Checklist: starting a remodel

December is the perfect time of year to start making plans for the future of your home. The weather is frightful, for the most part. You’re probably spending more time in the house, time that can make you love it all the more… or time that can make you see which bits just aren’t working right now for you and your family. December is often also the month when you start making decisions about resolutions for the new year and start planning next year’s budget. 

If a home remodel project is one of your resolutions for 2024 and is in your budget for the new year, this month is the best time to start taking stock of all the things you may need to get the ball rolling once the right time comes around.

What should you start prepping this month for your home remodel?

A line of credit/bank approvals: For your own sense of financial security, you may want to think about talking to your bank about your plans for a remodel. This isn’t necessarily a step that a potential remodeler would require that you have taken before agreeing to sign on. But you may feel better knowing that you have the financial resources lined up for this big, new project.

Pain points: Brainstorm with your family. What areas of your space feel cramped and cluttered and disorganized? Are there traffic zones in your house that just don’t work? What parts of your home make you feel isolated– and not in a good way? Where do you long for more privacy? Think about your most recent time entertaining. Were there spaces that were underutilized or spaces that felt packed? What would make your home more relaxing and home-y to your family and more welcoming to guests?

Storage needs: One of the most popular reasons people remodel is that their current house doesn’t have enough space for storage. If this is the case for you, think about making a list of all the things you would like to scuttle away in storage spaces. This can include anything from sports equipment, hobby gear, seasonal clothing and household items, and extra dining supplies for entertaining. 

Ideas, ideas, ideas: But not too many ideas. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of planning for a remodel. Get on Pinterest and Houzz and click and save to your heart’s content. Layouts, color schemes, patterns, appliances, furnishings, flooring… save whatever tickles your fancy. Don’t forget about old fashioned magazines! Save and cut out whatever you like. But then get together with the family– make a party of it!– and whittle those ideas down. Ideally, you should be able to present to the remodeler a cohesive set of around a dozen images that exemplify your dream project. 

Think about what kind of process are you looking for.

What kind of drawings/plans do you need to see to help you feel confident about a new design/layout? Can you picture a space in your head? Do you find excitement in picking out selections or does it make you feel overwhelmed?

Is it important that the people you hire share your values? This could be a tricky one to figure out. One way to find information about the client experience and company’s culture is to research reviews and look for trends. You can learn a lot from what previous clients have to say. You may find insight into the company’s strengths such as timeliness, project quality, communication and overall vibe of the experience.  

What are some of the key things you should look for in a builder?

We think everyone knows that the best advice about hiring anyone to do just about anything comes from referrals and word of mouth. Talk to friends and family who have remodeled in the past about their experience with their builders. 

Take online reviews with a grain of salt. They can be invaluable in some instances. Bailey’s reviews are spectacular! But keep in mind that sometimes unkind reviews are written by unhappy people, not unhappy clients. That said, we encourage people to check out reviews and look for details and trends in the feedback. It’s true that disgruntled people are often the ones who write back but, fortunately, ours are glowing. We are grateful for our happy customers who have publicly shared!

We leave this list behind with all of Bailey’s potential clients, and we think it’s quite helpful:

5 tips for hiring a remodeling professional:

  1. They should have a set of detailed plans (including electric, plumbing, HVAC…etc). Note that Bailey provides all permitting materials and architectural drawings.
  2. They should have detailed specifications (a narrative describing the scope of work).
  3. Their pricing should be transparent (should be fixed-priced, not “cost plus”– don’t make someone’s bad estimate become your problem).
  4. They should present a detailed schedule (not a guesstimate of time, but a day-by-day breakdown to show all the steps have been thought of and included).
  5. They should have a thorough and clear contract (that talks about payment schedule, permitting, hours of operation, warranty…etc.).

There can be a lot going on in the month of December, no matter what holidays you celebrate, but it is also a wonderful time to reflect and plan for the year ahead. Use your increased “indoors time,” and your already existing time for planning resolutions and budgets, to have a little fun and forecast what 2024 could look like in your “new” remodeled home. Happy New Year to you and all of those who call your house a home!