Angie's List gives renovation tips

Communication is always important in any relationship but even more so when going through a big life change. Taking on a massive home remodel is one of those big life changes that can test even the best relationship. We look at how one couple maintained harmony during their renovation in today’s Angie’s List report.

Arthur and Khristina Haan wanted a project that they could do together, so the couple purchased a total gut job, envisioning a dream home that would incorporate each of their personalities.

“This home was completely gutted to the studs and had no interior to it at all. Prior owner had started a project, ran out of money and that was when the builder picked it up," homeowner, Arthur Haan said.

The couple was excited to take on such a massive project, but also found themselves overwhelmed at times. They learned that you have to trust your partner and share the privilege and burden that is decision-making.

“The great thing about a custom home is you can have anything you want, but the worst part of it is there are a lot of choices. So, we had a variety of people we leaned on to kind help us, guide us in directions,” Haan said.

“You have to have patience and you have to be flexible. Like I said, the stone on the fireplace was not the original stone; that was a flexibility thing. The stairwell, that was not the original plan for the stairwell, so you have to be able to budge and not be so locked in to a certain design element or feature that you want and be open to other ideas,” Khristina Haan said.

“When undertaking a massive home remodel, communication between your spouse is actually one of the most important things to get the house you want and to keep harmony,” Angie's List Founder, Angie Hicks said.

“You just kind of have to do what you can, know your limit and then know to pass it to your partner who you’re doing the project with and have faith that they’re going to do something you’ll like. That’s kind of how it was, back and forth,” Khristina said.

The couple got their project under contract in January and was moving in by late June. The best advice they could give to anyone wanting to do a remodel of this size is to make sure you have a builder and contractors who are highly reputable and have experience with these projects.

Angie says good hiring starts with a three-step process: get at least three written estimates; check references and credentials; and negotiate a contract that ties payment to progress. Never hire based solely on an advertisement or recommendation and don’t pay too much too soon.