10 Questions to Consider Before Remodeling Your Home

If you’re about to embark on a remodeling project, you should know that planning is the No. 1 most important step. Make sure you’re acknowledging certain essential elements of the remodel process, such as schedule, possible issues, budget, investment, and desired aesthetic. 

For a smooth renovation and to be able to clearly communicate with your contractor or designer, you should carefully consider the following pre-remodel questions.

Belltown Condo Guest Bedroom Addition

What is the Problem that You Want to Solve?

Whether you have a growing family, you are dissatisfied with your older home and its small footprint, or your home or room is no longer functional for your current lifestyle, the need for more space is most often the main issue when considering a remodel. 

You don’t have to know the answers to every problem at the start of your remodel. An architect, designer, or remodeling contractor will be able to guide you through the discovery process, oftentimes coming up with solutions you hadn’t previously considered.

How Long Do You Plan to Live in Your Home?

If you plan on occupying your home for less than 10 years, you might want to consider a smaller-scale remodel rather than a whole-house renovation. In order to plan ahead for when you might put your house on the market, make careful choices in regard to design style and colors so that it will appeal to a wide audience and you can get a large return on investment (ROI).

How Much of an Investment Do You Want to Put into Your Home?

Keep in mind that, like the Seattle housing market, remodeling labor and materials are expensive. Recently, the cost of remodeling projects has increased due to a drastic rise in Chinese tariffs (from 10% to 25%) on materials shipped from overseas (such as countertops, tiles, laminates, and lighting appliances).

Seattle is a hotter market than other major cities, with our cost of living 51.6% higher than the U.S. average according to data collected by the Council for Community and Economic Research

Do your research on variables such as the aforementioned data, as well as cost versus value, and decide how much of an investment you’d like to put into your home, and how much of a return on investment you’ll receive if you eventually decide to sell.

[Related: Working With an Interior Designer Part 1: Technical Aspects of Interior Design]

What Style or Aesthetic Do You Want to Accomplish? What is Your Desired Look and Feel?

Browse and collect photos of spaces that speak to you on interior design blogs and social platforms such as Houzz, Instagram, Reddit, and Pinterest. Here you can find inspiration and even connect with others to discuss how to achieve your desired aesthetic and possible DIY decorating tips. 

Seattle is also home to tons of remodel showrooms, and your contractor should be able to provide you with a list of the best ones to visit for inspiration.

Before (top) and After (bottom) of Ballard Craftsman Remodel

How Important is it to Respect Your Home’s Architectural Integrity?

Most people are looking for modern convenience with timeless interior design, and it is possible. If you’re only remodeling one room, you’ll want to consider how that room’s design flows with the other rooms in your home, or how certain changes will affect the home’s original architectural style.

What Can You Save Money on, and Where Should You Splurge?

Think about how you’ll feel when you walk into the newly remodeled space. What are your eyes initially drawn to? What will you be doing the most in the room, and where will you be spending the most time? Or, what is your biggest aggravation now? 

Consider all of this when deciding what to “splurge” on, and what you can do without, or what can be just as acceptable with discounted materials to save you money.

For example, the Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI) reports that 66% of their clients regret not spending more money and placing more focus on kitchen cabinetry and lighting, with most clients splurging instead on refrigerators and cooking appliances.

Green Lake Addition and Bathroom Remodel

How Involved Do You Want to Be in the Design Phase?

Whether you work with an architect, designer, design build contractor, or any combination of professionals, you can typically be as involved as you want to be in the design process. Just remember to make sure you’re happy with the final design plan and schedule before moving forward. Making changes during the construction process can be costly and add delays to the schedule.

[Related: Working With an Interior Designer Part 2: Psychological Aspects of Interior Design]

When Are You Planning to Start This Project and When is Your Ideal Finish Date?

Like with any large endeavor, the proverb “the devil is in the details” couldn’t be more fitting. Putting in the time upfront for planning and scheduling is essential to a smooth process. A good contractor will have a methodical preconstruction process that includes contingency plans. 

The reality is that most homes in Seattle were built in the early 20th century, so you should be prepared for plumbing or electrical issues that aren’t visible or apparent until the walls are opened up. Let your schedule and budget allow for wiggle room when it comes to these unexpected issues or delays.

Would You Consider Staying Elsewhere During Certain Construction Phases if Necessary?

Often you can continue to live in your home during a remodel, despite some inconveniences (for example, if a kitchen or bathroom is being worked on). Be honest about what you can live through. The prevalence of quality Airbnbs and other short-term rentals in the Seattle area makes it easier to spend part or all of the remodel away from home.

Magnolia Kitchen Remodel

What is Most Important to You When You Select a Contractor?

Is your No. 1 requirement for a contractor experience? Speed? Price? Knowing your priorities when it comes to selecting a contractor is important, but you also need to be realistic. For example, you can’t expect top-quality craftsmanship done at lightning speed at the lowest price. The adage “you get what you paid for” is especially true when remodeling your home. Whatever you decide, make sure your contractor knows your priorities and expectations early on in the process.

Contact Harjo Construction today for a consultation! Our innovative and experienced team is ready to walk you through the process of a home renovation and discuss your answers to these questions as well as any others you might have. 

*Featured image is Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU) in North Seattle