Drawing on floor plans

The Remodeling Process: What to Know Before You Start Your Remodel

To get the best results from a remodel, learn as much as you can about the process and make as many decisions as possible before getting started. That way, you waste neither time nor money. Here's what you need to do and know.

Draw Your Dream


Before meeting with any contractors, sit down with paper and a pencil and the members of your family who will have input to discuss the dream home-or room if only remodeling one area, such as the kitchen. Sketch both your needs and wants without thinking about cost or existing floor plan. This will give you a rough sketch that you can use as a starting point for the many decisions to be made during the remodeling planning. Make a copy of the sketch.

Decide Your Goal

Now that you have put your dreams on paper, take a step back and factor in reality. Ask yourself these questions to do so:

  • How long do you plan to stay in your home?-If you are nearing retirement and plan to stay put, consider the remodel a long-term investment in your comfort. If you plan to move in the near future, look at a remodel as a shorter-term investment, opting for upgrades that will satisfy you in the meantime but also add to resale value.
  • Will the remodel meet the needs of your family in the future?-If you do plan on staying where you are and have young children, consider their changing needs. Teens need more room and privacy than toddlers.
  • How extensive are your structural changes?-Do you want to knock down walls to create a more open floor plan? Combine rooms to create bigger ones?

The answers to these questions may change how you view your dream home. For example, it may not make sense to lose an entire bedroom to make a larger, custom master bathroom and closet if you plan to resell in a few years. Make changes on the copy of your original sketch as you discuss these questions.

Get Ideas for Your Renovation

Next, go online to further research tips and find inspiration. Mr. Handyman has quick references guides on a variety of remodel topics, including bathroom remodeling , kitchen design and master bedroom remodels. In each, you will find links to dozens of articles that offer advice and ideas.

For more inspiration, websites such as Houzz and Google image search show actual before and after photos of remodeled rooms and entire homes. Makes notes and download images of what you like; even if you only like one aspect of a room, it helps to have visual representation of it when meeting with contractors. Collect all of your materials in a folder for easy reference.

Set a Remodel Budget

Once you have dreamed big, determined goals and found examples, discuss a budget for your remodeling project. Keeping in mind the investment factor, decide how much you can afford and whether or not you will need to do the work all at once or in stages. Set priorities, such as kitchen first and master bedroom last.

Meet With Contractors

Doing all of the above has prepared you to meet with those who can get the work done. Your professional handyman can go over all of your materials and make suggestions for a final plan. Start by showing him or her your dream sketch, then share your decision-making process along the way. A professional can suggest options that best combine your needs and wants, getting you the home that suits your family now and as far into the future as you will live in it. Not all Contractors prepared their bids in the same manner. Some make liberal use of "allowances" for materials that may or may not be large enough to actually deliver the desired result. Before selecting a contractor, review the bids and ensure that the scope of work and cost figures provided are "apples-to-apples" with other bids. Often times the lowest bids neglect scope of work items, or reference unrealistic allowances. Also, verify that the contractor of choice holds the appropriate licensure with the State / Commonwealth / Province, and that he/she is carries both Workers' Compensation and General Liability insurance in order that your property and your assets are protected. Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.