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A handy-dandy guide to starting a home remodel.

In Eureka Springs, Arkansas, our home is our haven. Our nest. Our pad. Our abode.

We pour our hearts and souls into our homes and keep them well for our family life. Apprehension and inexperience keep many homeowners from pursuing renovation projects that would make their homes more functional, enjoyable and comfortable. Getting your hands dirty on the front end with some planning and preparation is the best blueprint for a successful remodel project. Consider these tips from Gary White with JC Penney Home Services:


Although it may sound obvious, the first step is to decide what you hope to accomplish with your renovation. At the least, begin to outline rough ideas to discuss with an expert. Reaching out to contractors before you've determined a basic idea for your project can waste time and money. Spend time listing the must-have features, as well as some nice-to-haves if the budget allows. Also, think about the overall functionality, design and layout. If you get overwhelmed or need ideas, don't hesitate to turn to online showrooms or magazines for inspiration. Once you create your plan, you'll be ready to get the ball rolling on everything else.


If the sky is the limit, skip ahead . . .

. . .but if you're like most homeowners, money matters, and so does setting and sticking to a budget. Have a clear idea of what you can afford to invest in your renovation before you get started, and if necessary, research the financing options available to you. Look for financing that provides deferred interest or low monthly payments to help manage the project cost. Setting a clear budget can help keep your contractors accountable and it goes a long way toward ensuring you can enjoy your finished project without regret or having to make adjustments down the line.


To help set your plans in motion, there are numerous online tools you can utilize to simplify each step of the process including design, budgeting and more. Check out JC Penney, Lowes, Home Depot, Restoration Hardware, and IKEA. These merchants will help with one-stop-shop for the entire remodel in most cases.


Unless you have the time, skills and patience, you'll want a licensed and insured contractor to lead the project when you're ready to get your renovation in motion. They can also be a big help in a historic place like Eureka Springs, where you need permits and approvals to make renovations on some homes on the national register or on the historic loop.

It can be wise to solicit multiple bids, not only to ensure you get the best value, but also to find someone whose work, style and experience is most in-line with the needs of your project. After all, this person/team will be a big part of your life during this fairly stressful time period. Always check references and reviews and verify the contractor's standing with local associations such as the BBB.


Remember that you'll need to create a work environment that is safe for your contractors and protects your valuable possessions. Establish a clear path to the project space for easy access as well as removal of debris. Furniture, appliances, room furnishings, valuables and breakable items should be removed from both the path to the work site and the work site itself. If your renovation project will involve an essential room, such as the kitchen or a bathroom, make alternate arrangements, such a creating a makeshift kitchen with the bare necessities, in another part of the house.

By following these tips, setting a plan, making a budget and finding a trusted contractor, you'll be able to put worry aside and proceed with your successful home remodel. Here's wishing you the best of luck on your remodel project!


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