While reading a map to get from one place to another is not the most difficult task in the world, many modern Americans find the convenience of getting exact directions from an internet site like Google or apps on their phone. Not only do these services provide you with estimated travel times and exact mileages, they also take the guesswork out of finding the shortest route. They can even tell you what side of a highway an exit ramp is located at. Though home improvement projects vary greatly in size, scope, and objective, following these directions will have you well on your way to the results you want.
1. Know Your Project
Once you’ve decided what area of your home could benefit most from an upgrade, it is important to know exactly what you want done to it. Much like showing a picture of St. Louis to your car and expecting it to take you there, showing a picture of a room you like to a contractor is simply not enough information to bring your project to life. Though a photo can certainly get the wheels turning, the most successful projects begin with a much more detailed plan. Know the elements your remodel must have, as well as the ones that you’d like to have if your budget permits it. If you have a clear idea to present to your remodeling contractor, there’s a better likelihood that he or she will be able to make it happen.
2. Know Your Contractor
The road to a successful home improvement project is often a bumpy one, but having a remodeling contractor that you trust and communicate well with can provide some much needed shock absorption. Whether you are looking for contractors in the phone book or you are using an online resource, never begin a major remodel without approaching multiple companies. The phone book provides very little information for you to go on; though online resources can give you a better idea of who you are dealing with, no contractor is a perfect fit for every homeowner. By contacting several companies and getting estimates from each, you’re likely to see a difference in both service and price. Once you’ve had a chance to weigh your options, you can choose the company you feel most comfortable with.
3. Plan Ahead
While you might be able to have your carpets cleaned on the same day you call for service, the new kitchen, bathroom, or finished basement you’ve been dreaming about is going to take some time to create. No major remodel is done overnight, but if you begin planning months before you need the project to begin, it will give you and your contractor plenty of time to solidify designs and purchase materials. A rushed remodel is often an expensive one. Giving yourself some time to plan your project with your contractor will allow you to work through the details as well as identify (and hopefully solve) possible problems you will encounter along the way.
4. Avoiding Detours
Never begin a do-it-yourself project that you are not confident you can finish. The idea of remodeling your own home is an appealing one for many reasons, but the list of homeowners that have had to call in a pro to fix their “handiwork” goes on for miles. DIY projects are great, but it is important to understand what the job will entail before you begin it.
Make sure you have a definite budget before you invest in a remodel. If you know exactly how much you are willing to spend, there’s a much better chance that you and your contractor will be able to bring the project in at or under your limit. A homeowner whose budget is not well-defined can easily end up spending a lot more than he or she planned and may still not end up with the desired results.
Remember, major remodeling projects can be sent off course for a number of reasons. Hold ups due to weather, the availability of materials, and other factors are all part of the process. Though our directions to better remodels might make the ride a little less stressful, most major work will encounter one form of obstacle or another; homeowners who are prepared for the road ahead, however, are far less likely to feel discouraged by the pit stops along the way.