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Eric Rothenberger

Remax Central

4 Questions to Ask Before That Remodel

If this is the year that you're going to undertake some minor—or major—remodeling projects, we've untapped four critical questions to ask yourself before you start the project.

According to the latest blog from Paul Improta, president & CEO at Underwriters, Inc., as soon as you're ready to start tearing down walls and interviewing contractors, ask yourself these four key questions to make sure you’re ready for the work—and excitement—to come.

1. What’s my motivation?
Devon Thorsby at U.S. News & World Report points out that understanding the motivation behind your project affects how you apply your budget, how you'll prioritize tasks throughout the process, and whether you tap professional help. Start by getting an initial feel for the project by looking online, adds Leah Tuttleman, an interior designer certified by the American Society of Interior Designers and designer for Re-Bath, a full-service bathroom remodeling brand.

2. How flexible is my budget?
It’s rare for your estimated cost to remain static over the course of a home remodel. As a rule of thumb, prepare to spend at least 10 percent more than you originally planned, Improta says. Also make sure to calculate labor and material costs, permit fees and any necessary increases to your home insurance coverage.

3. Which updates will increase the value of my home?
For good reason, kitchen and bathroom remodels make up the majority of home improvement projects. Homeowners who upgraded these spaces saw their home values increase 83 percent and 81 percent, respectively, according to the most recent Houzz and home study, and one third (33 percent) of kitchen renovators believe that their home value has increased by at least the full amount of the project cost post-renovation.

4. Can I do the work myself, or should I hire a professional?
Large-scale renovations will require expertise from a contractor, so do some research to ensure you’re hiring the right people for the job, says Thorsby. If you don't know exactly what to ask potential electricians, plumbers or general contractors, Tuttleman suggests that if you can't describe what you want, find a picture of it. As for DIY projects, Improta says to be sure that you’re equipped to do the work safely so that you don't wind up making mistakes that will cost you more in the end.