Angie’s List Report: Home improvement project planning

We all know that proper planning helps projects go smoothly. The bigger the project, the more there is to plan. 

Angie Hicks, the co-founder of Angie’s List, says when it comes to home improvement projects, one has to plan for success. 

Layout the details

“First things first, before you reach out to your home improvement pro, on your next project, make sure you have details laid out of what’s important to you,” Angie said. “Having pictures or examples can make that first conversation much more effective.”

Although you don’t need to have everything planned out at this point, it’s important to set clear expectations early on. 

“Think about how you want the space to feel when it’s finished,” Angie said. “Start by collecting photos of finished projects that you really like and have the right type of feel so whether you’re searching the internet, flipping through magazines, collecting a series of photos can really give a contractor a feel for what you’re looking for.”

Don’t just plan for the finished product. To help the construction phase go smoothly, plan for what will happen in the meantime as the project is being worked on. 

“Consider the impact your project will have on your home and your family before you begin,” Angie said. “Will it impact electrical or plumbing? Also, will you be able to use your kitchen or bathroom? Make sure you have a backup plan for how you’re going to live day-to-day life.” 

Set a budget

Next up, setting your budget. Evaluate comparable homes around you. Going too expensive might mean that your home could sit on the market or that you can’t recoup your expenses. 

Even if you aren’t planning to sell soon, it’s worth thinking about the ROI. Then, it’s time to find the right professional for the job. 

“Reputation matters,” Angie said. “Be sure that you check out the pro you’re going to hire. 

Read reviews, check their insurance, their licensure, make sure they’re bonded.

Interacting face-to-face  

And also, make sure that you’re interacting with them face-to-face, so you know how you’re going to work together during the project.”

If in-person meetings don’t feel right to you right now, try using video chat instead. The important thing is that you can make a connection. 

“Don’t forget the human element, especially if it’s a larger project, you might be working with this contractor and their team for several weeks,” Angie said. “You want to make sure that you have good communication and a solid plan for how your projects are going to go, from start to finish.”

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