The first and most important question you should answer before starting any type of home remodel is how much it will realistically cost. Typically, there isn’t a straight-forward answer to that question without scheduling an on-site consultation and paying for a detailed estimate and design. Because no two projects and no two homeowners are the same, the total cost of your project will depend on multiple variables. This means that even if your neighbor a few houses down has the exact same floor plan as you, built in the same year, your total cost could come in more or less than theirs simply based on your unique scope of work. You also must consider the level of remodeling you intend to do – whether it is a full-gut project that involves moving walls and rearranging the original footprint, or if you just want to update the space you have with new paint, tile, counters, etc. The types of materials, finishes, hardware, and appliances you choose also impacts the final price. For example, two homeowners with the same kitchen layout will have different totals if one chooses standard elements, such as a basic undermount sink and chrome faucet, and the other chooses high-end elements, such as a farmhouse-style sink with a brushed gold faucet. Of course, everyone wants the more expensive options often featured on HGTV renovation shows. Unfortunately, these shows tend to create unrealistic expectations regarding the actual costs, timelines, and processes involved in home remodeling.
As exciting as it is to remodel your home, one thing that has to be considered beforehand is a realistic budget. No one likes to talk money up front, but trust us, it’s better to establish your financial parameters as a first step rather than a last step! With all of the inspiring home renovation shows and pretty home transformation photos on Pinterest, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a potential remodel. Unfortunately, those TV shoes and online photos almost never tell the whole story, nor do they go into the details of actual project costs. For that reason, the picture of a high-end luxury remodel at an astoundingly low cost is painted in the mind of the consumer, creating a serious case of sticker-shock when the real price quotes are presented!
Open-concept floor plans have become one of the most sought-after features among home buyers and homeowners alike. As a remodeling company, the majority of the projects we do involve some extent of removing or shortening walls to create a more open, airy overall feel. Among the many before and after transformations we share, the ones that include a wall removal are by far the most impressive. It’s amazing how different a space can look and how much better the area can be utilized once unnecessary walls have been removed!
One of the top requests we get from our clients – whether they are remodeling their current home or have recently moved into an older house – is to have the popcorn ceilings removed.
These textured ceilings, also known as popcorn ceilings, acoustic ceilings or even cottage cheese ceilings, were very popular in the 1970s and ’80s as a quick and easy way to hide imperfections. Unfortunately, this texture can be very difficult to match if you have cracks or holes in need of patching. The uneven surface also catches more dust, allows for cobwebs, and really makes a home’s interior look stale and dated. These reasons alone are enough to make a homeowner opt for removing the texture! This is why we include popcorn ceiling removal in just about every home remodeling project we complete.
In today’s tech-savvy society, just about everything is done online. You can order almost anything you can imagine, and have it delivered directly to you in as little as two days! You can order your groceries for the week, pay online, and have them dropped off at your doorstep without talking to anyone or changing from your bathrobe. Whether we realize it or not, the convenience of ordering products and services online is influencing the way we think and the way we shop. This generation has become shockingly accustomed to making rash decisions and receiving quick service. And, if you don’t like your purchase? Send it back and buy something else with just a few clicks on your phone or computer. The quicker the transaction and the least amount of human interaction, the better. This might sound like an incredible convenience when you’re browsing the web, but this mindset can be dangerous when you’re considering larger investments – like a home remodel.
Being in the remodeling industry, we have regretfully heard story after story from homeowners that have had terrible experiences with their previous contractors. It never ceases to amaze us how many people have been lied to, deceived, and taken advantage of by so-called “remodeling professionals.” As unfortunate as it is, it’s true that there are contractors out there that will do whatever it takes to get your money. Not only do they lack integrity in their word, but also in the quality of their work. It’s no wonder the term “contractor” tends to put a sour taste in homeowner’s mouths!
Just about every major remodeling project we complete includes replacing the existing flooring, either in the remodeled area or throughout the entire home. Flooring selection is a big decision that can influence the overall cost, installation time, and lifespan of the remodel as a whole. A common question we receive from our clients is which is a better choice – classic hardwoods or luxury vinyl plank? The two are very comparable and make excellent options for hard surface flooring depending on what the individual homeowners prefer.
