Expert Guide: Where To Start When Remodeling a Home

Are you considering remodeling your home but not sure where to start? Look no further! In this expert guide, we will provide you with all the information and tips you need to kickstart your home renovation process. We’ll dive into the remodeling process, you’ll learn how to decide what to remodel, and how to set a realistic budget. Plus, we’ll reveal money-saving tips that will help you make the most of your home remodeling journey. Get ready to transform your living space into a dream home!

GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange & Ventura Counties with licensed general contractors. We speak to homeowners every day about planning an effective home remodel. If you have limited experience with remodeling, keep reading for our full expert guide!

What Does the Remodeling Process Entail?

The remodeling process involves careful planning, budgeting, and finding a contractor. Once plans are finalized and permits obtained, construction work begins. The project is completed with finishing touches and final inspections.

Sourcing Materials

When remodeling a home, sourcing materials is a crucial step to ensure quality and compatibility. It’s important to check for any special permits or regulations related to certain materials in your area. Work closely with your contractor or designer to ensure that the sourced materials align with your vision for the remodel. By selecting the right materials, you can create a beautiful and functional space that meets your needs.

Various remodeling materials - flooring, stone, tile

Demolition and Reconstruction

Demolition is the initial step in remodeling, involving the careful removal of old structures and materials. It paves the way for the reconstruction phase, where new materials are used to build or remodel the desired space. Planning is crucial during this stage to ensure both safety and efficiency.

By following a systematic approach to demolition and reconstruction, homeowners can transform their living spaces and achieve the desired results, while also considering the environmental impact and proper disposal of waste materials in a landfill.

Final Touches and Inspection

Adding the final touches to your home remodel is an exciting step that brings the project to life. Whether it’s painting the walls, installing fixtures, or adding decorative elements, attention to detail is key to achieving a polished and cohesive look. Once the work is complete, an inspector will check the electrical, plumbing, and structural components to ensure they meet safety and building code requirements. This crucial inspection guarantees that your remodel is completed correctly and meets all necessary regulations and standards.

How To Get Started When Remodeling a Home

Assess your needs and goals for the home improvement project remodel, considering both functionality and aesthetic preferences. Set a budget to determine how much you can afford to spend on the project. Research and hire a reputable contractor or architect who specializes in home remodeling. Obtain any necessary permits and approvals to ensure compliance with local regulations. Create a detailed plan and timeline to keep the project organized and on track. Take into consideration potential challenges or obstacles that may arise during the remodeling process.

Decide On What To Remodel

When deciding on how you’re remodeling a home, it’s essential to assess the areas that need the most attention or improvement.

Assess the current state of your home, identifying areas that need improvement, such as the dining room or kitchen. Determine your goals and priorities for the remodel, whether it’s improving functionality or efficiency, updating the style, or adding property value. Create a comprehensive plan that includes a detailed scope of work and a list of necessary materials.

icons for kitchen, bathroom, backyard, and more in home

Also, consider your budget and prioritize which rooms or aspects of your home you want to focus on, taking into account the square footage of each area. Seeking advice from a professional contractor or architect can provide valuable insights into the feasibility and cost of your remodeling plans. By carefully weighing your options, you can make informed decisions to create the home of your dreams.

Identify a Realistic Budget For Your Project

Before embarking on your home improvement journey, it’s crucial to establish a practical budget that aligns with your financial capabilities. A clear budget will enable you to prioritize your renovation goals and make informed choices about allocating funds.

Think about factors like project size, materials, labor costs, and any unforeseen expenses. Gather quotes from contractors to get an idea of the overall expense. And remember to include a contingency fund of at least a few thousand dollars for unexpected circumstances (typically 10-20% of your budget, to be safe).

Exploring Financing Options

Exploring financing options for your remodel is essential. Homeowners should take the time to research and compare different loan options to find the most suitable and affordable financing for their projects.

From home equity loans to personal loans and credit cards, there are various options available to break down your cost into smaller monthly payments. It’s important to consider factors like interest rates, repayment terms, and fees when evaluating these options.

Seeking guidance from a financial advisor or loan officer can also provide valuable insights into making the right choice.

Research Materials and Finishes You Want For Your Space

It’s also important to research materials and finishes that align with your style and budget.

Consider factors like durability, style, and budget when making your selections. Take the opportunity to visit showrooms or attend home improvement expos to see materials and finishes in person. Additionally, consulting with interior designers or contractors can provide expert advice on material selection.

Researching local suppliers and comparing prices will help you get the best deals on whole-house materials.

Man looking at building materials

Decide Who You’ll Need For Your Remodeling Team – Designers, Architects, General Contractors, and Sub-Contractors

When embarking on a remodeling project, it’s important to decide who you’ll need for your remodeling team. Start by determining the scope of your project to understand what professionals you’ll require.

