If a whole-house remodel or second-story addition is in your future, here are 10 tips to maximize your investment, increase the functionality of your home and make future work easier. Keeping them in mind when working with your architect or contractor could help lower your costs and stress during your next remodel.

6. Plan ahead. Think you might like to add solar before the federal tax credit expires at the end of 2016? Plan for it now. Pondering an electric car? Install a circuit for a charging station just in case. Think you can live without air-conditioning but might want it when you can afford it? Plan for that too. You may even have a second phase planned. Make sure all the engineering and mechanical systems for that next phase are in place and ready to go. Photos are critical when you go this route. Take multiple photos with a measuring tape in the picture before covering these provisions for your future project.

7. Upgrade your electrical panel. Take a really good look at your electrical panel. If it’s 100 amperes and every slot is filled, chances are that you’re a prime candidate for a panel upgrade. Even if it’s 125 or 200 amperes, added rooms and an updated kitchen will often require a panel upgrade. Remember, too, that code governs where panels can be, and that means not in a closet. If you still have antiquated wiring, this may also be the ideal opportunity to run new wiring and ground all those outlets.

8. Weight the pros and cons of new siding, windows and doors. A second-story or bump-out addition begs the question: Stick with the windows, doors and siding you have or choose something new? Your decision may be forced by structural requirements. If enough of your exterior walls need siding removed and plywood nailed on, it may make sense to replace everything. But if you have brick at the main level, you may want to use cement or wood siding at your addition. Window and door matching generally makes sense only if what’s existing is already in pretty good shape or is prohibitively expensive to replicate. The choice is unique to every home; consult with your contractor and architect on the best way to proceed.

9. Don’t be short sighted. We have had clients ask for baby gates installed permanently on their beautiful custom-built railings. We have had families with toddlers convinced they need adjacent bedrooms, not looking ahead to the teen years and the desire for separate bedrooms. You’re investing a lot of money and time on your remodel, so make sure it will last longer than the current phase your family is going through. When planning for a lifetime home, think about grab bars, accessibility and universal design — if not for yourselves, then for older adults who may visit. An accessible home is also valuable for resale.

10. Ask your architect and contractor what they would do. Architects and contractors are generally focused most on meeting the needs you have stated. But asking them what they would do if it were their house is likely to yield some interesting and thought-provoking suggestions that might otherwise pass you by. Your architect and contractor have seen what works, what is worth changing and what may be worth dropping altogether. Questions like these will keep you from overspending on superfluous fads and put your money in the places that count in the long term.

Call Westhill Construction today if you are interested in a whole-house remodel or second-story addition!

Credit: Houzz