Chicago Home Remodeling Guide

Step #5 Chicago Home Remodeling Checklist

There is a lot to keep track of when doing a Chicago home improvement project. Your contractor will be in charge of seeing the project through, but here's a checklist of steps to help you along the way.

  • Remodel or Buy?
    Before jumping into renovation of your Chicago home, consider whether your money is best spent remodeling or moving to an upgraded home. If the cost of your home improvements is more than 30% of the home value, it could be a better investment to put that money into a purchasing a new place.
  • Visionary Stage
    Think about how you'd like to change your home and what your goals are for remodeling. Do you want an updated kitchen? Bigger family room? New bathroom? Add a master suite? More open floor plan? Envision how you want the space to look and function.
  • Compile Ideas
    Collect pictures from magazines/Internet and make notes of what you want the remodeling project to accomplish. This will give the contractor or architect a more vivid idea of what you're envisioning. For instance, if you're redoing the kitchen, how do you want the layout to differ from the existing plan to make it more efficient and user-friendly? What style of décor do you like? Do you want the counters to be granite, tile, polished concrete or another material?
  • Crunch the Numbers
    What's the budget for your Chicago home remodeling project and how are you going to finance it? Planning on getting a home equity line of credit? Have savings to pay for it? Also, consider the return on investment for your improvements and how it will impact your resale value.
  • Contingency Fund
    Home construction and renovations often end up costing more than initially approximated. For that reason it's smart to incorporate a cushion of additional funds (5 – 15% of your budget) for unforeseen expenses.
  • Recruit an Architect
    Many Chicago home remodeling projects will require the expertise of an architect. Interview candidates and ask to see examples of their previous work. Get a list of references to call and discuss fees and payment before signing a contract.
  • Hire a Contractor
    Get referrals from friends and family if possible. Contractors should be licensed and have a certificate of insurance. Get at least three bids from candidates and be cautious of extremely low estimates.
  • Written Contract
    It's important to put everything in writing before any work takes place. Verbal agreements and discussions of what will be accomplished are not legally binding. Both you and your contractor need to sign a contract that specifically outlines work to be done, timeline and price of the job.
  • Prep Your Home
    Remove furniture and clear items out of the remodeling zone. Lay cardboard down to protect floors from worker traffic and secure pets in a safe location where they can't escape as people come in and out of your home. When necessary, shield furniture, shelves and other articles from sawdust and drywall powder by placing plastic sheets overtop.
  • Plan Ahead
    Depending on the extent of your Chicago home remodeling plans, your place may be in disarray for a while. This can be difficult to live with. But it will be easier to deal with inconveniences if you anticipate the challenges beforehand and make accommodations in advance. Speak with your contractor about timeline for various stages of remodeling and how you can best prepare for each phase.
  • Begin Work
    After you've hired a contractor, gotten the renovation plans drawn up, secured financing, and prepped the home, it's time start! The contractor will take the reins from here. You can still have a hand in the management by asking for daily progress reports. This will reinforce the contractor's accountability and keep you involved in the process.
  • Settle into Your New Space
    When remodeling and clean up is complete, the last step is to make yourself at home. Depending on the scope of your Chicago home renovation, it may feel like a totally different residence. Introduce your personal touch back into the newly redone space and enjoy the fruits of your contractor's labor!

« Step #4 - Begin Work

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