Home renovation projects have increased over the last several years and show no signs of slowing. They account for more than $485 billion in the United States annually. That is because they are both a good investment and make your home more comfortable and desirable to live in.
Home renovations can be stressful though. They can cause disruptions to everyday life and routines. Apart from the cost, the stress and disruption are the biggest reasons people delay the remodeling projects.
The good news is that hiring a contractor that is sensitive to your lifestyle and expectations, along with some home helpful tips, can go a long way toward alleviating stress and making the process much smoother. This guide will walk you through the home renovation journey so that you will know what to expect and can plan accordingly.
Before we talk about what to expect during the process, let’s quickly discuss finding the right contractor, as this can make all the difference in the world.
Finding a Contractor
When it comes to hiring a contractor for a major home renovation, it’s important to conduct thorough background research. Start by asking friends and family for referrals, as well as browsing contractor websites in your local area. You can also reach out to the Better Business Bureau and check online client reviews for any prospective contractors. Digital platforms like Google and Facebook can also offer valuable insights into a contractor’s reputation. Try searching for the name of the contractor and go through a few pages of search results just to see what comes up. By casting a wide net and gathering as much information as possible, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision when choosing a contractor for your home renovation project.
While still new and not many businesses will have them, the Google Guarantee badge (green checkmark) is given to businesses that pass a Google screening and verification process. When businesses are backed by the Google Guarantee and customers visit the business through Google Local Service Ads, Google may, at its discretion, reimburse customers up to $2000 of the amount paid for the initial service, if the customer isn’t satisfied with the quality of the work provided.
For in-depth information on what to look for when evaluating contractors, check our guide on How to Find the Best Remodeling Contractor
While the specifics of the remodeling process may vary from contractor to contractor, here is an overview of what you should expect from a reputable company.
Initial Inquiry or the Discovery Phase
Once you zero in on a potential contractors, you’ll need to start a conversation with them about your vision for your home. These may occur over the phone, via Zoom call, on-site, or in-person.
For example, Michael James Remodeling offers a no-risk, no-cost virtual consultation, but charges a nominal fee for the initial site visit which is then credited back during the next phase of the project.
These initial conversations are a chance to discuss your project, your goals, as well as some important details. More importantly, they allow you and the remodeling contractor to evaluate each other and your project to make sure everything and everyone are the “right fit.”
After the initial conversations, the contractor will want to visit the project site so, they can take pictures and measurements and get a more tangible idea of your vision for the space. This also is a chance for you to discuss with further specifics about your renovation
Design Development Agreement
From here, the contractor will likely ask you to sign a “design development agreement” (DDA) that will describe the scope of work and give a rough estimate of the cost involved. This allows you and the design team to move onto the next step, the design phase.
Schematic Design Phase
Using the measurements and information from the site visit, the architects can create a more detailed schematic design for your project. This is also a chance for the team to get as much information as possible from you so that they can begin planning. You might discuss options for layout, different home components, and materials used.
From here, the team will flesh out every aspect of the design. This includes any “collateral impact” each change in the renovation will have on other areas of the home. This refers to how major changes to a room, basement, or home itself will affect other areas of the building.
A good example is the removal of a kitchen wall that might compromise the structural integrity of that area of the home (see video below). The design team will formulate solutions to these issues, then present them to you for approval, sharing drawings or other visuals to give you a sense of the proposed direction of the renovation.
Project Assembly and Selection Process
Once you approve the design development drawings, the contractor will use them to build a budgetary framework for the project. Depending on the renovation, they might include different proposals, based on options you may have already discussed.
Note that this may require subsequent trade visits to the project site, so the team will have a solid grasp of how each modification will impact the home. While this can take time, it is an essential component of the planning process and will make the construction phase run much more smoothly.
During this phase, you can again discuss the details of the project with the design team. You can ask questions and make selections on everything from cabinetry to flooring, plumbing, HVAC, lighting, and paint color.
Final Estimate and Project Presentation
The final estimate package and project design presentation are crucial milestones in the remodeling process. This is where all the planning and preparation finally comes together, and you get a clear picture of what your dream remodel will look like.
Your remodeling contractor will present you with a comprehensive estimate package that includes a detailed breakdown of all costs associated with the project. This will include the cost of materials, labor, permits, and any other expenses related to the remodel. You’ll also get a detailed timeline for the project and an overview of the construction process.
During the project design presentation, you’ll get a chance to review the final plans, renderings, and drawings, and make any necessary changes or adjustments. This is your opportunity to ask questions and ensure that your vision is accurately represented in the final design. Once you’re satisfied with the plans and estimate, you’ll sign the agreement to move forward with the project and begin transforming your home.
Once the contract proposal is signed, work can finally begin.
Preproduction and Permitting
Before actual construction begins, the pre-production phase lays the groundwork for what’s to come. A project manager is assigned, materials are ordered, approval is obtained from county or municipal governments via permits for any major changes to your home.
Additionally, you may need to request permission from your homeowner’s association (HOA). Make sure you allow enough time for the HOA to review the proposal.
The project manager will review the construction process with you and answer any questions you might have. This stage is all about setting the foundation for a smooth and efficient construction phase.
During the construction phase of a remodeling project, you should expect a lot of activity. This is the stage where the transformation of their space really begins. Depending on the scope of the project, there may be demolition of existing features, and structural changes to walls and windows. The process can be noisy and dusty, but a good remodeling contractor will take measures to minimize the disruption to daily life in the home.
Plumbing and electrical work will also be carefully coordinated and installed by licensed professionals to ensure your safety and satisfaction. New flooring and cabinetry will be installed, and finishes such as paint, trim, and hardware will be applied to create a polished, cohesive look.
Finally, any appliances will be installed and tested to make sure they are in perfect working order before you enjoy your newly remodeled space. Throughout the construction process, your project manager will keep you informed of progress and any necessary adjustments to the timeline or budget.
Throughout the construction phase, you should expect regular communication from you remodeling contractor. The project manager should provide regular updates on the progress of the project, and clients should feel comfortable asking questions or expressing concerns. A good contractor will work with the client to ensure their needs and preferences are met, and will make adjustments as needed throughout the construction process.
Completion and Warranty
The final walkthrough and warranty phase is the last step of the remodeling process. During the final walkthrough, the contractor will go through the finished project with you to make sure that everything is to your satisfaction. This is your opportunity to point out any concerns or issues that need to be addressed. The contractor will take note of any items that need to be fixed or touched up and create a punch list. Once the punch list is completed, you will sign off on the project.
After the project is complete, reputable contractors will offer a warranty. This can vary from contractor to contractor, so be sure to understand what is included in the warranty. Typically, a warranty will cover workmanship and materials for a specific period of time. If any issues arise during the warranty period, the contractor will come back to fix them at no additional cost to you. Be sure to keep a copy of your warranty in a safe place for future reference.
At this point the renovation is complete. You can begin enjoying your newly remodeled home or addition.
At Michael James Remodeling, we know remodeling can be stressful, but we want the entire process to be exciting and enjoyable for you. We will walk you through every phase of the project, so that there are no surprises. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.
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