How to Effectively Prepare for a Houston House Remodeling

10:01 Apr 2023
House Remodeling in Houston

Properly preparing to start a Houston house remodeling is the most important step in moving forward with a home project. The success of the house remodeling project depends on developing an effective working plan on the front side and executing the remodel to that plan on the backside.

So, if you have decided to get serious about a major Houston house remodeling project, there is much to consider if you are an experienced remodel owner or just a novice home owner.

You are already ahead of most homeowners by doing this kind of research like this article before you plunge headfirst into the long list of decisions you will be facing.

There are no real hard and fast rules about the exact order of the procedural steps of planning your home remodel project.

More of following a guideline to avoid getting the cart before the horse. The most important thing to remember is to do your research and have fun. Houston house remodeling is supposed to be a fun and exciting time in your life.

The owner is not supposed to be an expert in these projects but rather be coachable and prepared to ask relevant questions that will qualify a comfort level with a trusted remodeling contractor and other supporting professionals if required.

We have prepared an outline of some important steps to act as a guide to assist you in getting organized and confident with moving forward.

If there are areas of the remodeling process that you are not comfortable with you should share these concerns with your trusted professionals.

Your remodeling contractor should be able to do more than home repairs.

They should be capable of effectively communicating and developing a clear understanding of your needs and wants and translating them into images and ideas that you can understand.

Learn the steps to properly prepare for a Houston house remodeling project

Preparing the Wish List

This remodeling journey normally begins with the owner preparing a wish list. This consists of photo images and product details that the owner would like to incorporate into the remodeling project.

This collection of images can be organized in many different files such as kitchen cabinets, appliances, floor plan layouts, bath fixtures, windows, and paint colors, etc.

These files can be used for developing your product and color boards later in the design process. Web sites like HOUZZ and Pinterest can be used to gather these inspiration instruments.

It is also advisable to assess the possibility of including any major home maintenance projects or home product replacement needs you may address during your upcoming projects, such as new roof shingles or servicing HVAC equipment.

Evaluate the condition and age of the existing products in the immediate renovation area that could be incorporated into your remodeling project. These include such items as windows, doors, roofing, electrical & lighting, and insulation upgrades.

These types of projects can often be completed a bit more cost-effectively during the Houston house remodeling and can prevent disrupting newly finished remodeling work after the fact.

House Remodeling in Houston

Develop a Financial Plan

Developing a financial plan is essential in the early stages of planning your house remodel.

This plan includes preparing large group budget items (kitchen, bathroom, roofing) and the method to pay for these improvements. The budget becomes a work process as you progress through the remodeling plan and design process.

So, the early budget groupings are a best guess lump sum with a plus or minus of 25%.

As you begin the general contractor interviewing process you will get a much better feel of a more accurate remodel budget.

Although until you actually have a detailed plan and have selected the remodel products you want, there will be some questions as to the exact amount of the total cost.

In addition, you should plan some contingency for any unwelcome surprises that can be revealed after demolition. These types of surprises include termite damage, water damage, and dry rot. It is also possible to discover a previous construction error that was missed during the original construction of the home.

Prepare a Remodel Living Plan During Construction

Preparing a plan for making accommodations during the destruction of your home is too often overlooked or left to the end of the planning process to address.

The need for planning a family livability plan depends on the extent of the magnitude of Houston house remodeling.

If your home has multiple bathrooms, it will require much less planning for a new master bathroom remodel.

If you are planning a whole home renovation, you are likely to make plans for temporary quarters for your family during construction.

A word to the wise when it comes to living with major home remodel construction. Your family may save a few dollars but the inconveniences and consequences may not be worth the savings in hindsight.

When a family attempts to live with construction activities the projects historically take much longer to complete. There is also the issue of safety and security to consider when living with construction activities.

When the project is affecting the home’s exterior envelope it can reduce the security of your family from intruders. The greatest inconvenience is the dust and debris that will result from a major remodeling project.

Even when the general contractor is cleaning daily the dust will migrate to other parts of the living area. Frankly, there is no getting away from it during construction.

Screening the General Contractors

Preparing for interviewing a short list of qualified remodeling contractors is an important step in the planning process.

