Venturing into the world of home renovation is uncertain ground for many homeowners. Not everyone went to design school, so if your choice of new kitchen flooring runs in the beige linoleum style, then we're looking at you. But fear not, homeowner. If your taste is notoriously suspect, just turn to the professionals. You can either hire a professional remodeler, or you can scour the Internet for tips from the pros and try it DIY style.
Save Some Dough
One of the biggest stressors in a home remodel is the cost involved. There are several things the pros recommend you do in order to save a little dough. One great way to cut costs is to avoid shipping and consider buying used. Let's say you found the perfect appliances for your kitchen on the Internet. Before you e-purchase, try to source something similar locally. Even a home delivery is less expensive than shipping and it typically includes setup of the new appliance and disposal of of the old -- for a fee. If you really want to save, borrow a friend's pickup truck and do the heavy lifting yourself. Craigslist is a great source for buying local. Many appliances are barely used and being sold because the owner just doesn't like the style or can't fit it into their new pad. Their loss is your gain when you buy it off them at a nice discount. Do make sure you test it before taking off with it, because it won't come with a warranty. But if it's an energy-efficient model, it will give you some savings on your next tax return.
Choose Your Contractor Carefully
The easiest way to lose money or get substandard work on a home renovation is by rushing through the contractor hiring process. Going with the cheapest contractor could end up costing you in the end. As they say, you get what you pay for. This could mean walls that aren't quite straight or tile that cracks underfoot. Hiring your contractor is the single most important part of the process, so take your time. Professionals recommend that you get at least three estimates and a solid list of references. And you actually need to call the references. Ask questions about the time frame, budgeting and craftsmanship of the contractor, and don't go with anyone who doesn't get the absolute best recommendation.
Know What You Want
Even if you don't have a keen eye for design, you should go into the project with a good idea of what you'd like it to look like and how much you want to spend on it. In fact, take your budget and tack on 20 percent for anything that comes up that wasn't anticipated. It's ideal to start with an architect, but an experienced contractor should also be able to take your initial ideas and figure out how to implement them in your style. If you have the extra cash, you can always hire a professional designer to be your sensei. No matter who you're working with, be sure that you have a relatively clear idea and some way to demonstrate it to those who are doing the work. Magazine tear sheets or even rough sketches of your dream look are helpful visuals to have at all initial meetings.