What to Do First When Remodeling a House

When you decide to undertake a home remodeling project, it may be difficult to determine exactly where you should start.

Considerations

Whether this is a do-it-yourself project or you plan to bring in a contractor, the very first thing you should do is to put together your plan of action. The plan should consider the various components of your remodel, and it should be fluid and flexible.

Understand what your motives are for remodeling your house. Determine if you are renovating for your personal enjoyment or to make the home more attractive to potential buyers. Even if the latter is the case, many industry experts strongly recommend that any improvement you make be based on your personal taste in case you end up living in the property longer than you'd planned. In addition, you should avoid an expensive remodeling project if cosmetic improvement will serve the same purpose.

You can save a lot of money by acting as general contractor for the project, which will allow you to hire and work directly with the subcontractors. But first you need to determine if you have the time, skills and patience to do the job successfully. Also, undertaking a home remodeling project can be a major distraction to the family, so discuss the project with other members of the household.

Consider the possible inconveniences that may occur for you and your neighbors. You may need to consider temporary housing during the remodeling project, especially if the kitchen, bathroom or bedrooms are being renovated.

Also, learn what the building codes are in your location. Find out if you will need an architect, permits or drawings. Make sure that any changes you make to your home take into consideration the character of your home as well as the neighborhood.

Types of Improvement

Think about what type of improvements you want to make. You may want to improve you lifestyle by building a home theater in the unfinished basement. For some people, it may be a case of replacing an old heating and cooling system with one that is modern and energy-efficient, along with new insulated windows.

Divide the undertaking into categories. For example, for a gut remodeling project, you'll need to divide the project into groupings such as exterior, interior, kitchen, bath, windows and doors. Even within the categories you'll probably have subcategories such as exterior--siding, sidewalk and fencing.

Budget

Your plans for remodeling a house should include how you will pay for the project. Create a line item for each component of the project, including architect, drawing fees, demolition, permits, construction materials, labor or temporary housing.

Decide what type or quality of materials and fixtures you want to use. Not only will this help you stay within budget, but you can find out in advance if you will need to preorder certain items. Always choose quality products over cheaper options.

Prioritize your wish list and understand how items fit into your budget. Decide ahead of time where you might be able to make compromises. For example, you may be willing to resurface the kitchen cabinets and install new hardware as opposed to replacing the cabinets.

About the Author

John Landers has a bachelor's degree in business administration. He worked several years as a senior manager in the housing industry before pursuing his passion to become a writer. He has researched and written articles on a wide variety of interesting subjects for an array of clients. He loves penning pieces on subjects related to business, health, law and technology.