Remodeling a home can take many months from start to finish. During the process you will need to decide what you want to remodel, what you can afford, how to pay for it, and whether to manage the project yourself or hire a general contractor. The list of decisions goes on and on. Making these decisions is much easier if you are organized, so as soon as you decide you may want to remodel set up a filing system, following the outline below.
Getting Organized An unbelievable number of decisions need to be made during a remodeling process.
For most people, this is a daunting task. To make the job easier and to ensure your percentage of good decisions is as high as possible, you need a strategy to organize the information. You can use a three-ring binder or an expandable file folder, whichever you prefer. You can also buy a remodeling organizer which includes everything you need. The newly released organizer at http://www.remodelingorganizer.com will help most homeowners simplify the remodeling process.
What ever organizer you choose make sure it is durable and easy to carry because you will want to take it with you when you are shopping for materials and whenever you are out, in case you need to quickly contact someone that is working on your home. Start with the following sections and customize the folder as you go. While most of the organization system is optional, keeping copies of all contracts, change orders, invoices, receipts, and permits is a must. These will be invaluable if you have disputes with your contractors and, when tax time comes around, to calculate your investment in the remodel. Here are the sections you can start with:
Ideas These are the photos, magazine articles, and notes on the way you want the finished project to look. Have a section for each room: bathroom, den, master bedroom, and so on.
Quotes Save the brochures and quotations from candidate contractor and suppliers. You may also want to create summary sheets of the quotes you have received for the same items so you can quickly compare them.
Contact Information Each contractor will have a mailing address and several phone numbers (cell, home, office, fax, pager) so keep them handy and in one place. Since most of this information will be on business cards, invest in a business card holder that fits your binder or folder. Once you have signed a contract or a purchase order, you need to keep a copy handy for your reference. If you have questions about price, delivery, or warranty, you can quickly review the document again. Change orders are for changes that you and the contractor agree to make during the project. Changes happen in all projects, so be prepared for them and make sure that all the details of the changes are in writing and signed by both you and the contractor.
Invoices and Receipts Keep records of all your expenses so you can total them at the end of the project to see if you hit your budget or not. You can also use this information later to calculate your cost versus any gains you make on the price of your home to determine your capital gains tax.
Permits Each permit-issuing authority has rules on how to make the permit available to inspectors. Follow those rules, and after the project is done, store your permit in the binder or file.
Listing What You Want Now that you have a system to organize your remodel project, start by creating a list of what you want–a bigger bathroom, new kitchen cabinets, a fourth bedroom, and so on. Once you have the list, group the items by room type. Sort them as well by whether they involve remodeling an existing space or creating a new space.
Once you have this list, try to get a few specific details. Photos from design magazines, a sketch of the layout of the room additions, and decisions on the type of materials, fixtures, and cabinets you want will help you estimate the cost and time required to complete the project.