News & Media
man painting a wall
Tim Kitchen / Getty Images

Planning a Successful Home Renovation

Remodeling projects can be chaotic, so proper planning and communication is essential to finishing on-time and within budget. Have reasonable expectations.

FORT LAUDERDALE – Question: We plan on fully remodeling our kitchen and having some other work done on our home. What can we do to make sure the process goes smoothly? — Ted

Answer: Planning properly and having reasonable expectations is essential when getting into any major project.

When hiring contractors and drawing up plans, try to be very specific about what you expect so that the result looks like what you intended. This will help ensure that what you had in mind matches what the contractors are doing.

Renovations are complex enough without fundamental misunderstandings.

The contract and plans should be as detailed as possible, listing specific materials and the model numbers of the appliances. Make sure the contract has a timeline that includes penalties for missed deadlines. Since some delays are inevitable, make sure the deadlines are reasonable.

Read and understand the contract, including its fine print, so everyone is on the same page.

Stay involved in the project as it progresses, keeping in mind the careful balance between participating and getting in the way. Check the plans before they are submitted to your municipality to ensure they match the contract.

While your contractor will pick the subcontractors, you are responsible for ensuring they get paid, so find out who they are. If your contract calls for progress payments, get proof that the subcontractors have been paid for their work. You can write a joint check to your general contractor and the sub if your payment will be used to pay them.

As the general contractor is finishing up, have the results independently inspected so that all defects can be resolved.

Before you make the final payment, check that your general contractor got the proper municipal inspections and closed the permits so that you do not have a problem when selling your home years later.

You can significantly lower the risk of something going wrong by being thorough, attentive, and ensuring the contract is adhered to.

That said, you should also have reasonable expectations, as nothing goes exactly as planned.

Copyright © South Florida Sun Sentinel, Gary M. Singer. All rights reserved.