There are many things you need to consider should you decide to remodel your home. When you read through the list below, decide if you want to do all or some of the work yourself, or if you intend to hire others to do it for you.

bright colors for pop

Photo by Janet Akers

Here is a checklist of the primary tasks present in every remodel project:

• Project management
• Design
• Permits
• Site Preparation and Demolition
• Building Foundation
• Framing (flooring, walls, ceiling, and roof)
• Electrical
• Plumbing
• Heating and cooling
• Interior and exterior materials (sheet rock, siding, shingles, etc.)
• Floor finishing (tile, hardwood, carpet)
• Door and windows
• Cabinets, fixtures, appliances
• Finishing (painting, trim, baseboards)

Project management

This task is all about overseeing the progress of a project from beginning to end, dealing with all the phases of work and the people involved. This can be done usually by a single person. The project manager is also responsible for securing permits from the local government and scheduling required inspections. You have to decide if you will hire a project manager or just do it yourself. If you decide to handle this yourself, you might find our Remodeling Workbook and Organizer helpful. It is available in paperback or as an ebook.  Click here to take a look at it. We can also help you find a general contractor in your area should you choose to hire someone to do the project management.  Click here to get started.


What you need to do next is to come up with your remodel design. This design is the blueprint you will present to the local government so you can get a permit. The important thing is you specify what you truly want and be as detailed as possible.  If your remodel is complicated, you might need the help of an architect.

Remodel Payback

It is important to be realistic when it comes to remodel payback. Some remodels add more to your home’s value than others.  If you want the maximum payback, consider finding out what features appeal to potential home buyers and incorporate these into your design.


Once you have come up with your remodel design, the city or county planning office must be contacted to find out about permits, inspections, and other requirements. If you are your own project manager, you will do this yourself. If not, then your general contractor should do it.

Site Preparation and Demolition

Your remodeling project will likely be messy, so you want to protect the rest of your home.  Plan for a space to store equipment and materials.  Consider how you want the contractors to access your site so that their damage is limited.  Find ways to protect both the interior and exterior of your home.

Building Foundation

Depending on the size of your remodeling project, you might want to have the current foundation evaluated to determine if it is structurally sound and can carry any potential increase in weight.


Some remodeling projects include room extensions, and that means you have to change the framing of your walls, ceiling, and / or roof to accommodate it.  This will incur costs so  plan carefully.


Electrical work is important in remodeling, especially when adding a new room to your home. Consider how you want the space lighted and where to place electrical outlets.


If you are renovating a bathroom or kitchen, consider whether you will be using the existing plumbing, rearranging it, or even adding new.  If you are adding onto your home, consider if the new space will affect external faucet placement.

Heating and Cooling

Your remodel may affect the placement of heating and cooling ducts.  If you are planning an addition, you’ll have to decide if you can tie it into the existing heating and cooling system or if you have to supplement what you have.

Interiors and Exteriors

The installation of materials such as sheet rock on the inside walls and siding on the outside walls should also be considered in a remodeling project.

Finishing and Fixtures

This part of the project is what makes the design truly yours.  Look at design magazines and home improvement stores to see what appeals to you in colors, materials, and finishes.  Consider your budget as you decide how to finish your space.  If you think you might be moving in the near future, consider how the materials you like would appeal to future buyers.