If you have a number of remodeling projects you’d like to tackle but are unsure where to start, our highly rated experts offer their advice on different approaches to determine what you should do first.

The necessities

A house is a big investment, and you want to take care of it by first taking care of any necessary repairs or updates as opposed to luxury upgrades. Make sure items such as the roof, windows, doors and exterior siding are in tip-top shape.

“Protect the investment you have,” says Mike, a manager of a highly rated building company near Tarrytown, NY. “What’s falling apart? Is a new furnace considered a repair or a remodel? I don’t know, but if it’s necessary to keep the house operating, then it’s OK.” Westchester County has such a wide variety of homes and properties.

The list

Once you’ve updated all the vital items, determine a list of your wants. “Create a prioritized wish list,” says Stacy, owner of an experienced design firm that just finished a project in Alpine, NJ. “Obtain estimates for the entire wish list and then create a budget, ensuring that all costs are captured. Then decide what items on the budget can be pursued at the desired time.” Bergen County, NJ is full of designers but you don’t always need one. D & D does many projects with designers and without.

Contractors, architects and designers are good sources to help figure out if everything can be done at once, or how holding off on one project may affect another.

The reasons

Is your family expanding and you need more room? Are you empty nesters now that your kids have flown the coop? Or are you prepping the house for the real estate market? Where you are in life determines, to an extent, which remodel makes the most sense.

“Any renovation is about the return on investment — what can they do that will give them the most return on their investment?” says Ken, longtime resident of Rockleigh, NJ. “Renovating kitchens is one of the safest ways to recoup your investment, along with bathroom renovations.” In Rockleigh, all the homes are historic and preserving Old World charm is important. D & D has a lot of experience with this kind of project.

For homeowners who want to sell their home, D & D recommends consulting with us to help prioritize your to-do list; we have helped sell a lot of homes, recently one in Chappaqua, NY and one in Sleepy Hollow, NY. For those who plan on living in the house for a few more years, seek a general contractor’s advice. One Ridgewood, NJ couple decided to stay and renovate instead of move. Every situation is different, of course.

The budget

The budget tends to rule supreme when prioritizing, no matter how deep the pockets. Here are a few remodeling projects that will give you the most bang for your buck:

  • $8,000 – $20,000 budget – Bathroom: new chrome faucets, toilet, and tile floor. Kitchen: new chrome faucet, disposal, sink, granite or stone countertops.
  • $25,000 – $35,000 budget – Bathroom: complete renovation down to studs and joists, stainless fixtures, glass shower enclosure, custom tile shower with custom shower pan. Kitchen: Complete renovation with laminate countertops and no structural work, stock to semi-custom cabinetry, tile or wood floor, chrome fixtures, very little appliance replacement, for example just the dishwasher.
  • $50,000 – $75,000 budget – Kitchen: complete renovation including structural work, granite or quartz countertops, custom cabinetry, heated floor, tile/wood/cork/marmoleum flooring, stainless fixtures and all new appliances.
  • $100,000 and up budget – Room addition or complete high-end kitchen renovation with custom cabinetry, granite/quartz, high-end fixtures and high-end appliances.