Hiring a designer can bring your vision to life and ensure cohesive design throughout your home, while an architect will assist with structural changes and compliance with building codes.

professional architect working on plans

A general contractor will oversee the entire project and coordinate with subcontractors who specialize in specific tasks. By assembling the right team, you can ensure a successful remodel that meets your goals.

Start Meeting With Contractors and Getting Estimates

When you begin the process of remodeling a home, it’s important to meet with multiple contractors to compare their expertise, ideas, and estimates. Discuss your budget and timeline with each contractor to ensure they can meet your expectations. Getting multiple estimates will help you determine a fair price for your project.

Don’t forget to ask for references and examples of previous work to assess the contractor’s skills and quality. Consider factors like experience, reputation, and communication skills when choosing the best contractor for your remodeling needs.

Importance of Staying Organized

Staying organized throughout a home remodeling project is crucial. It helps you keep track of budgets, timelines, and project details.

By staying organized, you can prevent delays, ensure efficient communication with contractors, and minimize stress. Utilizing project management tools and creating a detailed plan can help maintain organization throughout the process.

Additionally, proper organization allows for easy access to important documents like permits, contracts, and warranties. Creating a centralized space or digital folder to store all relevant information and project-related communication will help you stay organized throughout the remodel.

Deciding What to Remodel in Your Home

When it comes to deciding what to remodel in your home, there are a few key factors to consider.

First, assess the current layout and functionality of your home to determine areas that need improvement based on your priorities.

Next, prioritize remodeling projects based on your budget and the overall value they will add to your home. Research and gather inspiration for design ideas that align with your vision for each space, and make a list of the specific changes or upgrades you want to make.

Finally, create a detailed remodeling plan including a timeline and budget to stay organized throughout the project.

Identifying Rooms for Upgrade

It’s important to identify the rooms that will benefit most from an upgrade. Start by assessing each room’s functionality and prioritize the ones that are frequently used or have outdated features. Consider which rooms have the potential for increased value or improved livability with remodeling. Keep your budget and time constraints in mind when selecting rooms for an upgrade. For expert advice, consult with professionals to determine the highest return on investment.

Maintenance and Repairs

Prioritize the maintenance and repairs of your home before starting any cosmetic renovations. Structural issues and plumbing or electrical problems should be top priorities. Regularly maintain your home’s systems and address small repairs to prevent larger, costlier problems in the future. Consider the lifespan of various components like your roofing or HVAC systems for replacements or upgrades. Don’t overlook the importance of regular cleaning and upkeep for a well-functioning home.

Roof in need of repairs

How Can Homeowners Save on a Home Remodel?

To save on your home remodel, start by setting a realistic budget and sticking to it. Prioritize your projects and focus on the most important areas first. Consider DIY options for smaller tasks to save on labor costs. Shop around for materials and compare prices from different suppliers.

Consider Long-Term Benefits, Not Just Short-Term Costs

If you’re remodeling a home, it’s important to consider the long-term benefits rather than just the short-term costs.

One way to do this is by investing in energy-efficient appliances and materials, which can lead to significant savings on utility bills over time. Upgrading insulation and windows can also improve energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs. Choosing durable materials and quality craftsmanship can save you money on future repairs and replacements.

Additionally, incorporating smart home technology can increase convenience and potentially lower energy consumption. Prioritizing sustainable and eco-friendly options not only contributes to a healthier environment but may also qualify you for tax incentives.

Consider Cheaper Alternatives For Renovation Materials (flooring, stone, ceramic, etc)

When remodeling a home, it’s important to consider cheaper alternatives for materials.

Look for options that offer a similar look and feel but come at a lower cost. For example, you can choose laminate flooring instead of hardwood, which is more budget-friendly. Consider engineered quartz countertops as a more affordable alternative to natural stone. Opt for vinyl or composite siding instead of expensive wood or brick.

Prefabricated cabinets can also help save on kitchen remodeling costs. By exploring these alternatives, you can achieve your desired aesthetic while staying within your budget.

Don’t Move Major Fixtures (plumbing, electrical, etc)

Always remember to consider the cost and time implications of moving major fixtures such as plumbing and electrical systems. By keeping these fixtures in their current locations, you can save money on labor and materials.

In addition, leaving major fixtures untouched can simplify the remodeling process by avoiding the need to reroute wiring or plumbing. This way, you can allocate your budget and efforts towards other aspects of the remodel, creating a more efficient and cost-effective renovation.

Make Decisions Early, As Change Orders Can Cost You

When remodeling a home, it’s crucial to make decisions early on to avoid costly change orders. Planning your remodel thoroughly and having a clear vision from the start can save you from unnecessary delays and expenses. Working with a reliable contractor with a good track record can also help minimize the need for change orders. By making informed decisions early in the process, you can ensure a smoother renovation experience and stay within your budget.

Looking for a home remodeling contractor? GreatBuildz is here to help. Get matched with the perfect pre-vetted contractors in the Los Angeles County, Orange County and Ventura County areas, contact us today at (818.317.3567) or visit our website.


Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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