At some point, most homeowners contemplate remodeling and upgrading their existing house. Whether the remodel is motivated by a need for more space, a need for newer materials, or because the home needs more functionality, it’s important to step back and consider several factors before getting started.

Home remodeling projects can be extremely large and overwhelming ventures. There are many decisions to make and lots of aspects to consider. Even deciding how much of the home to remodel and the rationale for the renovation is a big decision. The important thing to remember is that remodeling is an investment. Whatever home improvements you make, no matter how extensive, should not only increase the functionality of your house but they should also increase your home’s value. And the best place to start is by making a plan.

Start with a Plan

Like any large project, a home remodeling project should not just begin because of a fleeting idea. There are too many facets to consider and choices to make to just start and then find you don’t like something or want to change your mind part-way into the project. Everything you want to improve or modify should be well thought-out, researched, and discussed.

The following are factors that should be included in the overall plan for your remodeling project.

Have a clear vision – It’s probably a good idea to start by looking through magazines or visiting home improvement stores for ideas and inspiration. Everyone has their dreams and ideal things they want in a home. Before you decide to put a Jacuzzi in your master bedroom, consider if that will work in the layout of the house, add to its function or even fit into the budget. It’s a good idea to prioritize the top 5 -10 must-haves before making a definite plan.

Size – How much of the home are you willing to remodel? Are you going to renovate every room or just the kitchen and dining area? Are you willing to work with the square footage you already have or do you need to add on a room or a second story? If adding on is an option, you’ll need to check if permits are needed or if there are neighborhood covenants to consider. Of course all of these questions will depend on your budget. And there’s no reason you can’t have an extended plan to just do a portion of the house at a time.

Budget – When it comes to a home remodeling project, there’s an incredible range in cost, depending on the project, materials, and scope. From the size to the design, the amount of demolition and rebuilding that will need to be done, the customization and luxuries that you want to add – all of this will influence the cost. So one of the most important decisions to make during your planning process is how much are you willing to spend? Once you set a budget and discover your dreams might be bigger than your pocket book you can always scale back or put off part of the project until another time. Always plan for a contingency of 10 to 20 percent of your budget to cover any unforeseen discoveries that are made during the renovations.

Style and Design – Everyone has a personal style and design they want in a home. Not only should you agree with the other decision makers in the family about this style, but you should also pick something that will stand the test of time. Don’t pick a style that is so trendy that you will need to update again in 3 years or get so customized with your lighting or built-in cabinets that it’s impossible to resell later. There are lots of styles to choose from including rustic, industrial, or modern to name a few and once you make a plan to use this style you’ll want to stick with it as it will influence the structure and materials you will choose as well.

Look to the future – Even if you are not planning to remodel the whole house at once it is important to plan ahead to future phases. This is especially relevant if these future phases will need duct work, plumbing, or electrical changes. Even something as small as a misplace light or electrical outlet could cause problems for later renovations.

Contractor – Hiring a contractor might be one of the best ideas you can make when doing a whole-house renovation. Contractors like Homefront Insights in Gaithersburg, MD can help make the home remodeling process simple and stress-free. Not only will they be able to tell you what will work or not work with your current home, they’ll provide suggestions for design, style, and the most current technologies in home improvement that you may not have considered. They are also invaluable when it comes to hiring sub-contractors such as plumbers, electricians, and carpenters who specialize in different areas of the home.