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How to Prepare for a Remodel: The Do’s, Don’ts & What Ifs Revealed

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Written By Kathleen Jennison

Remodeling your home is much like building new, only you get to live in the mess as it happens. Yes, there will be dust, but you will also have the benefit of watching a new version of your home unfold before your eyes.

I feel like thousands of decisions must be made before and during my remodel. Where should I start?

While this is nowhere near a comprehensive guide to your pre-remodel strategy, it covers the three main pieces that are most crucial to a successful remodel. Believe it or not, these three elements are also the most forgotten.

Create a Plan
Whether remodeling an existing footprint, adding an addition or both, you must start with the end in mind. As you ponder your ideal remodel, keep in mind that functionality is key, from traffic patterns through the kitchen and living areas to the usability of each room.
Don’t remodel merely to gain more square footage. Remodel to increase your home’s function, use and accessibility. Not only will your future self be grateful, but so will any future homeowners, as will your wallet when your home sale pays you back several fold.

If you feel overwhelmed by creating a floor plan, selecting materials, or scheduling and managing the project, please keep in mind that we offer this service to our clients. There is absolutely no reason for you to suffer undue stress before or during your remodel. Let us take this burden off your mind from the very beginning.

Choose a Contractor
Finding the right company to demo, prepare and remodel your home is no simple task. We suggest you start by asking for referrals from friends or family members who have recently had their homes remodeled. If nothing else, do an online search for remodeling contractors in your area and thoroughly inspect their portfolio images and reviews.

If a contractor catches your eye, ask them for two or three referrals to past clients. Be sure to ask those referral sources about the contractor’s timeliness, professionalism and ability to problem solve. Contrary to popular opinion, time and money are not the most important pieces to consider when choosing a contractor, but accuracy and integrity most certainly are

Review All Agreements
Don’t sign any contracts, work orders or installation agreements until you’ve read every word. While it is rare for a vendor to sneak in a clause or two that would hurt your project, homeowners are often caught off guard if their project goes south and they discover that they are responsible for much more than they had planned. Never assume that a contract or agreement is in your best interest. Keep a paper trail and don’t move forward based on verbal agreements.

As an interior design firm, a large part of our service is acting as a liaison between the contractor and the homeowner. We can help you navigate the paperwork, timelines, budgets and backorders with practiced ease. ■

Before becoming an interior designer, Kathleen Jennison worked as a certified public accountant for a national firm. A near-fatal car accident changed her career path and life forever. She suffered serious brain injuries, and her doctors suggested she take art classes to help with her rehabilitation. With her newfound love for design, she studied at the Art Institute in Sacramento, obtaining her bachelor’s degree in interior design. She is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and has served as the director of marketing for the National Association of Remodelers for the Greater Sacramento area. In 2009, she started KTJ Design Company.