Before you start planning for a home remodeling project (and before you start talking to remodeling contractors) it’s helpful to define your remodeling priorities. That is unless you are willing and able to spend whatever it costs to get whatever you want.

However, for most homeowners, budget is either an absolute or an elective constraint. Budget amounts typically fall into the following categories, which is the reason you need to establish priorities.

  • WHAT I WOULD LIKE to spend, if possible.
  • THE MOST I AM WILLING to spend to get what I want.
  • THE MOST I CAN spend no matter what.

When you have limits on what you can spend or are willing to spend, you may or may not be able to get all of what you hope to accomplish. Hence the need to prioritize.

Photo: list for remodeling priorities

So some of the questions to ask yourself when establishing your priorities might be do you want to get:

  • the absolute best
    • no matter the cost
    • within what you can afford or am willing to spend
    • only in certain areas and within what you would like to spend
  • the best value (value = your ideal balance of quality/service desired and price)
  • the lowest cost estimate/proposal no matter what the actual long term costs may be in service, problems, unexpected upfront costs, repairs or other added costs

Three Bucket Method

Many homeowners find that putting what you want for your project into one these three priority “buckets” is helpful in case you have to trim back to stay in budget.

  • Need to have – or the project is not worth doing.
  • Want to have if at all possible – within what I am willing or able to spend.
  • Wish to have – but are things I can live without if it puts me over budget.

What to Prioritize

There are actually two sets of priorities you need to establish.

  1. For the project itself
  2. For the remodeling contractor

Both are equally important. Your priorities will be unique to you. If your budget limit won’t permit including everything you would like, sharing your priorities with your project’s design and construction team will mean you are more likely to get what is most important to you.

Here are more details to help in establishing your priorities

Part 1: Setting Project Priorities                                   

Part 2: Setting Remodeler Priorities

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