As Seen in SaddleBag Notes By Jo Parsons 4/26/`9

If you are seriously contemplating a remodeling project, you need to make sure you have your I’s dotted and T’s crossed.

The first plan of action is to ask yourself why you want to make a change and then start scouring magazines, websites and model homes to take in ideas that get you excited and make your project workable. You will need to spend time relating your ideas and work out a budget that stays within your means. Realize that you may not get everything you want and prioritize the projects and finishes. Are you willing to sacrifice the level of granite (yes, they come in levels!) so that you can afford the range of your dreams?

The next step is to meet with a qualified contractor or designer that best fits your needs – you must feel comfortable with this person and know that you can communicate easily. There are several reputable remodeling contractors in our area, and you should feel relaxed when interviewing them. Have your ideas written out - and sketched if possible! - in advance to make sure you are giving the same plan to each candidate. Have pictures of the type of finishes and quality you are expecting. When comparing estimates, you want each contractor to be looking at the same scope of work. The clearer you are about the end result that you want, the better the estimate you will get.

Keep in mind the contractor is interviewing you as well! They prefer to work with clients with a clear vision of the end product and reasonable expectations for the time and cost of the project. Good contractors are busy these days and will avoid an undecided and difficult client in favor of one with a realistic viewpoint.

Lastly, you need to be fully aware of how inconvenienced your life may become during the remodel process and be prepared. Put away all the dust collecting items, move those pieces of furniture you love out of harm's way and plan on doing a lot of dining out. This is a stressful issue for many and not for the weak. In some cases, it is best to move out. depending on the size of the project and let the contractors have your house for the duration.

Just keep in mind, although the process may be hard, it will be rewarding and satisfying in the end.

If you love your home but just need to enlarge it or change it, then do it while you can enjoy it, rather than putting it off and making those changes when you are ready to list it. Do it for you!