Everyone knows that a home remodel can be a stressful and difficult time for a homeowner.  The expense, the mess and the disruption is enough to send even the most stoic homeowner into a panic.  Collom Construction is here to help and offers up a list of tips to assist you in preparing for and successfully surviving your home remodel.  Here are eleven useful tips for helping you prepare for your home remodeling project:

1) Figure Out Your Main Purpose For Remodel

Take a moment and consider the true purpose for your remodel.  Are you remodeling to make your house more livable?  Are you remodeling to sell?  Are your preparing for a larger family?  All of these reasons can impact your decision to remodel, as well as the amount of money you set aside to pay for the remodel.  If you plan on selling your home within a year or two, then a major remodel may not be worth the time and expense.  You should be aware that it can be difficult to recover costs of a remodel if you sell quickly after putting a significant amount of money into a home remodeling project.  Additionally, design planning, obtaining permits and the construction process can take months and sometimes a year or longer.

2) Decide What Your Remodel Budget Is And Stick To It!

Sit down and figure out what a realistic budget is for your remodel.  Ask friends who have remodeled what their budget was and do some internet research.  Ask yourself the following questions:


  • How much money do you have to spend on your remodel?
  • What are your remodel goals?
    • Is it realistically possible to accomplish your goals within your budget?
    • Will the remodel increase your current home value?
    • If so, would the increased value make your home the most expensive in your neighborhood?


Consider that it may be difficult to sell your home in the future if you complete a remodel that increases your home value beyond that of the surrounding homes.  A general rule of thumb is that you should plan on staying in your home for at least ten years in order to justify the expense of a major remodel.  A smaller remodel, such as one room or the kitchen makes more sense if it increases your home value and matches with the rest of the home.  Remodeling one room when the rest of the house needs major renovation does not make sense if you plan on selling within the next couple of months or years.

3) Know Your Neighborhood

Do your research.  When was your home built?  Is the design custom or was it one of many built in cookie cutter fashion?  What do the surrounding houses offer?  If you do decide to remodel, too many changes or upgrades could make your home hard to sell if the rest of the houses in your neighborhood are modestly built and designed.

4) Know The Existing Conditions Of Your Home

Most areas have limitations on what can be done with your property.  These limitations are dictated by local codes which specifically list what can be done with your property.  It is important to find out if your house complies with Land Use Codes, or if it was built to less restrictive standards.  It is also important to be sure than any plans you make to remodel also comply with appropriate codes. To find this out, you will need to check with your local building department to determine zoning implications, restrictions for setbacks, height, lot coverage and grading.  You should also have a title report for the house which includes a legal description, dimensioned plot plan and a list of any easements or covenants on your property.


You may have parts of your house that do not conform to existing code.  This does not necessarily mean that that you have to modify these areas to conform with current codes.  However, be aware that any new modifications you make must comply with current code.

5) Obtain As-Built Drawings

All renovation projects require as-built drawings as a basis for design, permits and construction.  Drawings of your home as it was built are a critical part of figuring out what you can do with your home.  Your home should have appropriate structure to support major renovations and remodeling projects should be accommodated by your existing conditions.  In some instances you can easily find as-built drawings for your home.  However, if your house was built before 1950, it may be harder to find these.  You may need to spend money to have these created.

6) Hire A Design Build Firm

Although it may be tempting to try and cut corners to save money, resist the temptation if you are embarking on a major renovation.  If you are concerned about the expense, you can hire an architect for a one hour consultation.  This will help you quickly assess the feasibility of your project.  Before you meet with the architect, compile a list of problems and inadequacies you see with your house, and a "wish list" of improvements to would like to use.  Your architect can use these prior to your consultation to get the most out of your time.  Walk the architect through your home and explain what you want to do.  Most architects love to creatively solve problems, so allow your architect the opportunity to respond with ideas and options.


Once you have toured your home together, your architect will draw up plans and present your options.  By the end of this session a preliminary design will be created and the architect will explain what can and cannot be done with the structure.  Next, a “master plan” for all renovations, additions and changes will be created for your house.  This piece is very important since the carefully measured drawings will depict the proposed changes, and include specific detail for builders to use for cost estimates.

7) Be Sure You Have A Formal Written Home Improvement Contract With Your General Contractor

It is easy to get carried away with a remodeling project, but staying grounded is important when it comes to your general contractor.  When interviewing general contractors, be sure to choose one that specializes in residential remodeling.  Ask for references from projects your contractor has recently completed.  Look at the projects and speak to the homeowners about the contractor.  Make sure they are licensed and insured!  And above all, trust your gut instincts, if something seems shady, don't hire them.

8) Get A Detailed Written Estimate Before You Start

Before you start, you should obtain a written estimate from your general contractor for the project, indicating everything that is included or excluded.  This is not a bid!  Look over your estimate carefully and ask questions.  If it seems excessive then do not start the project until you are comfortable with all aspects.


While your plans are being reviewed by the appropriate authorities, have your selected general contractor finalize bids and commitments with your subcontractors.  Subcontractors are the workers that will complete smaller parts of your project like the flooring, tiling or dry-walling.  Go over your budget again at this time to make sure it is adequate to pay all of the subcontractors and for the materials.  Once you have a solid estimated cost of all of this, create a formal written agreement with your general contractor.  This written agreement should include the architect's drawings and specifications.  Your agreement should also include a week-by-week timeline of what should be done to complete the job.

9) Develop A Scheme For Your Remodel

Once you determine the total project cost, narrow the scope to select the work you plan to do immediately.  For this part of the project, select your preferred materials, components and finishes.  Have back up choices in case something is not available or is on back-order.  Be sure your choices include products that are appropriate for your house and style.  Your architect can assist with this if you have hired one.  If not, your general contractor can help.

10) Things To Do During Construction

Construction can be extremely messy and noisy.  You may think that staying in the home during the remodel is the best option.  But consider the repercussions.  There is a reason that many owners decide to move out during construction.  Noise can be disruptive and construction dust typically covers everything in the house.  If you decide to stay, dust can be minimized by carefully closing off the construction area entrances with sheets of plastic.  Noise cancelling head phones are helpful, as well as being prepared for a symphony of noisy tools.  If you decide to move out for the construction, store your furnishings or be sure they are protected.  Cover surfaces that you do not want covered in dust.

11) Be prepared For The Unexpected

During your renovation, things like walls, floors and ceilings will be opened and explored.  Once this happens, plumbing, insulation and wiring is exposed and may uncover unknown problems that need to be resolved.  Experts recommend keeping 10% of your budget aside to deal with unexpected issues.
The unexpected does not only mean cost.  Time can also be an unknown factor during renovation projects.  In preparation for this, set a regular day and time to meet at the site with your contractor and architect.  Meeting once every other week should be sufficient to keep your project on tract.  Your contractor should prepare an agenda for these meetings with questions and issues that need to be resolved.

Collom Construction Inc. Offers Outstanding Service And Quality

Here at Collom Construction Inc. we strive to offer all of our clients the highest quality with the friendly service you expect and deserve.  We don't just complete projects, we strive to make all builds we create last a lifetime.  We know you have many choices for your building needs, so we have created streamlined design-build processes to get you done efficiently and keep you on budget.  We listen to our customer's needs, use the best quality products and work with the top professionals in the industry.  This formula allows us to help you add value to your property and quality to your life!  Contact us today for an estimate.  Let us help you get the home you have always dreamed of today!