In order to best compare the two, we suggest taking into account 4 major qualities of hard surfacing flooring:
One of the popular questions we get from homeowners that are considering a remodel is what options will give them the most return in the future, should they someday choose to sell their home. Although our ideal clients tend to be individuals that are not intending to move – those that have found their “forever home” and plan to live the rest of their life there—it is still a good idea to know what projects will provide the greatest ROI in the event that a move is necessary. Most contractors and realtors will probably tell you that a kitchen or bathroom remodel is going to be the best investment in regard to ROI. This is true, however, it’s important to know that this is only the case if you move a minimum of 10 years after your remodel. Moving within a 1 to 5 year timeframe is simply not a wise decision from a financial perspective, as the expense will be greater than the return within such a short time. For that reason, we typically are not the best fit for those that are working with investment properties or flip houses.
While it would seem that any update to your home would be good for your ROI, you should be aware that there are some projects that can actually lower the value of your home! Our owner, Mike Sr, will tell you that many times when he meets with a potential client to discuss a new project, he will spend the majority of the discussion trying to talk them out of it. If what they are thinking might serve an immediate need, but the long-term effect of the project on the value of the house will be a negative, he tries to get them to look at alternatives to serving their need. This might sound blunt, but our goal as a design-build firm is to provide our clients with honest facts and guidance when it comes to major home remodeling decisions. We want to educate you on the pros and cons of your potential project to help you choose the best option for the long-term!
Here are five home projects Mike Sr almost always tries to talk clients out of:
Preparing for your first home remodeling project requires a good bit of research. The first step, of course, is exploring how much your specific project will cost and if it fits within your budget. There is nothing worse than getting your hopes only to find that your dream project isn’t a realistic option financially! Unfortunately, if you’re new to remodeling, you’ll likely be surprised at how much the process actually costs. Even if it’s not a “full gut” or a major renovation, the estimated cost can still be higher than most homeowners expect. One great resource we can provide when it comes to the average cost of various home remodeling projects is this cost vs value report. The report is location-specific and is updated each year, making it a great tool for those in the early research phase of their project.
Many homeowners come to us with the initial statement that they already have their remodel figured out – they know how they’d like the floor plan, they know what walls they’d like to remove, they’ve picked out the paint colors, hardware, tile selections, and so on. Some have even gone as far as pre-purchasing their fixtures and appliances before they have even hired a contractor. In those cases, we often hear the phrase “I don’t need design assistance” or “the design isn’t necessary; can’t you just build it?”
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with planning ahead (we completely understand the excitement of it!) most homeowners don’t quite understand everything that goes into a kitchen or bathroom remodel and why the design process is necessary. Remodeling a kitchen or a bathroom without an organized design process would be like having a home builder construct a house without any building plans to go by. Even if the builder is experienced and knowledgeable, odds are that the completed house would not be his best work. Everything from intricate details like plumbing and electrical lines to larger portions like structural supports need to be addressed beforehand to ensure a quality finished product.
At Medford Design-Build, our design process is tried and true. With over 30 years of experience, our team has ironed out all the details so that nothing is overlooked during this critical phase of your project. Here are some helpful truths about the design phase in home remodeling to help you understand why it’s not something that can be skipped!
1. The term “design” is not limited to aesthetics.
In the world of home remodeling, the term “design” tends to make people think of paint colors, textiles, and tile selection; i.e. all of the pretty stuff that ties a room together in the end. Yes, realistic 3D renderings are an essential part of our custom design packages to aid in conceptual and visual understanding for both our team and our clients. We definitely want to make sure we’re all on the same page about how the space will look and function before anyone starts swinging a hammer! However, in some cases, the “design” is not only about the finished look of the project, but also the organization of the design itself. Even if a project doesn’t require visual floor plans or renderings, our Interior Designer, Stephanie, still creates a “design sheet” for every project we do. This document (separate from the Scope of Work document) is a part of the process regardless of whether or not the client has already selected their materials. The reason for this sheet is to list out every part of the design that is to be addressed, to ensure none of the pieces are overlooked. For example, a kitchen design sheet would specify the sink style and model, the drain strainer, the faucet, and the disposal under the “plumbing” section, while the “electrical” section would include details regarding the switch plates and outlets, undercabinet lighting, and fresh air vents that need to be added. Each section covers all of the little details you may not have considered on your own (sometimes as many as 60+ items!) even if you have previously selected all of the larger, more obvious items.