You’ve found the home of your dreams, but the kitchen and the bathrooms are dated and old. Remodeling can breathe new life into an older home and provide appreciated value. The source of much inspiration, a remodeling project can be stressful, but it need not be. Follow three steps to guide the process and ensure the project is done right.

1. Understand your space

It’s tempting to immediately start a renovation project. Be patient and wait awhile. Learn what does or doesn’t work. If you entertain or cook large meals, consider maximizing counter space. If you’re an empty-nester, a chef’s kitchen that supports multiple cooks might not be required. Knowing how you plan to use the space is critical and will help make design decisions later.



2. Research your options

If real estate is all about location, location, location, a home remodeling project is about planning, planning, planning. Make a list to identify what must, should and would change as well as any items that won’t change. Use websites such as Houzz.com and Pinterest to gather ideas. Understand the different options in finishes. As an example, there are thousands of tile options — from very basic and low cost to luxury marble and natural stone. Kitchen appliances come in a very broad range to suit all types of budgets.

3. Select the right remodeler

Finding the right partner is important. Consult with neighbors, friends and visit websites such as NARI.org or NKBA.org which have lists of professional remodelers. A general contractor can manage and guide a remodeling project that doesn’t require design services and is a good choice if you already have plans.

Three different types of designers are available based on your project needs: architect, designer or design/build contractor. An architect might be required for a home addition or if extensive interior remodeling is needed. A certified licensed designer has experience in kitchens, bathrooms and other interior space planning. Lastly, the design/build contractor can create the design and build it — all housed in a single company.

Secure three bids and make sure each bid is based on the same specifications. Resist the temptation to select on price alone. Review past work, testimonials and check references. Don’t assume the lowest bid will save money. Hiring a contractor who doesn’t have the necessary qualifications and experience might seem cheaper in the short run but could create risk later, especially if work is not completed thoroughly or accurately.

Remodeling done right can be a satisfying process and add more value to your home and enjoyment for you and your family.