“How should I start my home remodel?”

Home RemodelIs a typical question that I get from homeowners when they call me. In fact, I got a call the other day from a client who said just that. The couple has a small, two-bedroom, single story home on a large lot where they have a lot of options.

They were looking to add onto it, but also gave me everything that was on her mind. The homeowners were thinking about adding on a master bedroom suite. They were maybe thinking about doing a separate accessory dwelling unit. She had ideas on flooring, and walls, and lighting. All this information, she just started to just basically throw ideas at me on the phone. In the end, she said, “I’m so overwhelmed, I don’t know how to start.” That is a typical thing that I hear from homeowners. It’s because they look at the whole design and construction.

That can be very overwhelming.

Let Start Off Small – One Bite At A Time

It’s like that proverb, how do you eat an elephant? You don’t eat it all at once. You eat it one piece at a time. That is how you have to approach your home remodeling project is the same.

Let’s just break it down to the very first thing. If you are thinking about remodeling your home, the first place you want to start out is deciding what you can and can’t do. Of course, you can just hire me as your architect and I will take care of these steps. If not ready yet to call me, you’re going to want to pay a visit, to pay a visit to the local building and planning department.

The planners will be able to determine what you can do with your property. Some locations, you can do just about anything you want. In California Central Coast, there are a lot of regulations to make sure that the neighborhood remains the same, that the height of the building is limited to a certain height, maybe to preserve view corridor and things like that.

A Little Research

You want to check in first with the planning department of your local jurisdiction. Sometimes it’s at a city level, sometimes it’s at a county level for your particular area. But you just go down there first and say, “Hey, this is what I’ve got, and this is what I’d like to do. What is possible here?”

I do have homeowners who sometimes say, “Hey, let’s not tell them all that we are going to do?”. It’s just not worth it. In this day and age where more things are computerized, and the assessor’s office is tracking what is being done to your home. Frequently when you go to buy or sell, the first thing that will happen is your realtor will go down to the assessor’s office and pull a record on your property. This record will identify what exactly has been done (with a permit).

How many bedrooms and baths the assessor’s office ha, because that’s what you legally can put in a description for your property. It just doesn’t make sense to try to skate around to save a few dollars here and there, because ultimately you will pay for it in the end.

How you want to start your home remodeling project is let’s just start with step one, and that’s research what can you do. You find that out at your local planning and building department.

How Can I Help?

I appreciate you reading all the way through on this blog post. If you have any questions, feel free to put it down in the comments below. Or share this post with a friend if they are thinking about doing a home remodeling project. Have any questions directly for me, drop me a line on my email, mike@michaelsmitharchitect.com.