Create an ideabook for your next remodeling project!
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Some kitchen remodel considerations:
1. Come up with a rough budget of what you want to spend on the overall project. Consider if it will involve related projects like new windows or painting the whole house. Learn how to avoid "scope creep"
2. Come up with a wish list of everything you want. That means new appliances, cabinets, countertops, tile, flooring, lighting and so on. The more detailed you are, the better off you'll be when talking to professionals. Do you want professional-grade appliances or is the next level down OK? If you have a $30,000 budget and you want a built-in refrigerator and a 36-inch professional-grade range, any professional will tell you that your budget is going to be tough to meet.
3. Pull tear sheets and create ideabooks of your vision. This can help a professional get an idea of the level of expectation and finish detail required in your project. It's tough to communicate needs clearly, especially about visual things like finishes. Showing professionals photos of kitchen designs you like can help them see your taste level and prompt them to ask the right questions.
4. Get referrals for designers, architects and contractors. Ask friends and relatives for referrals and look at professional portfolios on Houzz to see if their aesthetic matches your own. Call pros to set up phone interviews and see if they'll come meet you in person. Ask if you can visit some of their job sites or other projects. This really helps you see the quality of their work.
5. Check references and ask about fees. Some homeowners start by hiring a contractor, and others start with a designer or architect and use contractors referred by him or her. Others hire design-build firms that do it all. Remember, you aren't comparing apples to apples here, so it will take some time to figure out who is the right fit.
6. Meet the pros at your home and start seeing who you like, who asks the right questions, who is willing to give you some rough numbers, and what he or she needs to do so. Some firms don't work this way; they might have showrooms and you have to meet them on their turf. Many contractors want a full drawing set before they'll bid on a job. Others will be willing to do a walk-through and give you some rough numbers, nothing line-itemed or detailed.
I recommend doing this with an experienced contractor; a novice may underestimate or overshoot the budget by a wide range. Ideally, having some basic space, electrical, mechanical and lighting plans will help a contractor get you a more accurate estimate.
This is only the first phase of pricing. You'll want to reestimate based on detailed, finished plans before signing a contract. Otherwise you run the risk of getting those dreaded changed orders down the road.
Next: How to Plan Your New Kitchen
What You Get for 3 Basic Kitchen Budgets
How to Remodel Your Kitchen
Find Your Kitchen Style