8 Factors To Consider Before and During Remodeling

Kelly Weimert
Written by Kelly Weimert
Updated January 7, 2022
renovated luxury kitchen area
Photo: bmak / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Interview at least three contractors before hiring

  • Consider your neighborhood comps before investing

  • Certain remodeling projects yield higher ROIs than others

  • Prepare your home ahead of time to minimize daily inconveniences

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Remodeling your home is an exciting project that can help you fall in love with your home all over again. But remodeling projects can also bring their fair share of stress as you navigate things like budgets, design choices, and construction inconveniences. Fortunately, you can easily minimize remodeling stress with a bit of forethought and planning. To set yourself up for a smooth, stress-free project, make sure to consider the following factors before your next remodeling project.

1. Design Inspiration

When planning a remodeling project, one of the first things to consider is what you want the final design to look like. Interior aesthetics are vast and varied, ranging from pared-back minimalism to eclectic maximalism, so your possibilities are endless. But too many possibilities can feel a little overwhelming, even for the most design-savvy among us. 

To narrow it down, spend some time searching online for interiors that you like, making a note of the colors, textures, and styles you're most drawn to. Then think about how to incorporate those elements into your design. 

In addition to the look of your design, you should consider its function in your daily life. For instance, if you're remodeling your kitchen and love to host large dinner parties, adding a large kitchen island with plenty of surface area to prepare meals would be a great addition. 

2. Space and Square Footage

Once you hone in on an aesthetic you love, consider your unique space and what's possible in it. Some areas lend themselves to certain remodeling projects better than others. For example, if you want to add an en suite bathroom to a primary bedroom, then make sure you have the square footage needed to make this possible. If not, you might need to add on a new room, which can significantly drive your budget up or require you to consider other ways to make updates.  

3. Budget

woman on laptop budgeting home project
Photo: weedezign / Adobe Stock

Speaking of budgets, they're a critical component of any home remodeling project since they dictate what is and isn't possible. To create a budget, start by taking a close look at your finances and determining the highest amount you'd be comfortable spending on your remodeling project. 

Once you figure out the absolute max that you want to spend on the project, lower that number by about 10% to arrive at your budget. Keeping your budget under your max gives you some wiggle room if unforeseen challenges and costs come up during the project. 

4. ROI and Neighborhood Comps

Many home remodeling projects offer a significant return on investment (ROI), but your potential return heavily depends on your neighborhood and the type of remodeling project you complete. For example, let's say you bought your home for $300,000 and you're planning a $100,000 remodeling project. If the homes in your neighborhood typically sell for $300,000, then it's highly unlikely that you'll receive a return on your investment if you sell it in the near future since home sales are based mainly on neighborhood comparisons.  

Additionally, certain remodeling projects offer higher average ROIs than others. For instance, minor kitchen remodeling projects using mid-range materials yield an average ROI of 72.2%, while adding on an upscale primary suite generates 47.7% ROI on average.

5. Building Permits

Some remodeling projects require you to have a building permit from your city. This typically applies to extensive projects that involve increasing the footprint of your home, like adding new rooms. Permit requirements vary significantly by location. 

If you're unsure whether you need a permit, reach out to city officials with your project plans to verify if a permit should be obtained. Your contractor might also offer to do this for you. Failure to get a permit can result in costly fees down the road. Unpermitted additions can also make your home harder to sell since buyers will need to retroactively obtain a permit or risk getting fined.

6. DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

Many people choose to take on home remodeling projects themselves. Remodeling your home yourself can save you money since you won't have to pay labor costs. However, remodeling projects can be potentially dangerous, especially if you have an extensive project that involves electrical, plumbing, or the home’s structural integrity. 

Therefore, evaluate your project and make sure you're confident that you can safely complete every step of the project. When in doubt, hire a local contractor to help. You can always save money by doing easier tasks like finishing work (painting, staining, and tiling) yourself.

7. Hiring Your Contractor

contractor installing new countertop in kitchen
Photo: New Africa / Adobe Stock

If you decide to hire a contractor for your project, spend some time researching candidates in your area. Referrals from friends and family are a great place to start because they can personally attest to a contractor's quality of work, and you can see the final product. You can also use Angi to find top-rated home contractors, along with reviews from real customers.

Ideally, you should interview and get quotes from at least three contractors before you decide. Interviews can help determine your contractor’s communication style and if the contractor’s approach aligns with your vision, budget, and timeline for the project. Plus, it allows you to ask important questions. After the interviews, review each candidate's quote and pricing to determine the best fit for your project. 

8. Schedule and Quality of Life

Remodeling projects, particularly extensive projects, can bring inconveniences, like loud noises, big messes, and unusable rooms. Planning can make surviving your remodeling project much more manageable. 

For example, if you're planning a major kitchen remodel, set aside a space you can use as a makeshift kitchen while your project is underway. Bring in any small appliances you'll need to make essentials, like your morning coffee, and make a plan for where and how you'll make meals during the project. In the case of a kitchen remodel, you might also want to include restaurant dining in your budget since you might need to eat out more than you typically would. 

Additionally, before you commit to a start date for your project, take a look at your schedule to ensure there aren't any conflicts. If you're planning to host a backyard wedding in June, then you probably don't want to start an extensive remodeling project in May. Giving yourself plenty of space around significant events can save you from additional stress and hosting in undone living spaces should the project take longer than anticipated.

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