​How to Use the Internet to Prepare for Remodeling

Planning a home remodeling project? You have no doubt heard lots of advice and horror stories. These days it is likely you have also done a fair amount of internet research, both into the project you have in mind and the contractor you will hire. How helpful is the info you find on the web?
 
I’m finding that homeowners are much better prepared to talk about major remodeling projects than in the past just because so much information is available online. On websites like Houzz.com one can find seemingly endless photos of home improvement projects for inspiration.  
 
Houzz is especially useful in the early stages of a project.  Gone are the days when you had to snip photos from magazines; on this website you can gather your favorite shots in an Ideabook that can be shared with your contractor. You can even tag each one with a note to indicate what it is in the photo you like. The photos are high quality and you can search by room, style or even color.

This is great because it helps you get familiar with materials being used today and to develop a focus on the styles and colors desired in the project.  I can do a better job of estimating when I have seen the kinds of finishes, materials and overall feel my client is looking for.

Unfortunately, homeowners are getting some other information that isn’t as helpful as it may seem.  For example, a quick Google search for “remodeling projects that increase the value of your home” pulls up 747,000 results. Yikes! How is a homeowner to know which source is has the right answer?  They all give estimates of what each project would cost, but how accurate are those figures?

While these articles are helpful in general terms, remember that home designs favored across the country differ, particular materials differ because of climate and of course prices will also vary in other regions. My advice is to read them for the info that would apply anywhere—good design principles or color combinations- and don’t get hung up on prices or other specifics that may not apply in San Diego.

Facebook and Nextdoor are other online resources that are helpful when seeking referrals, but social media posts can be motivated by anything so it is important to remember that what is said is not necessarily factual.  The same goes for company websites. It is relatively easy to look good online so a great looking website might mean only they have a good web designer, not that the company is a great homebuilder.
 
Like anything else on the web, no matter how good the company may look online, you still need to vet them yourself. That means verifying license and insurance and talking to their references. Be as selective with the people involved as you are with the materials you choose and you will have a successful remodeling experience.
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