Published on June 26, 2024

Rules to Remember When You’re Remodeling Your Home

In Florida, where the housing market can be as volatile as the weather, remodeling your home can significantly enhance both its livability and resale value. Undertaking a home remodel, whether updating the kitchen, adding a bathroom, or extending the living room, requires meticulous planning and adherence to specific guidelines. In a state known for its strict building codes and environmental considerations, homeowners must navigate these rules carefully to ensure their remodel meets both personal aspirations and regulatory standards.

  1. Establish a Clear Budget

The first and perhaps most critical rule in home remodeling is establishing a realistic budget. This financial plan should account not only for materials and labor costs but also for unexpected expenses that often arise during construction. Start by obtaining multiple estimates from contractors to get a sense of what your project might cost. From there, add an additional 10-20% as a contingency to cover unforeseen costs such as weather delays, material price increases, or changes to the project scope. Having a clear budget helps prevent financial overextension and ensures that your project remains financially manageable.

  1. Choose the Right Contractors

Selecting the right contractors is crucial to the success of your remodeling project. For specialized tasks, such as bathroom renovations, it’s particularly important to hire professionals with specific expertise. For example, a local Orlando bathroom remodeling contractor will be familiar with regional styles and building code requirements, which can vary significantly from one area to another. Ensure that any contractor you hire is licensed, insured, and comes with good references. Conduct interviews, check their previous work, and confirm their credentials to make sure they can meet the demands of your specific project.

  1. Secure Necessary Permits

Many homeowners overlook the importance of securing the necessary permits before starting a remodel. Failing to obtain permits can lead to fines, legal issues, and problems when it comes time to sell your home. Permits ensure that your renovations comply with local building codes and safety regulations, protecting your investment in the long run. Contact your local building department to understand which permits are required for your remodel. This process might delay your project’s start date but is essential for legal compliance and ensuring the safety of your home’s occupants.

  1. Design with ROI in Mind

While personalizing your space is often a primary motivation for remodeling, it’s also wise to consider the return on investment (ROI) of your renovations. Some projects, like updating kitchens and bathrooms or enhancing the curb appeal of your home, tend to yield higher returns than others. Choose designs and materials that will appeal to future buyers. For example, neutral colors and timeless finishes typically attract a wider audience than bold, trendy choices. Investing in quality improvements that increase the efficiency and functionality of your home can also pay dividends if you decide to sell in the future.

  1. Prepare for the Unexpected

Remodeling projects often encounter unexpected challenges, whether structural surprises, delays due to weather, or availability issues with materials. Preparing for these potential obstacles in advance can help reduce stress and project disruptions. Ensure your project timeline has some built-in flexibility to accommodate delays, and maintain a contingency fund to handle additional expenses. Regularly communicate with your contractors to stay informed about the project’s progress and any issues that arise. This proactive approach allows you to handle setbacks more effectively and maintain control over the project’s direction and budget.

  1. Keep Communication Open

Effective communication is pivotal throughout the remodeling process. Ensure you have regular updates and check-ins with your contractors to discuss the project’s progress, changes, or any concerns that may arise. This not only keeps you informed about how the project is evolving but also establishes a clear channel for discussing potential problems or adjustments in real-time. Make sure all decisions and conversations are documented—this helps maintain clarity between all parties involved and can protect you in case disputes or misunderstandings arise later.

  1. Consider the Long-Term

When remodeling, it’s important to consider not just your current needs but also how your choices might affect your home in the long term. For example, choosing energy-efficient appliances and sustainable materials can reduce future operating costs and appeal to environmentally conscious buyers if you decide to sell. Similarly, think about aging in place and accessibility, which could include wider doorways or no-threshold showers. These features can make your home more functional as your needs evolve over time and can be attractive selling points.

  1. Respect the Home’s Architectural Integrity

It’s crucial to maintain a cohesive aesthetic that complements your home’s original style during renovations. Disjointed designs can detract from your home’s overall appeal and might even decrease its value. Whether you own a modern contemporary home or a traditional colonial, the additions or changes should feel seamless. Work with your architects and designers to choose materials and designs that enhance your home’s existing architectural features, ensuring that new additions enhance rather than clash with your home’s character.

  1. Document Everything

Maintaining thorough documentation of every aspect of your remodeling project is crucial. This includes keeping copies of contracts, receipts, warranties, permits, and correspondence with all involved parties. Having detailed records can help in managing your budget, making insurance claims, resolving potential disputes, and understanding warranties. It also ensures that you have all the necessary information about materials and builds, which can be useful for future maintenance or renovations.

  1. Plan for Life During Remodeling

Living through a home remodel can be stressful and disruptive. Plan how you’ll adjust your daily routines to accommodate the ongoing work. This might mean setting up a temporary kitchen if your main kitchen is being renovated, or it could involve relocating to another part of the house or even moving out temporarily. Consider the impact of noise, dust, and privacy, and take steps to minimize stress for your family. Keeping safety in mind, especially if you have children or pets, is also critical during this time.


Remodeling your home can be a rewarding project that enhances both its value and your enjoyment of the space. However, it requires careful planning, open communication, and strategic decision-making. By adhering to these essential rules, you can navigate the complexities of remodeling and achieve a successful outcome that meets your vision and budget. Remember, the key to a successful remodel is as much in the preparation as it is in the execution.

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