Home Remodel: Research

Do your research before jumping headfirst into a remodel! By do you research, I do not mean binge watch HGTV. They’re alright for ideas but they show what the people want to see- finished designs, one or two minor problems, unlimited budgets, and everything completed in the “six week timeline” for a full home renovation. The blood sweat and tears, decision upon decision, meetings with contractors, and budget are some of the areas that are glanced over but never really focused on.

If you’ve been living in your too small kitchen and are seriously considering a remodel put in some legwork and do a bit of research. Prices vary. Sometimes a lot, by region. Someone living in San Francisco would end up paying a higher price for an identical kitchen remodel than someone in say… Iron Mountain, MI. The best way to get a handle on how much this is going to cost is to window shop. Go to local stores (the best contractors buy locally 😉 ) and check out prices on cabinets, hardware, fixtures, flooring, windows/doors, etc. When you realize that cabinets really can be in the area of $XX,XXX it will help with the sticker shock of your complete project.

If you’re like me, and prefer to window shop online, even if it’s just to narrow down style. The Products section on Houzz.com is a great place to browse. They have tons of options for everything from counter tops and back splashes to finishes like cups and plates, bedding, even cookie cutters. My favorite part about their website is that you can narrow down not only by price, but by style as well. I do always recommend purchasing locally whenever possible for your remodel. Print off photos and bring them to your local store. Odds are one of their suppliers has exactly what you’re looking for. When you purchase locally, it makes it easier to correct mistakes that happen (no going through automated voice mail systems!)

If after your initial window shopping you’re still up for a renovation, find out what similar remodels cost in your area. One website that does a fairly good job with this is Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. The report breaks it down. It shows several project options such as Bathroom Addition as well as the Job Cost, Resale Value, and Cost Recouped. The report for your area can help you choose a good investment as well as show you the initial cost of the renovation. I would post a photo here, unfortunately it’s prohibited under Copyright Law. One concern I have with this is if you’re in a rural area like we are in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan the nearest town on the map is over a four hour drive away– meaning its going to be inaccurate.

Are you going to DIY that bathroom remodel or hire a professional? Seriously consider both options. Can you be trusted with power tools? Is there a local contractor that you can trust to treat your home with respect? Are the 14 mis-cut pieces of plywood, trip to the ER, and migraine really worth saving the 20% markup on supplies and cost of labor? Are you able to complete the project safely and correctly the first time around? I’m only kind of kidding with these questions… Make sure you know your personal limits.

Do you draw the line at electrical? Call an electrician. Do you want someone to take care of the whole project? Call a general contractor. No matter who you call, be sure they can be trusted with your home. Ask for references from previous clients and subcontractors, architects, and/or design firms that they have worked with. This is your home, you want it done right and to make sure your home is safe.