Even a relatively modest remodeling project can create significant disruptions to your home and lifestyle. Whether you plan to have contractors work on one room or the entire building, it’s important for you to prepare in advance, and know what you’re getting into. These three steps are absolutely necessary to that preparation:
Plan Your Budget
This step may seem obvious. But it’s easy to be financially underprepared for a remodeling project, unless you’ve had detailed conversations with your contractors and your family.
While small-scale projects might be paid in advance with one check, it’s not a good idea to take any initial cost estimates for granted. This isn’t to say that you should expect a contractor to arbitrarily raise the price on you. And if you’ve chosen that contractor carefully, they won’t. But legitimate problems can arise which cause cost overruns. And it’s not at all uncommon for the homeowners themselves to make decisions along the way which change the cost.
With this in mind, it’s good to establish both a minimum and a maximum budget for your project, and to get a sense of how your contractors can honor that range while also producing the best possible finished product. You can also create more wiggle-room in that budget by looking into financing options. Companies like AAA Remodeling make this easy by offering their own financing programs, through lending partners.
Adjust Your Lifestyle
Major remodeling projects are messy, noisy, and chaotic. Depending on the details of the project and your own levels of tolerance, you might want to vacate the premises during work days, or simply adjust your daily activities to accommodate the disruption.
Some families schedule a home remodel to overlap with a vacation. Others use it as an opportunity to stay with friends and family, or in a favored hotel. For those who continue to reside in the home while work is being done, it is usually necessary to make alternate arrangements for times when they cannot safely access the kitchen or bathroom.
Some days, those restrictions on access may be more serious than others. By keeping in close communication with your contractors, you can develop some sense of how long you’ll have to live without certain ameneties, and when you might have to make different arrangments for sleeping, cooking, eating, and working.
Protect Your Home
Whether or not you continue to occupy your home during the remodel, it will probably be necessary to treat the space as if you’re moving out. Fragile items should be taken down from shelves and walls, and possibly packed away in boxes for the duration of the project. Sensitive materials should be covered with plastic sheeting or drop cloths to keep off the dust that will inevitably be flying around your home.
If you want to give yourself even more peace of mind while also leaving contractors with more space in which to work, you might even want to move some of your belongings into storage. That way, you will not only be protecting against incidental damage when tools and foot traffic shake the floors and walls, you will also be hedging against the possibility of more serious accidents.
If you’ve vetted your home remodeling company, you shouldn’t have to worry about this too much. But as with the budget, it’s dangerous to take it for granted that any given project will be completed without incident. So even though you should never dwell on unlikely problems, it’s probably a good idea to view the start of a remodeling project as an opportunity to make sure that your insurance is up to date.