A Simple Home Remodeling Checklist

There is no doubt about it: just planning a renovation can be time-consuming and stressful—hunting down  a contractor, pursuing construction permits, securing the financing. Here are some remodeling prep tips from home repair expert Mike Holmes, star of HGTV’s “Holmes on Homes,” and of the recently launched Holmes: The Magazine to Make It Right, to help you get started.

Plan: Know your needs

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  • Do your homework. Start with a list of preferences for such items as lighting, flooring, and appliances–and include brand names. This will keep you and your general contractor on the same page about the costs and quality of the work.  The more details you can provide the better.
  • Put your ideas on paper—make sketches and draw up floor plans to discuss with your contractor.

Budget: Control spending

  • Don’t just nail down products you want your contractor to use but also call around for estimates for how much they cost to install. Factor these in along with miscellaneous expenses such as dining out or booking a hotel room when and if construction makes the space temporarily unlivable. This leads to a realistic budget.
  • A good rule of thumb is to set aside 10-15 percent more than you figure your renovation will cost.

Hire: Ask the right questions

  • Important questions to ask the contractor include:
  • What warranty do you offer, and what does it cover?
  • May I see a copy of your business license
  • Are you going to acquire the correct permits for the job or will I?

For the complete guide to renovating your home step by step, consult the February 2011 issue of Holmes Magazine, on newsstands January 11.

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