Remodeling? Have a Plan to Ensure Success

Written by Posted On Sunday, 03 September 2006 17:00

With the housing market softening in many areas throughout the country, some homeowners are choosing to remodel to create their dream home rather than buy a new house, while others are opting to spruce up their homes with a fresh look in order to gain top dollar at resale. Many people do summer remodel projects, but now, with children back in school, some homeowners are ready to finally get a long-wanted project underway.

Whether you’re looking to create a more spacious modernized kitchen, a welcoming great room, or a calming meditation room, you’ll find that deciding on a specific plan and sticking to it will pay off.

Create Your Dream. The first step is often the most fun. Visualize what you intend to do with the current space you have. Will you knock out a wall, simply change color, redo a floor or add a story? Let your imagination run wild. You might come up with ideas that seem too lofty, but don’t worry. It’s better to consider them and later pull on the reins to slow down the imaginary fast-moving remodel than it is to finish the actual remodel project and then wish you had considered something else.

Use easy-care materials. Items such as cedar, colored concrete, colored plaster, and stainless steel help to make a home durable over the long haul. When cedar is used over time it oxidizes and turns gray. It’s often used on exterior walls of homes. Coloring concrete is an alternative to painting it. The color is mixed in with the concrete to create the desirable look and can be used on the interior and exterior on walls, steps or floors. A colored plaster can help minimize scratches because the color goes all the way through. Stainless steel, because it doesn’t rust, is an appealing option for not only appliances but also for railings.

Study trends. Before you head out to hire contractors or start your remodel project on your own, make sure that you spend some time flipping through magazines and visiting homes you’d like to model your project after. This way you can learn from others’ mistakes and you can also pick up good ideas that you may not have considered. Most remodel projects are aimed at creating comfort for the homeowner, but sometimes a remodel is being done before the sale of the home in order to make it more appealing to general public. If that’s the case, it is particularly important to study remodel trends. Again, using easy-care products and materials will likely help increase the resale value of your house.

Use the Internet. There is a wealth of information, resources, and ideas available to homeowners without even leaving their home. There is even software that you can purchase or sometimes get free based on a trial basis that helps you draw your remodel project.

Start a remodel book. This is a great tip for people who are moving as well. Put everything that has to do with your remodel in a three-ring notebook binder. This will help prevent you from endlessly searching for a telephone number, receipt or business card during a chaotic time. Collect articles, brochures, estimates, etc. and place all of these items in see-through plastic pages or envelopes in your binder. Take before, during, and after pictures and place them in the binder as well. Your budget should also be put in this binder.

Consult experts. Even if you’re going to do your own work for the remodel, always consult experts; it will pay off. You can still do the work yourself but you’ll have a better understanding of how the experts would tackle the remodel project.

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website:

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

Contact Phoebe at (858) 259-3646 or Visit for more information.

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