7 Things to Do Before Calling a Pro(page 1 of 2)

After evaluating your budget, scope and needs, you'll be prepared to discuss realistic remodeling goals with a contractor.

HGRM-House-Counselor-ladder_s4x3 Remodeling can be messy. Understand what's involved before jumping in head first.

You squint your eyes as you stare at your old kitchen, pretending you're seeing white Shaker-style doors, stainless appliances and a walk-in pantry. Wouldn't it be nice to have a new faucet with a sprayer that works, too? And how about a gorgeous, tile backsplash?

Then you snap back to reality, sitting at the kitchen table with your head in your hands, stressing out over where to begin. Don't make a single phone call to a contractor until you consider these seven things.

What's the Plan?

Whether you're a house-hopper or staying put for the rest of your life, the following considerations will determine how and what you choose to update.

How might your circumstances change? Space for new babies or aging parents will require careful planning. Don't forget the furry kind of new additions, either. Pets can affect your choices for materials and product durability.

To Do: Write down your current life phase and where you plan to be in 5-10 years.

Know Thyself

How tolerant are you of chaos? It's fair to say that packing up a room, making a bunch of decisions and living through a remodel can be wildly stressful to the most even-keeled people. Talk to your family about how everyone deals with the unknown, then determine your comfort level with remodeling.

Life situations will guide the types of construction projects you can realistically undertake. If you're eight months pregnant, is it a good idea to remodel your kitchen? Probably not, but a few upgrades could be a good, temporary solution.

To Do: Make a list of the rooms you wish to remodel. Beside each project, determine who will be impacted, how the space should function and when the remodel needs to be completed.

Know Your Comps

Is your home the nicest on the block, or is it a fixer-upper on a great street? Knowing how your home value compares to other homes in your neighborhood is a smart way not to over-improve, allowing you to get the best results out of the smallest budget.

To Do: Call a local Realtor to collect information about the home values in your neighborhood.

Set the Scope

Consider what you'd like to accomplish for each room. A down-to-the-studs renovation or a basic decor refresher? You may need an interior designer, an architect or a contractor — but you won't know until you decide how in-depth your remodel will be.

If you you've never managed and scheduled tradespeople, and this isn't a task you'd like to take on, look for a general contractor. Having a knowledgeable person at the helm will cut down on your remodeling time.

To Do: List the tasks you want accomplished and determine what type of professionals you'll need hire in order to carry out your vision.

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