There are plenty of websites that provide frequently asked questions (FAQ) that you can download. The important takeaway from the interviewing process is to find a contractor that you are comfortable with and trust.

They should be a good fit for the quality of the project and a good fit with you personally.

Major renovations can take 4-8 months or longer depending on the project scope of work. The point is that your general contractor will be in your life for an extended period of time.

During the screening process, you want to get an understanding of what a day in their life will be like.

Will they be working with subcontractors or self-performing the work?

Are they open to working with your decorators/architectural designers or only with their own design professionals?

 How do they facilitate onsite inspections and design color choices?

 How often will the actual remodeling company owner be on site and who will be the day-to-day supervisor of the workers?

These questions will help you visualize what it will be like to actually work with them daily.

Develop a House Remodeling Design Team

The primary question you must ask yourself before you develop the design team is doing you want to be responsible for the cost and possible mistakes that can happen from hiring your own architectural designer/decorator or do you want your general contractor to be responsible by directly hiring the design team.

The general argument presented by owners is that they will not get a competitive bid if they turn the entire design-build remodeling project over to the general contractor.

This is usually not the case. During the screening, the owner is sharing their budget with each of the potential remodeler candidates.

There is a lot of conversation about the feasibility and qualification of the target budget during the screening process.

In smaller remodeling projects the owner can often request proposal estimates that also help with defining the actual budget.

Although with larger whole home renovations the owner is better off working with the target budget as a compass and value engineering design and selected products to stay on budget.

Houston House Remodeling

Selecting the Remodeling Contractor

Regardless if the owner hires the architectural designer directly or has the remodeling contractor hire the design team, the owner is far better off selecting a remodeling contractor to collaborate with the designer and provide construction cost insights during the design phase.

If the owner does not get the general contractor involved and waits for the design plans to be completed for bid, they run the risk of substantially over running the budget and having to redesign the home renovation plans a second time.

This will end up costing time and more money than allowed for the project.

Develop your Design Plans

Developing design plans is essential for cost control, permitting, and quality control. A project with a poorly prepared design plan or no plans will always end up out of control.

Depending on the owner’s ability to actually read plans and visualize the finished product will dictate the need for 3D drawings.

The greatest advantage of 3D drawings is the ability to place furniture pieces and introduce color and fabric patterns into the design model.

This can save a lot of time and expense for the owner in determining decorating selections and also aids in evaluating room sizes and architectural features.

Building Permits

When the design plans are complete and the budget has been approved it is time to secure a building permit.

Once again depending on the size and complexity of the project will determine the need for a structural engineer, energy, and mechanical calculations.

The actual structural building permit must be approved before the MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) permits can be approved.

A quick point about renovating a much older home, the building department will normally require that anything that is modified during remodeling will be required to be brought up to the current building codes.

That means that if you are required to replace the entire HVAC system you would be required to install the SEER requirements for the current mechanical code.

Order Long Lead Time Products

The last very relevant point in preparing for a house remodeling or renovation project is to ask your general contractor for a prioritized list of required product selections.

It is best if you can complete the product selections before you start your project. Unfortunately, this is not always possible.

In this case, it is extremely important to understand the long lead time to order products and finalize the purchase. Many long lead time products require shop drawings to be approved before the order is processed.

The shop drawing should be approved as soon as the final drawings have been completed. Critical errors that occur with shop drawings can set the project back considerably.

Great care must be placed in the review and order of products that require shop drawings.

Specialty products can also require a greater than-normal timeline to receive.

If a specialty product is an incremental aspect of a critical path scheduling item, it is a good practice to wait to receive the product before the remodeling contractor begins that work item.

As you can see, there is an enormous amount of required tasks in the planning and preparing of the home remodeling and renovation process.

By following this guide, you can have the confidence that you will have a great beginning to your Houston house remodeling project.


Planning a Houston house remodeling project is a detailed and tedious process best to be left to professional remodeling contractors to guide you through the preconstruction and construction process.

Houston house remodeling is an expensive ordeal by itself, let alone enduring unexpected remodel costs associated with design or construction errors compounding the expense of a home remodel.

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