February 28th, 2011
How to Maximize Your Home Remodeling
Are you among the thousands of Americans considering home remodeling in place of trading up for a bigger space? With the real estate market still in the tank and no sign of the economy making a much-needed up-turn, many would-be home shoppers have turned into home remodelers and are delving into the unknown world of home renovation. From kitchen remodeling to siding replacement, attic renovations to basement finishing and everywhere in between, the range of home improvement projects is as vast and variable as the homeowners imagining them. With home remodeling growing rapidly in popularity and occurrence, the team at greyHouse Inc. – one of the top home remodeling general contractors in Raleigh, NC – has put together 10 ways homeowners can get the most out of their home remodeling general contractor and ensure their home improvement projects reach their ultimate potential.
1. Choose a home remodeling general contractor you connect with
There are probably more home remodeling general contractors in Raleigh than you’d care to think about, so there’s certainly one that perfectly fits with your wants and needs. On that note, there are also plenty of fly-by-night general contractors in the home remodeling industry, so it’s important when selecting one to choose the one that’s best for you. Don’t let the bottom line be the only line – choosing the least expensive home remodeler based on the initial estimate doesn’t always mean that general contractor is the right fit, nor does it mean that’s the price you’ll actually end up paying at the end of the project. Whether you like it or not, the cost of your home remodeling project shouldn’t drive your decision about a general contractor, and your choice should be the one you’re most comfortable working with and trusting.
2. Communicate with your home remodeling contractor
Depending on the type of home remodeling project you’re undertaking – kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, remodeling an unfinished space, or siding replacement to name a few – the process can be a long and invasive one. Not only will there be information you’ll want to know about your remodel, but there are also things your general contractor will need to be aware of while working in and around your home as well. Steady and patient communication between you and your remodeling supervisor will ensure the smoothest process possible, and will eliminate surprises for both of you that could cost valuable time and money. Particularly if your remodeling project is an intricate and involved one that will require workers to be in the middle of your day-to-day space, like kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling, communication is king. Make sure you know what you can expect to happen in your home during your remodeling project, but also be clear about what the home remodeler can expect while working there too.
3. Be specific about what you want out of your home remodeling project
The home remodeling industry is a vast one, and with each homeowner’s taste varying so greatly from that of his neighbors, there’s an endless array of choices & options to fill your home with as part of your home remodeling project. Only you know exactly what you expect your remodeled space to look like, and it’s up to you to deliver those expectations to your home remodeling general contractor so he can execute them. If you give only a broad description of what you want it’s impossible for the home remodeler to deliver the details, and that may lead to disappointment in the end. For instance, if you’re considering siding replacement, it’s not enough to simply tell your remodeling contractor “I want James Hardie siding”. Do you want to see craftsman-style products that will distinguish your home from the others on the block, or are you simply trying to get your siding replacement project done as quickly as possible? Are you interested in their color-plus product, or would you rather paint to your individualized tastes? If you’re not specific about what your wants and expectations are, your home remodeler won’t have a basis to deliver and can’t create your imagined space.
4. Ask your general contractor questions & utilize his home remodeling expertise
Let’s face it – your general contractor is a home remodeling expert, and no matter how much HGTV you’ve watched you’ll never have the experience they have to draw upon for your home remodeling project. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t use their wealth of knowledge to your advantage along the way. Ask as many questions as you have about your kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling project, as you’ll likely discover (and help your home remodeler discover) exactly what your needs and wants are. Don’t be intimidated by a big home remodeling project; instead, dive in and take advantage of the remodeling expertise at your disposal when you utilize your general contractor by asking questions.
