6 tips to prepare for your remodeling project

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1. Clean up and throw out. Renovating is a great opportunity to optimize your space to wind up with a better, cleaner, more beautiful environment. Start now by getting rid of books and kitchenware and go as far as furnishings.

Get rid of stuff: The decreased clutter will make your contractor’s job easier, and could also speed up the project.

2. Consider moving out. The reason is simple: if you’re not in the home, the contractor can work faster, which will be cheaper for you, and save your sanity. If you have kids, renovate when they’re at camp, or have them stay with a grandparent. Send the cat to a cat sitter, and take the plants out – they’ll get covered in dust. And as for anything else in the house that would be irreplaceable if damaged, put it away in a safe place.

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3. When choosing how and what to renovate, consider your needs and stage in life. Are you about to start a family? Have your kids just left home for college? Your individual circumstances matter in the kind of home you need, so take them into account and renovate accordingly. Be practical, and above all, don’t go overboard in doing something so distinctive that it’ll make it harder to sell your home (unless you plan to live there forever). In fact, the best time to think about selling your home is when you are buying it.

Ask yourself: What aren’t you willing to give up?

4. If you are renovating with a partner, negotiate what you need to in advance. You and your spouse may have identical taste in everything…but it’s unlikely. You may already know his style, but looking at kitchens or model homes together may highlight some of the key areas where you’re going to have to negotiate and compromise. Talk it over in advance and ask yourself, what are you willing to give up (and what aren’t you willing to give up)?

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5. Accept that the entire home renovation process requires a certain degree of commitment. A renovation project begins when you start the planning stages, get inspiration, and hire your team of professionals to help you. You need to consider that the entire endeavor will take time.

6. Be aware of “soft costs” and know that they’ll come up. Make sure that permits filing fees, and other seemingly-minor expenses get tacked on to the total price of your project. Small costs pile up.