Meridian Homes transformed a lakefront house in Rockville with additions that blend seamlessly with the existing architecture.

A Remodeling Checklist

Careful planning will keep your project on track

“How long will my project take?” As a home-remodeling specialist, Jonathan Lerner of Meridian Homes hears this question all the time. The answer, he says, is that each renovation is unique and therefore has its own timeframe. Lerner helps clients understand the process from start to finish, and recommends the following timeline:

ESTABLISH YOUR GOALS—The first step is to develop clear objectives for functionality and aesthetics. Determine the true purpose of your renovation and how you want your home to function and look once it is finished.

DEVELOP YOUR BUDGET—Whether you’re remodeling a room or two or embarking on a whole-house renovation, you’ll need to develop a budget and stick to it. Make a prioritized wish list that can be accomplished in stages in case your budget will not allow you to do everything at once.

CONSIDER THE IMPACT—Think about how the timing of your renovation will impact your life. Unanticipated snags can occur during construction, so build some flexibility into your schedule.

CHOOSE YOUR BUILDER—Do your homework. Interview each prospective candidate about their process and how they plan to stay within an agreed-upon budget and timeline. Understand the scope of your project and what it will cost. Once you’ve identified your builder, it’s time to determine if your goals are achievable.

AGREE ON A TIMELINE—Listen to your builder; are your expectations reasonable? If you have a certain date in mind for completion, be clear about that. You should arrive at a timeline that makes you happy and to which your builder can realistically adhere.

NAIL DOWN THE DESIGN—Some builders have in-house architects. Others work with outside professionals. You should expect to be very involved in every aspect of the design process either way. To adhere toyour budget and timeline, you’ll need to select all finishes and materials at this point.

UNDERSTAND PERMITTING AND LOCAL REGULATIONS—Every local jurisdiction has its own rules and regulations. An experienced builder will understand local permitting processes and regulations and will know how your project will be impacted.

MINIMIZE CHANGES—Changes cost time and money. Think carefully about your choices before construction begins.

ENTER INTO A DETAILED CONSTRUCTION AGREEMENT—Your construction agreement should include approved architectural plans, detailed specifications and selections, finalized pricing and timeline. Be prepared to move out of certain areas—or, in the case of a whole-house renovation, to move out of your home completely.


Pro Tips

“When a total rebuild of your home exceeds the cost of remodeling, it makes more sense to renovate. Renovation experts add creativity and craftsmanship to perfect the home you love.” —Kevin Gilday, Gilday Renovations

“After 20 years in commercial and institutional architecture, we are glad to see residential windows catching up in size and energy-efficiency, as innovations in framing allow for greater expanses of glass.” —Eric Carle, AIA, runningdog Architects