5. Be Definitive about what you want with your home remodeling project
Your home remodeling general contractor will be the first to tell you one of the most challenging obstacles to overcome with any home remodeling project - whether its kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, basement remodeling, attic remodeling, siding replacement or something else – is an indecisive homeowner. Not only does it hold up the process when the remodeler must wait on a decision to be made, but it also makes the task of successfully and timely remodeling a space infinitely more challenging when there are a myriad of change orders to incorporate into the renovation. It’s ok to change your mind (every general contractor knows home remodeling is a big undertaking and will be patient as you make your decisions), but you’ll both be in a much better position to complete the project on time and on budget if you have your mind made up about what you want from your home remodeling project and what will go into it when the project starts instead of as its in progress. Don’t worry if you’re not sure about everything, as there are some things that can’t be decided or known right off the bat, but do your best to have as many decisions as possible already made when you start the home remodeling process.
6. Develop a relationship with your home remodeling general contractor
As a stranger who will soon be a daily visitor inside your home, it’s to your advantage to develop a relationship with your home remodeling general contractor. Not only will it be more comfortable when you see them in your kitchen every morning while its being remodeled, but it will also help you share and communicate your expectations throughout the course of your home remodeling project. If you’re not comfortable with the individual managing your remodeling project and supervising its progress on a day-to-day basis, how are you ever going to be able to communicate with him your satisfaction, questions or concerns? This also relates back to the importance of selecting a home remodeling general contractor who you connect with, as developing a strong and comfortable working relationship will come naturally if you do.
7. Don’t just ask your general contractor to tell you what you want to hear
The home remodeling industry is unpredictable, and because homes are as unique as the individuals living in them its inevitable that setbacks are going to pop up. Whether you’re not able to blow through that wall to enlarge your master bathroom as part of your bathroom remodeling project because it’s load-bearing, or using an upgraded countertop is a better fit for your lifestyle as part of your kitchen remodeling project, you are always going to have questions that need to be answered by your home remodeler that have answers you just don’t want to hear. The best thing to remember? That’s O-K. Like everything worthwhile in life, what’s important when you’re undertaking a home remodeling project isn’t just hearing “Yes” to every question you ask. Instead, listen carefully to what your general contractor explains and recommends, and use his expertise to guide you through the process. After all, his knowledge and experience are why you’ve chosen to work with him as yourhome remodeling contractor, so don’t push that benefit out the door when it’s most important.
8. Use examples of other home remodeling projects you want to mimic
The best way to get exactly what you want out of your home remodeling project is to visually illustrate your ideas to your home remodeling contractor. Find pictures online using search terms like “Kitchen Remodeling Photos,” “Bathroom Remodeling Photos,” “Basement Remodeling Photos,” Attic Remodeling Photos,” “Siding Replacement Photos,” etc and show the styles and features you like to your general contractor. This is the best way to communicate exactly what you’re looking to get with your home remodeling project, and will also help you identify new ideas you may be interested in bringing to your renovation. Particularly with detail-oriented projects like kitchen remodeling and bathroom remodeling, photos can be a wonderfully inspirational tool.
9. Make an effort to understand the home remodeling process
Most home remodeling projects are not simple one-stop projects, and will include a significant period of time and a little invasiveness to your life. The best way to manage the inconvenience is to make an effort to understand what to expect from start to finish, so that as your home remodeling project progresses you’re able to follow it from step to step. It will take away the mystery and element of surprise, both of which can cause unease and curiosity (which can hold up the process if it means you’re calling your home remodeler twice a day to ask a question about what’s going on).
10. Let your home remodeling general contractor be creative
If your home remodeling project is a custom home addition, kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling project or renovation of a basement, attic or other unfinished space, you’ll likely need to use a design-build home remodeler who can manage the creation of your new space on paper before actually breaking ground on the project. These experienced professionals are the top-tier of the home remodeling industry, and have seen all shapes, sizes, colors and floorplans. They can use their experience to bring new ideas and design to your home remodeling project, and will be able to take your ideas and visions to the next level. It’s these professionals’ jobs to keep up to speed on the latest styles and designs in the home remodeling industry (and that means more than flipping on Vern Yip for an hour or two after Yoga), and if you’re wise you’ll let them get creative with your home remodeling project. They’re almost certain to be able to offer a new idea that would otherwise have remained buried, and if you’re interested in bringing the most to your home remodeling project, you’d be wise to listen.