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Six steps to a smooth remodel

A little foresight can save a lot of remodeling grief.
A little foresight can save a lot of remodeling grief.
Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user Brock Builders

So you’ve decided that it’s time – you’re going to remodel your house. Before you do anything else, take a deep breath. It’s a heck of a commitment – but it doesn’t have to take over your life or your checkbook. Houzz has some suggestions as to make your remodel as smooth as humanly possible. After all, you can’t plan for every contingency, but you can use foresight and research to make sure that your costs and stress are kept to a minimum.

Here are six steps to doing just that:

1) Be prepared to spend on design help. It’s likely that you don’t have time to research all the materials and technology needed for your remodel. Professionals do. Architects are trained not only to understand what’s going to look good, but what’s also going to function properly. They also understand the complexity and cost of these jobs. Don’t skimp on this element – you’ll regret it later.

2) Be part of the team. Remember: it’s your design project. You need to participate from the start in order to keep in the loop as to what’s going on with it. Here’s where you need to emphasize open and honest communication – don’t assume the other members of your team just know what you’re thinking and feeling.

3) Set your goals and follow them. Create a list of priorities and refer back to them frequently. When you’re faced with challenging decisions – and you will be – you’ll have a blueprint for how you’ve envisioned this project proceeding. That lessens the chances for costly distractions.

4) Set your budget – and add at least 10 percent. You need a construction contingency for the items that are critical – and that doesn’t include blowing your budget on a fancy backsplash. You may well run into things you didn’t expect, such as shoddy work from years earlier, and you’ll need to take care of those in order to get the job right. Having a cache of cash will help you do that.

5) Don’t have attachment issues. Namely, don’t get hooked on an optimistic timeline. Best intentions are great, but chances are you’re going to run into something that’s going to push your timeline further than you might have expected. Make sure you have a backup plan so that you’re not counting on moving back into your house on a specific, fixed date.

6) Keep construction implications in mind before you begin. Knowing what your choices mean before you make them can save you a lot of grief in the future.

Happy remodeling!

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email

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