Remodeling Guidelines

One of my friends said she was starting to think about remodeling her home, and asked me for some general guidelines that would add to the value of the home as well as its comfort.

  • First, have a clear set of plans. Whatever the size of your project, your plans should communicate clearly exactly what you want. For anything more complicated than changing a sink you should have a designer produce plans, and if any structural work is involved, hire an architect.
  • Engage a qualified, insured professional who will do the work properly and according to your plans. Don’t have your brother-in-law or your neighbor’s handyman work do your work; it will be the most expensive money you ever try to save.
  • Make sure the work is permitted. Virtually any significant remodeling requires permitting. A licensed contractor should get the permit. If anyone tries to talk you into getting the permits yourself, RUN.  A big red flag.
  • Don’t over-build or over-remodel relative to your neighborhood. If you make your house much bigger than the neighbors, or install much more expensive components than others, it might fill your needs—but you will not get your money out of it. On the other hand, don’t go lower-end than the comparable neighborhood properties.
  • If you’re thinking of converting a space, such as a closet into a bathroom, or a garage into an office, talk with a real estate agent about the effect on the value of the property. Some changes might decrease the value, or require additional modifications.
  • Avoid trendy fixtures or modifications. Timeless is better, even if a little boring. A good designer can help with that.

Following these general guidelines will improve the planning and outcome of your remodel.