165-house-checklistIf you’re considering a kitchen remodel, the right information can save you much time and frustration, not to mention money. Here are some kitchen remodel tips to ensure you’ll be happy with the process:

Do your research before you settle on a design

Changing plans halfway through a remodel is one of the most costly mistakes homeowners make. According to Consumer Reports, altering the design after the remodel starts can add $1500 to the project budget. Even if you’re anxious to get started, take the time you need to research things, and be sure your design is the right one for you.

Check out your contractor

A good contractor can turn your kitchen into a dream-come-true space for cooking and entertaining. Unreliable contractors cause delays, expense, and even safety hazards. Check out a potential contractor before you hire him. Refer to online review sites, the local Better Business Bureau, and ask for a list of references from past customers. Asking friends for recommendations can help, too.

Get everything in writing

One of the most important kitchen remodel tips is to get everything in writing. After all, this is your home you’re letting someone work on. Make sure all costs for labor, materials, insurance and incidental costs (such as workman’s compensation for the contractor’s staff) are spelled out. As with any other significant financial agreement, always read the fine print.

Don’t forget the less exciting parts of your remodel

Many homeowners focus on the visible elements of a kitchen remodel, such as lighting, countertops, and appliances. All those things are important, but so too are the things you won’t see. Improper plumbing can cause water damage, and poorly-installed vents can cause odors to linger where you prepare your food. Make sure your contractor has staff with the proper training to work on those systems, or hire someone who specializes in those areas.

For “getting started” tips for your remodel, take a look at the kitchen remodel survival kit: