items or changes made during construction. The final bid you receive from a contractor for the work cannot possibly include repairing hidden problems which become apparent during the work, nor changes that might need to be made, or that you just want to make. While good planning can minimize the decisions during construction, no plans are perfectmaking some adjustments as the renovation occurs is quite normal.
#1 Maintain your sanity and sense of humor throughout the process. Remodeling is usually mentally draining and disruptive to your normal lifestyle. Trust the process, your architect and contractor, and know in advance that remodeling is a challenging journey. Your life will be disrupted for many weeks, many decisions will need to be made, and the construction processespecially towards to endwill seem to drag on forever. Just keep the end goal in sight and remind yourself often that the finished project will be worth it!

WL Home Improvement        (203)  979-0552