If you’re like many Americans, you may be considering home renovation in place of buying a new home. And if you’re like a lot of ‘do-it-yourselfers’ you think, “How hard can it be?” But then you start doing some research and some planning, and maybe even start making some holes in walls you no longer think are necessary, and suddenly reality begins to sink in. Home renovation is hard work! And it’s time consuming. And it’s dirty and messy. And it takes some expertise you don’t have. And now you’ve started the project and you don’t know where to go or how to move forward. So you’re left with a hole in your kitchen wall (or bathroom or bedroom) and no idea how to fix the electrical or put up drywall. Now you’re thinking, maybe I should have called a professional!
In Favor of Home Renovation
Home renovation is a popular type of home improvement project, especially when the real estate market is down. It’s a great alternative to selling your home or buying a new one. Your house gets a makeover and you get to live in a new, updated space. You can change the feel or layout of your home at the same time you add value. Your home is your biggest investment. Room remodeling can add value to the house, make it more appealing to potential buyers, and add resale value. Simple changes can be a quick fix for restless homeowners, but room remodeling can have a huge impact. Even if you have no plans to sell your house or any desire to move, changing the interior of your home by expanding rooms, updating appliances and reworking living spaces can make your old house feel brand new again.
Home Renovation in a Nutshell
Home renovation is an ambitious undertaking. It requires enough engineering and construction knowledge to be able to tear down walls without compromising the integrity of the structure of your home. It also requires knowledge of electrical and plumbing systems. And it can often involve simple room planning and design and an understanding of traffic flow patterns in a house. When taking on any significant home renovation, especially when doing room remodeling or construction remodeling, more than one person is usually needed to complete the work. And understanding different trades and the craftsmen that are masters in them is essential. But who has time to become a master carpenter/sider/roofer/window installer/plumber/electrician? Many of us like to think of ourselves as pretty handy and able to tackle some big projects but sometimes it’s best to leave the big projects to the experts.
In Favor of a Home Improvement Contractor
Most homeowners can take on small home improvement projects. We can paint and put up wallpaper, install new showerheads and change out our cabinet hardware. And, if we’re really ambitious, we may even attempt to lay our own flooring or retile our shower. Home renovation, however, requires a great deal of knowledge and experience to be done right. If a remodeling project is not done properly, a number of problems can arise including mishaps and unwanted and unexpected results. A home improvement contractor can help prevent those unwanted outcomes and can ensure the success of your project.
A home improvement contractor can offer their knowledge and experience as well as their expertise. In addition to guiding you through the planning process including project design and layout, they can also help you determine the best choices for what changes will work and what won’t. A good contractor understands the structural makeup of buildings, including your home. Basically they’ll know what will happen if you make a hole in the wrong wall. Understanding how the walls interact with each other to support the rest of the structure is their job, so they have a unique understanding of what can and can’t be done. Because of this they can offer their expertise on your project and offer options and advice to enhance your results.
Home improvement contractors know the people in the industry. They know architects, designers, and craftsman. They know the suppliers and who has what and for the best price. Imagine if you had to figure out what materials are available, what would work best for your project and then figure out where to buy them and how to get the best price. And then imagine trying to get the materials delivered and unloaded and then determine how to install them. Not to mention the permits you may or may not have remembered to get. And if you need help, how will you know who to hire that is reliable and capable? This is what your contractor will do; be your home renovation project manager.
Home improvement contractors will save you time and money. By acting as your project manager they will be in charge of everything including contracts, budgets, laborers, and installers. They’ll take care of the purchase and delivery of your project materials. They will also obtain the building permits specific to your project. You won’t have to try to figure out what permits you need or where you need to go to get them or what it takes to get them issued. The contractor can do all of that for you.
Things to Keep in Mind
When planning your residential remodel, keep in mind a few things. First, decide what your renovation is going to encompass. Is it a siding remodel? A replacement window remodel? A replacement door remodel? If you’re going for resale value and want the biggest return on your investment, fiber-cement siding will give you the biggest bang for your buck. However, any renovation project that increases the size of the home and its square footage will add value. If your remodel is strictly to improve resale value, remember when you’re doing the planning that it’s important to make sure you don’t upgrade your house beyond what your neighborhood can support. The house must appeal to potential buyers that are interested in homes that fit the area.
When taking on a big renovation project, think about energy efficiency and ways that you can improve it in your home. If you’re installing new windows, for example, pay attention to the energy ratings. New windows can dramatically increase the energy efficiency of your home. New entry doors can do the same. Finding doors with improved insulation and better weather stripping can decrease the amount of energy that escapes from your house and can significantly reduce your energy bills over time. Also consider upgrading your insulation on exterior walls when adding or expanding rooms. This will help your house hold in the heat in the winter and keep in the cool in the summer.
Finding the Right Contractor
Hiring a good home improvement contractor is a great choice when deciding on a room remodeling or construction remodeling project for your home. Just a few things to know before you sign on the dotted line…
- Make sure the contractor you hire is insured!
- They should have general liability insurance as well as Workers Compensation to protect you from any incidents that may occur on your property over the course of your renovation.
- Never hire the lowest bidder just because they’re the lowest bidder!
- A lot of inferior contractors know that homeowners are looking for the best price so they bid low knowing they’ll often get the job and then they perform substandard work and offer no guarantee.
- Once you’ve gotten some bids from reputable contractors, do some more research.
- Contact some of their previous clients. Take a look at some other work they’ve completed. And spend some time talking to them. Do they understand your vision? Are they willing to work within your budget? Are they experts in their field? Do you feel comfortable with them and do you trust them? The answer to all of these questions should be “yes” before you hire them.
Once you’ve chosen a home improvement contractor, make sure the contract you sign includes every detail of your project. This includes a timeline and schedule of the project including completion date, payment details including whether or not a deposit is required, specifics of all materials that will be used and most important, a guarantee not only of the installation and completion, but of the quality of the workmanship. A good contractor will automatically include these in the contract or will be willing to add them at your request.
Home Renovation: How Hard Can it Be When you Have a Good Contractor?
Not hard at all! Taking the time to carefully decide on and plan your project and hire your contractor along with patience while the work is being done is essential to a successful home renovation. When you have the right contractor, it makes everything easier. Because your home renovations are important to you, you want the work done right. Making sure this happens is up to your home improvement contractor.
Residential remodeling will help you to enjoy your existing home in ways you hadn’t imagined. You can expand rooms, upgrade appliances, create a more energy efficient environment, and create a new living space without having to buy a new house. A home renovation will let you keep the house you own and find new ways to enjoy your old home.