5 essential remodeling rules

(BPT) – If you’re ready to hire someone for your first-ever home renovation, you’re likely focused more on the result of the project, not the process. If you could just get from Point A (your underwhelming kitchen, bath or living room) to Point B (a new, luxurious and useful new space), life will be so much better.

It’s true that home renovation can deliver many benefits, including improved home value and livability. However, it’s also one of the most stressful events you’ll ever experience. Seasoned renovators will tell you that even the most carefully chosen and brilliantly orchestrated renovation will require some major life adjustments. For first-timers, it’s important to be prepared – financially, logistically and mentally – for the project.

If you’re considering a major renovation, here are five pieces of advice home renovation veterans would likely give to first-timers:

1. Prior planning prevents poor performance.

Some things in life can be over-planned, but renovation isn’t one of them. Don’t skimp on the planning process. You need to use patience and care when choosing a project that will increase your home’s value and your enjoyment of the space. You’ll also need to decide how you will finance the project, select a contractor and deal with potentially major issues such as managing construction dust.

Homeowners also need to define what they want to accomplish. For example, do you just need an updated look or do you want an entirely new living space? You can glean ideas from publications, websites and other resources and also seek out professional assistance, such as from an interior decorator.

2. Your contractor is going to become your new roommate.

Most homeowners continue to live in their homes during a major renovation, so you’ll be spending a lot of time with your contractor. For that reason, eight in 10 homeowners say that livability is one of the most important factors during a remodeling project, according to a study by MMR Research Associates. Your first step is to hire a professional contractor who is licensed, insured and certified. Look for a firm that is conscientious about everything it does, has an experienced team and is used to handling large projects. To find an ideal firm, get referrals from friends and from the firm itself and look at company websites. During the interview process, talk to prospective firms about timeline, logistics, realistic expectations and budget management. It’s important to understand the scope of the project and how your contractor proposes to handle any challenges that arise.

3. There will be dust.

Dust will happen – guaranteed. Every phase of remodeling creates dust, and it’s the top threat to livability during a renovation. In fact, more than 80 percent of homeowners are concerned that dust will be an annoyance and inconvenience during a remodeling project, according to the MMR study. In addition to the nuisance of dust migrating throughout your home, demolition and remodeling dust can cause difficulty for people with existing respiratory problems such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and it can damage your belongings. Before you sign a contract, make sure the remodeler has a dust control plan for your project. Top contractors follow dust control best practices and use the latest technology, such as the BuildClean Dust Control System, to virtually eliminate worksite dust because they realize more than 90 percent of homeowners will have a higher satisfaction rate if dust is controlled.

4. It’s the little things that get you.

While your contractor is tearing down walls and re-creating your living space, life will still go on in your home. Piano lessons will continue, deliveries will take place, bedtimes will remain and meal prep will go on. Meanwhile, your contractor’s crews need somewhere to park their work vehicles and might not remember to put every tool away (and out of reach of your kids) at the end of a day. It’s important to communicate with your contractor about these logistics and how you can work together to make the renovation go smoothly with as little disruption to your lives as possible.

5. It will be worth it.

Your first priority in a remodeling project is to improve or enhance your living environment. You’ll also get an added bonus, because most home renovations improve value. For example, a major kitchen remodeling project recoups more than 74 percent of its cost at the time of resale, and adding an attic bedroom returns more than 84 percent, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. In addition to financial considerations, completed renovations can improve curb appeal and livability.

As with many other stressful life events like getting married or starting a new job, getting through a major home remodel or renovation can be its own reward, especially if the construction dust is under control and your livability is preserved.

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