You know those family meetings round the kitchen table when there’s a big decision to be made? When families discuss remodeling, the questions they most often consider (and fight about?) come down to the color of tiles and suchlike “make-up” changes. But the conversation should go deeper and ask questions that relate to your family’s lifestyle and plans.
The big question is – how do you want to live in your home? If you think carefully how you want to live, work, play – simply, be – in your home before the remodeling starts, you reduce the risk of unpleasant surprises and disappointments once the work is over.
Here are some guidelines on what you should consider with your family and remodeling contractor.
- How long do you plan to live in your home? If you don’t think you’ll be in your home for many years to come, big changes are not advisable. But, if you want to live there for decades or even leave it to the future generations, forward thinking is in order. This affects the organization of space which should suit toddlers, adolescents, working people and elderly parents.
If you plan on staying, top quality materials will have the best return on investment. This includes durable materials for roofs and floors, isolation, stone exterior, solar panels, etc.
- Are there any health issues to be considered? Do you have parents who plan to age at home? Then the rooms and spaces they use should be on one level. Avoiding stairs minimizes the risk of injury.
Or maybe you have a family member who is physically challenged? Adapting the main level so that the bedroom and the bathroom are on ground level will be most effective. This should also include ramps, reachable light switches, handles, and so on.
- What’s the flow of your family life? Does your home feel cramped and crowded because you are all running into each other? Are you feeling stressed for being late every morning because everyone is getting in your way in the kitchen and the bathroom? Or maybe that big dining room is standing there deserted? Analyze the dynamics of your family – who uses what spaces and when.
Flow in the house can be improved without taking walls down and adding new ones. A better organization of rooms and storage spaces can bring a lot of order.
- Are you energy-efficient? Energy upgrades are a great investment in your home and quality of living in general. Producing clean, renewable energy could save a great deal of money that can be put to much better use than paying utility bills. Plus, even if you decide to move in the future, energy upgrades increase the value of your property.
- What is good about the home? You like the community? The neighbors are fantastic? The garden is your haven from everyday stresses? It’s good to know what you like about your home and what you would like to stay the same.
- Is remodeling better than moving? This connects to the previous consideration. Moving has upfront costs like transportation, closing and broker commissions. The new home could also require redecorating and new furniture. Maybe there is major repair down the road or energy upgrades to be installed there. Make sure what pays off.
Similarly, you should be precise when talking with your remodeling contractor. They should know what your realistic budget is and they should be able to help you maximize the outcome at a cost that is affordable for you.
As a small preparation before meeting the contractor, we recommend you brainstorm your family’s current and foreseeable future needs. Comb the list and set priorities. What would be the crucial improvements to your life quality? Once you have these answers straight, it’s much more likely you’ll be happy and satisfied with the results.