Remodeling? Where Should You Start?

Remodeling? Where Should You Start?

Remodeling your home can be a great way to spruce up your house and your attitude! A remodeling project can be as simple as changing your color scheme or as complex and a complete home makeover. The choice is yours. In this article we will take a quick look at some of the benefits of remodeling, as well as the risks and complexities involved. We’ll look at how to get started and outline a few of the benefits and risks of various remodeling projects.


Whether you want to modernize or go retro, whether your project is small or large, whether you hire a contractor or do it yourself, remodeling can be a fun and exciting way to add a little excitement.


Remodeling is not without its complexities and risks. You will do well to think through every project on a step-by-step basis and analyze the costs before you begin. Then think about what could possibly go wrong and how you can plan to avoid these problems. Remodeling can be either a joy or a nightmare. But if you think it through, plan it carefully, and hire the right people, your remodeling project can be sheer joy.



There are several places to begin to think about and plan a remodeling project. The first way to begin is to think about what you would like to change or what you need to change about your house. Make a list of the things you need to do. Then make a list of the things you want to do. This will help you prioritize the projects. A second way to begin is to consider what renovations or remodeling would increase the value of your house. You can get ideas by viewing some new homes or talking with builders or home decorators. A third way to start is to bring in a home remodeling professional to make recommendations and give advice and cost estimates. A fourth way to begin to think about remodeling is to be aware of the sources of frustration with your house.


The top five reasons given by people who remodel their homes are:


  1. To add space or to reallocate space
  2. To upgrade or modernize
  3. To improve energy efficiency
  4. To make the home more functional for aging persons or for persons with disabilities
  5. To increase the resale value of the home


Remodeling to add or to reallocate space can mean knocking out a wall, building a wall, adding a room, extending a room, or adding a second floor. Trends change in the way space is allocated. Homes built in the 1950s have very large “living rooms” whereas today new homes frequently have very small living rooms, large family rooms, or only a great room. If your family is growing, you may need additional bedrooms or a play room or another bathroom. If you find your temper flaring while you wait for a turn in the bathroom, this might be the place to start. There can be several complexities with additions or expansions, such as the ability of the foundation or the wall supports to bear the additional weight, whether local building and zoning codes allow the kind of change you want to make. Sometimes what appears to be a simple change actually ends up involving more extensive work. There are also risks that your investment will not pay off, or that you won’t like the changes, or that your life circumstances will change in ways that require further remodeling, or that you will encounter problems with the contractor or with liability or financing.


Remodeling to upgrade or modernize can take a variety of directions. First, you might want to lighten or brighten the house by adding windows or glass doors or skylights. New houses tend to have more windows and higher ceilings. These are good upgrades to make. The will generally increase the value of your house if done well. You may want to replace appliances with new colors or features. Upgrading kitchens and bathrooms usually brings a good return on the investment. A general clean-up and de-clutter renovation is an excellent investment. But while you consider “modernizing” don’t forget that everything old is new again.


Renovations that improve energy efficiency tend to pay off both in the short run and in the long run. Some of these improvements are relatively affordable, such as changing windows, adding insulation, or adding heat reflecting linings to the roof. For the most part, these upgrades are not very risky, unless you hire a bad contractor.


Making the home more functional for the elderly or for persons with disabilities can involve relatively minor and removable changes or it can involve permanent changes. For example, if you decide to install a ramp, what effect will a permanent concrete ramp have on the resale value of the house? Should you add an elevator or a glide chair for access to a second floor? In general terms, removable accessibility and safety features will protect the resale value of the home.


Renovations aimed at increasing the value of your home can also make life more comfortable immediately. The best advice in this case is to focus on things that clearly make the house more desirable. Changing paint to neutral colors is generally safe. Changing from carpet to hard wood floors may not make much difference. Lightening and brightening should pay off, as should de-cluttering and attending to landscaping. Contractor Selection WorkbookIt is always possible that you will make
changes or improvements now that will come to be considered liabilities later, so be sure you want to live with the changes you make. Unless you plan to sell your house immediately, you might want to concentrate on the kind of remodeling that will make you happier or more comfortable.


Finally, think carefully about trying to do some renovations yourself. Keeping your home safe is a primary consideration.


Renovations are messy in the short run, but making the changes you want in a home or the changes your lifestyle demands, can be fun and energizing. If you have the itch to renovate, think it through, prioritize your needs and wants, calculate the cost, find a reliable contractor or remodeling expert, and make it happen. Remodeling can make an old home look and feel completely new — and you can do it on your own schedule and budget.