Feb. 11 2021

What to Do When It's Your First Time Remodeling

by Bennett Bottorff

Home remodeling. For some, the idea sparks pure enthusiasm. Others may feel a bit daunted. In some cases, you may experience a bit of both.

While it’s true that a kitchen or bathroom in Seattle is a big undertaking, it doesn’t follow that the experience must be overwhelming. In many cases, the pleasure you derive from remodeling, as well as the quality of the finished product, depends on what sort of start you get, the effort put into the pre-construction phase and, most importantly, the contractor you choose to work with.

Where Do You Start When Remodeling?

The true beginning of renovating a house is when you decide to do it. You may have originally purchased your Seattle home with the intention to change certain features later down the road, or maybe your desire to remodel has grown in recent years as you’ve lived in the space and become familiar with its shortcomings. Either way, you’re now at the point where you’ve decided, “It’s time.” The next question is, where do you start?

Here is a look at some of the first steps you should take when planning a kitchen or bathroom remodel:

1. Develop Your Project Priorities

Everyone has their own reason for remodeling, which includes anything from wanting to add more space and upgrading appliances and fixtures to improving energy efficiency, increasing resale value and creating a floor plan that is more reflective of your lifestyle. Whatever your main reason for undertaking a home improvement project, the first step is further developing those ideas and making a list of project priorities. What is most important to you in terms of the remodel? Your list should include both needs and wants, although it’s helpful to list them in order of priority to give you guidance when designing a renovation plan that fits your desired budget.

Start thinking more specifically about the space, what you like and what you don’t like. That may encompass the color palette, design style, lighting, traffic patterns, the placement of appliances and fixtures, and/or the entire layout. A few other questions to ask yourself include: Who primarily uses the space or will use the space in the future? What is the primary function? Do you need to add more square footage or reconfigure your existing space? The answers to these and others questions will help you dial in on the scope of work required to achieve your remodeling goals.

2. Set a Preliminary Budget

Budgeting for a home improvement project is a nuanced process that involves finding a balance between what you can afford to spend and what you hope to accomplish. There are several factors that influence the cost to upgrade your kitchen or renovate a bathroom. These include the size of the space and its current condition; the scope of work to be done; and the type and quality of materials, appliances and fixtures you select. You’ll also need to think about labor costs, permitting fees and debris disposal fees.

While you don’t need to get into the nitty-gritty of budgeting at the start of renovating your home, you should at least have a sense of average remodeling costs and your maximum price point. Think about how you intend to pay for the project, whether it be through savings, credit or a loan. To get a sense of how much you should budget, reach out to your network of people who’ve recently had remodeling work done. They can share their experiences and provide you with some figures to keep in mind as you prepare for your remodel.

3. Determine if You Can DIY

The next item on your home renovation checklist is figuring out who will do the work. Some new homeowners may be compelled to remodel on their own, either because it seems more cost-effective or because they have the skills. However, keep in mind that more than 30% of the jobs professional home remodelers perform are the result of failed DIY projects, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Unless you simply want to repaint a room, add new window treatments or make other small cosmetic upgrades, it’s prudent to hire the right professional to ensure the success of your project. Although you’ll have to pay for labor, you’ll save yourself the stress of managing and executing an extensive home remodel and the heartache if it doesn’t turn out right or takes more time than you originally intended. Since your home is likely to be one of the greatest investments you make in your life, it’s worth protecting and enhancing that investment with quality work.

4. Find a Remodeling Contractor

If you decide to hire a professional remodeling contractor to assist with your bathroom or kitchen remodel, the next step is finding the right one for the job. As it’s your first time remodeling, it can be helpful to get recommendations from people you trust, such as family, friends, neighbors or coworkers. Additionally, reach out to any companies you may have found during your research that fit your preliminary budget range. The real estate agent you worked with to purchase your new home in Seattle may also have suggestions.

There are several attributes that make a qualified remodeler, including experience, integrity and adhering to high standards of craftsmanship and professionalism. You also want to select a team that specializes in your specific type of remodel. For example, a company that focuses on exterior renovations may not be the best fit for a major kitchen makeover.

Pro Tip

Look at the images that they post on their website or social media. If they post mostly pictures of exterior projects or ADUs, they may not be the best fit for a major kitchen remodel.


Once you have a short list of candidates from the Seattle area, set up interviews so you can learn more about how the companies are structured, how they approach the design process and if they can work with your budget and timeline. Also, ask to see their portfolio or examples of past projects, and get references for former clients so you can hear first-hand about their remodeling experience with your preferred remodeler.

Upgrading Your Home in Seattle

Remodeling your house in Seattle can be a complex and time-consuming project, but that doesn’t mean it has to be unpleasant. At Innovative Home Renovations, our goal is to provide you with a positive home-remodeling experience, in addition to producing the outcome you desire in terms of making your property more attractive and functional. We pay close attention to detail during the design phase, which lays the foundation for an efficient construction process that meets your expectations on cost and timeline.

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