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3 tips for remodeling your house

14th September 2020 Print

Tired of living in a dated house that’s no longer your style, impractical, or uncomfortable? Rather than going through the expensive and strenuous process of moving, why not just remodel your existing house?

The Case for Remodeling Your House

When your current home no longer fits your needs or tastes, moving often feels like the quick and easy thing to do - at least on paper. But the reality is that a move is time-intensive and costly. Not only do you have to fix up your property to put it on the market, but you also have to hire an agent, pay six percent in commissions, fork over thousands in closing costs on the purchase of your next property, and absorb dozens of other expenses - like moving.

“Moving is expensive when you factor in the cost to make updates, place your house on the market, pay closing costs and then fund a move,” U.S. News & World Report explains. “The cost of moving even a short distance can climb quickly — north of $10,000 — if you’re hiring full-service movers, and it can still reach above $1,000 for just a moving van rental.”

The other option is to renovate or remodel your current home. And though this choice may seem intensive and time-consuming, all of the hard work usually ends up being worth it in the end.

It’s often said that a renovation is the only way to get everything that you want in a house. Plus, it allows you to get maximum ROI on your spending. (A good renovation builds equity and ultimately enhances the value of your home when you eventually do decide to sell.)

3 Practical Tips for a Smooth Home Remodel

The key to a successful remodel is to plan ahead so that you can avoid many of the snags that often hold well-intentioned homeowners back. In light of this, here are a few of our top recommendations:

1. Choose the Right Contractor

Contractors are a dime a dozen. You can find a long list of options in your area without doing much research. However, the list of good contractors is much shorter. There might only be a handful who are worth working with in your market. Choose carefully!

A good home remodel contractor will help remove some of the intimidation and overwhelm from the process. They’ll have a clear process for how things go and will be able to answer any and all questions you have regarding how the process will go, who will handle each phase, etc.

2. Consult an Architect 

The extent of your project will determine how many professionals you need to involve in the process. An interior remodel that’s entirely cosmetic can be handled by a skilled contractor without needing much outside help. But any renovation that fundamentally alters the layout or design of your property will need the help of an architect (in one form or another).

“Depending on the scale of your project, you might not need a full-on architectural commission, which involves extensive meetings, multiple job-site visits, and several sets of construction drawings, to the tune of about 8 percent of a project's construction budget,” James Glave writes for “You might be able to tap an architect's design savvy by having him undertake a one-time design consultation.”

3. Set a Realistic Budget

Projects have a way of experiencing what’s known as “scope creep.” Whether it’s an unforeseen expense, or an intentional addition later in the process, most remodel projects end up costing more (not less) than originally anticipated. 

Get clear on your budget up front. And don’t forget to add a 15 percent cushion in for unforeseen expenses. Thus, if you plan on spending $25,000, you should be prepared to spend closer to $28,750.

Are You Ready for a Remodel?

Timing is everything with a home remodel. It’s important to consider whether you’re financially and emotionally prepared for everything that a remodel entails. In most cases, problems occur when homeowners aren’t clear on both of these fronts.

Being financially prepared but emotionally unprepared will lead to excessive stress, worry, and frustration with the process. Likewise, being emotionally prepared but financially unprepared will create issues with budgeting and quality of work. You need both pieces in place before proceeding. 

If now is not the right time, take a step back and wait a few months. When the time finally comes to move forward, you’ll be glad you exhibited patience.