Planning to remodel your home? Perhaps you’re day dreaming of a spacious living room that has a large, soft couch where you can sit and relax after a long, busy day at work. A grand chandelier dangling from your high ceiling. A glass window that allows warm rays of natural light to kiss your skin every morning while you’re drinking your coffee, and lets the wind blow through your hair in the late afternoon. A tidy, well-lit kitchen equipped with all the cooking materials and appliances you need in order to prepare your family’s favorite meals, next to the long, round, dining room table filled with expensive porcelain plates, glass goblets, and golden utensils. And lastly, a wide bathroom with a tub or jacuzzi, pampering you during your alone time. Yes, a beautiful daydream indeed, but all these things will not be brought to life if you did not build a great foundation.
Let’s talk about the real stuff, shall we? No home is a good place if the foundation lacks strength. Building a home or remodeling one, just like creating a piece of art, must never be rushed. Everything, from the pre-production to the process of laying out finishing touches, must be planned ahead of time to avoid disappointments and unfortunate turns of events that may lead to danger.
Before your creativity takes over in building the home you dreamed of, there are four important Ps that you should serve as your foundation in remodeling: Preparation Price, Place, and People.
Klaus Herring, the Associate and Project Manager for Paul Davis Restoration in Santa Fe, New Mexico says, “Develop a good plan, price it, and work it” In any aspects, good preparation is always the key to a successful outcome. Rushing your project may sacrifice its quality and can waste more time in the long run.
Roam around your house and examine your interior. Does the kitchen cabinet need its adjustments? Do you want to add more shelves in your living room? Do you want to insert a divider? Lay out the specific things that should be removed, added, adjusted, and changed. Also, make sure that you accomplish all the safety procedures and inspections. Look for potential accident prone areas where some structures or debris might fall, shut the breaker down if you’re going to fix the electrical system to avoid, and make sure you and the workers are wearing safety gear.
Another lesson to keep in mind is you should never underestimate the power of an inch. Make sure you have accurate measurements because even a half inch can make a difference. Seek help from a professional when it comes to measurements and the usage of the right tools because once your walls and dividers have been torn down, there’s no going back.
When it comes to changing something or revising the previous plans, it’s okay to have second thoughts or even revise things if you think it will be beneficial to your home. But as much as possible, try to commit to a plan and then stick to it. Think twice before you make decisions, to avoid delays and larger messes. Preparation is truly a bloody process, but it’s worthwhile once you see the quality of work done with careful planning and wise decisions.
Remodeling is something you must devote not only your time, but your also your money to, so you should be wise in laying out a realistic budget. Be very specific with respect to what and what not to include in the budget. Aside from the specific materials that you want to add on, consider small details such as screws, nails, hammers, and other tools and materials needed in remodeling. There’s also a trick in saving and setting priorities by separating what you need or “the must-haves” from what you wish for.
When you say “realistic”, it means anticipating unplanned additional costs like running out of screws, or honest human mistakes like inaccurate measurement of tables, requiring an expenditure of more money. It is recommended that you compute the estimated cost and then factor in an additional 20% for unexpected delays or problems.
When purchasing materials, one of the biggest mistakes in remodeling is sacrificing the quality of your materials and tools. Do not be deceived by the “buy one get one free” options, the “up to 50% off” sale, and deceptively cheap alternative products at the D.I.Y. stores. Remember the old term, “you get what you pay for.” It’s not wrong to be frugal sometimes, but in renovating your home, never settle for low-quality products in order to save, because you might pay the price in the long run. Cheap materials often crumble easily while the expensive ones tend to be more heavy duty and durable.
One of the most common problems of homeowners who want to renovate their homes is they are thinking only of aesthetics. “I want a to put a hot tub in the bathroom,” or “I want to remove this divider because I want a more open floorplan,” or “I want to upgrade the kitchen cabinets.” All these changes might increase the value of your house from their own perspective, and eventually can become assets when you sell it in the future. But you should also take into consideration some important elements of your home that are hiding underneath your cozy bathroom or your dream kitchen, and these are the pipes, electrical wires, and other systems and structures that may be damaged. Instead of merely talking about new additions to the furniture, take time to learn where your electrical panel is and how the house is wired, where the heating ducts are located, and inspect the condition of the foundation.
It is essential to familiarize yourself with your home and know its capacity. Know the elements that should be removed and those elements that should stay and be embraced. You can’t force an old-fashioned, 19th century home built by your ancestors to welcome the new trends and the modernity of the 21st century, or if you insist, it will take a lot of work. You should also appreciate its size, whether it’s big or small, and be wise to buy appropriate materials for it. Most problems like the building of small bathrooms, small doorways, narrow hallways, and narrow staircases, choosing the wrong windows and wrong paint colors, and ignoring the importance of lighting occur when you don’t know the extents of your home.
All these preparations, setting the right price, and knowing the extents of your place will be put into waste if you don’t hire the right people. Just like in buying high-quality materials, you should know the capacity of your contractor. There are cases when the first contractor becomes the final one because people don’t have time to look for more. Or in most cases, they don’t hire contractors and do the work by themselves.
Seek help from the professionals and don’t rush in looking for them. Check the references and interview them well not only to know their background and expertise but also to know if they are liable. Every contractor must have a business liability insurance and its subordinate must be covered by the workers’ compensation insurance. The interview will also make you determine their professionalism. Those who answer calls promptly, open to communication, sits down with you, and lays out documents like plans, breakdown, and contract, are likely to someone whom you want to welcome in your home.
AUTHOR BIO: Carmina Natividad likes the idea of finding a home that matches one’s personality. Her keen interest in real estate and design helps her in writing for Thomas Property, a boutique real estate agency based in Australia that aims to improve the consumers’ experiences in leasing, selling, and buying properties.