Ready for a Remodel?
Ask Yourself These Five Questions First
So after months, perhaps years, of talking about it, dreaming about it, and, yes, even stressing about it, you're finally ready to remodel your home. Next step: choosing a contractor. Selecting the right remodeling partner is just one of many important decisions you'll be making over the next several months. Our recommendation: Before you start interviewing contractors, take a few minutes to interview yourself.
Question 1: Why am I doing this?
No, we're not inquiring about your sanity but rather your reasons for undergoing a remodel. Are these proposed renovations for you and your family that you hope to enjoy for decades to come? Perhaps you're looking to maximize your home's value in preparation for a sale in the relatively near future? Clearly understanding your reasons for a remodel will help you and your contractor make the right decisions about where and how to spend your money.
Question 2: Have I done my homework?
No one knows more about the do's and don'ts of a remodel than homeowners who have been through the adventure themselves (and, in our experience, no group of people is more eager to share their perspectives with others). So make sure to reach out to friends and colleagues who have been there. Ask each remodeling veteran to name three things you should do and, more importantly, three things you should avoid when undertaking a remodel. We recommend you write down those tips and keep them handy. You'll be amazed how many times you consult this list (as well as share it with others in search of the same advice).
Question 3: Am I ready emotionally as well as financially?
This is a biggie. Because if you have indeed done your homework about what to expect from a typical remodel, you know that a certain amount of stress can't be avoided. That's why it is so important for you (and any significant others who may be joining you on this endeavor) to candidly assess your ability to take on your own remodel. How are you with unexpected changes to your carefully thought out plans? Or compromising when having to decide between quality, time, and price? Most importantly, how will you support each other throughout the process? By honestly gauging your emotional readiness for the remodel, you can craft a plan of attack that protects your state of mind (and your closest relationships) as well as it protects your budget.
Question 4: What is my decision-making style?
This is not a question we often ask ourselves, but it's one worth asking now. It's essential to understand how you approach decision-making before reaching out to a contractor. Are you looking for a partner who will focus on executing your specific vision to a T? Or are you looking for some guidance and a more collaborative relationship along the way? There's no right or wrong answer here. But addressing the question honestly helps ensure that the way you like making decisions matches the way your contractor likes to work.
Question 5: Do I like the contractor?
This question comes a little later in the process when you're actually interviewing contractors. (Note the plural because you should always interview more than one.) In many ways, though, it may be the most crucial question of all. After each prospective contractor meeting, do a gut check. Did you like these people? A contractor may have the best reputation and portfolio of everyone you meet. Still, odds are that if there is no chemistry in your initial interview, there won't be any several months down the road. Trust your instincts! They're there for a reason.