You’ve decided to remodel the bathroom before you put your home on the market. You have chosen the contractor, ordered the materials, gone back and forth with design plans, and tweaked your budget. Maybe you have chosen the best options your realtor thinks might help you sell the house while being kind to your pocketbook. Now that the big day is approaching, there are some things you need to know and prepare for before that bathroom remodel begins.

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Understand the Permit Process

You’ve ordered the new fixtures and chosen the tile. You’ve spent hours looking for the perfect faucets and the just-right colors for the walls. But do you know what it takes behind the scenes to make your bathroom remodel happen? Most areas require permits for any improvements done on your home, especially if they involve electrical and plumbing work – and of course, a bathroom remodel often includes both.

Well before the process begins, talk to your contractor about who will handle the permits if they are required. Some companies will have a set plan in place for this, and might even have a person dedicated to simply getting the proper permits for the variety of jobs they have across a particular area. Other contractors will give you the information you need with the expectation that you will get those permits yourself. Have a clear understanding upfront so that when the work starts, the permits are in hand and there will be no legal surprises.

Prepare Your Home for the Big Day

There are many ways you’ll want to prepare for the big day, and not all of them involve moving your personal items out of the bathroom. You’ll want to confirm lead times with the contractor, to make sure their plans have not changed. It’s important to be flexible when it comes to this, as sometimes shipments of fixtures don’t come in on time, or previous jobs run far too long, or other factors come into play that no one can really control.

It’s also important to talk with your contractor about what to expect during the remodel. What steps will they take to protect the other floors in your home as they walk in and out with equipment and materials? How will they mitigate the inevitable clouds of dust that will come along with all that work? Will they clean up at the end of every day? How long will your bathroom be out of commission? How long will the electricity or water be turned off (assuming they will need to do these things for your particular remodeling plans)?

Once you have answers to these and any others, depending upon your unique situation, it’s time to figure out how to make life easier for everybody. That might mean rerouting the usual foot traffic through the house – for instance, perhaps the family comes in through the back door rather than the front. Move anything that might be in the way when workers come through with heavy materials. Have a good plan for keeping pets and children far away from the construction work. And don’t forget the exterior of your home, as the contractor will need space for parking and potentially moving large trucks around your property.

What the Remodel Might Be Like

First and foremost: Expect your bathroom to be out of commission. In fact, other bathrooms in the house might be out of commission too, since the water will be shut off and possibly the electrical as well. Plan to use a port-a-potty or stay with family members during your remodel. And keep in mind, this might not be a short-term thing; bathroom remodels can take anywhere from days to several weeks, depending upon a host of factors.

Before the workers arrive, remove everything you possibly can from the bathroom. Empty out shelves and drawers, pick up floor rugs and towels, and move out any free-standing furniture. You might consider taking down towel racks and other items that are attached to the wall but need to go to make it easier for the contractor’s crew to work.

Expect a lot of dust as the old fixtures come out and the new ones go in. Though the contractor should put up heavy-duty plastic to keep some of that dust confined, no amount of plastic –or even a firmly closed door– will prevent dust from winding up where it shouldn’t be. Prepare for that with plenty of filters for your vacuum cleaner, extra cleaning supplies for your mop, and plenty of hand towels and cleaners to wash down walls, doorframes, or anything else that might become a little dingy with dust before everything is done.

Every remodel comes with lots of noise and movement. Be aware of that and if you need to work out of the house for the day, make those plans. Kids in Zoom meetings for school? Find a quiet place where they can work, such as the local coffee shop or even a park that’s equipped with Wi-Fi. You might even need to move your vehicle from its usual spot to allow the work trucks to come through.

Prepare for Unforeseen Circumstances

Any contractor will tell you that no remodel is smooth sailing. Something will almost always go wrong, which is why experts recommend adding 20 percent to the bottom line of the budget for those surprises.

It’s important to remember that the contractor can only give you a quote on what he or she can actually see; that means that they won’t know until they pull out the shower if the wood behind is rotten and must be replaced, or if there is significant water damage underneath the old flooring. Once they discover these problems they must be fixed, and that comes along with added costs.

The key here is to have excellent communication with your contractor as the work progresses, and when problems are discovered, the contractor should explain what work needs to be done and how that will change the bottom line.

Enjoy the New Bathroom but Remember Why You Remodeled

That new bathroom is gorgeous and you’re dying to take advantage of it, but keep in mind: If you’re going to sell the house, there’s only so much you should do to your new room. For instance, maybe it is not a good idea to install those antique towel bars that your grandmother passed down, or to paint anything on the fresh clean walls. While you should certainly enjoy the space while you can, keep in mind what it will take to stage the bathroom and act accordingly.

Looking for the right contractor to handle things from the first walk-through to that final dumpster haul of debris after the remodel is done? Modernize is the place to connect with the best contractors in your local area.