Everyone can use some remodeling tips from the 2016 Spring Remodelers Showcase. As you know, the Spring Parade of Homes(sm) is going on now through March 20th, with the Remodelers Showcase taking place over the final weekend. The tour runs March 18-20, 2016, with 57 remodeled homes open Friday, March 18th from 1:00 to 7:00 pm and from noon to 6:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday, March 19th and 20th. A total of 45 professional remodeling firms are participating in the tour.

All the remodeled homes are free to tour with the exception of three Artisan Dream Remodeled Homes that request a $5 donation to the BATC Foundation. All three are whole house remodels: #R29 by Xpand, Inc. is located in Orono; #R33 by AMEK Custom Homes is in Wayzata; and #R45 is an Edina home renovated by Oslo Builders.

The Remodelers Showcase provides a great way to see how professional remodelers can make an outdated home look and live better for its homeowners. Remodeler representatives will be stationed at all the homes to explain the project, and many times the homeowners will be on hand to share their experiences as well. To make planning a remodeling project easier, here are six tips for stress-free remodeling:

1. Define your Objectives

While most of us remodel for more than one reason, start by prioritizing your objectives. For most families, remodeling will involve a number of tradeoffs, so make a list of what you want your remodeling to accomplish and what objectives are most important. If you’re remodeling to reduce energy bills and increase comfort, then you’ll know to spend more on good windows and less on the window-dressing.

2. Determine your Budget and Financing

Once you start designing, you’ll be tempted to want everything your remodeler suggests. Create a firm budget before you begin. Talk to your financial planner if you have one, or visit with a mortgage banker to determine what you can spend and how you’ll finance the work. Then remember to keep a little aside for contingencies — surprises behind the walls of old houses are fairly common and may require unexpected repairs.

3. Build your Wish List

Similar to your objectives, your wish list will help you make choices as you design your new space. Here you can start with photos (the ParadeofHomes.org photo gallery may help, plus Pinterest and Houzz will be excellent resources). Add in products, features, materials and colors that appeal to you. But don’t just put everything into a file, sort through your favorites and denote the importance of each (try three categories: Must Have, Really Want and Wishes and Dreams).

4. Research Remodelers

There are tons of excellent professional remodelers who will do a great job for you, but how do you find them? Start by touring during the Remodelers Showcase. You can meet remodelers and see their work without any obligation. You should also take advantage of the many online resources like the Remodeler Company search at ParadeofHomes.org or Houzz to help you find remodelers that build the type and style of projects that appeal to you.

5. Interview Top Contenders

Once you narrow your prospective remodeler list down, interview them. Give them a rough idea of what your parameters are and your budget to see if they fit your needs. This step also lets you get a feel for their individual communications style and lets you understand exactly how they work. Ask them to walk you through the process — from design stage to completion. Find out who will be on site and who will be your primary point of contact and make sure you meet that person.

6. Contact References

You’ll likely find one or two remodelers that seem just right. You like them, they have all the right answers, and you just feel right about them. But don’t stop there. Make sure you talk to three or more of their past clients. Ask about their remodeling experience: specifically what their project entailed, were they on-time and on-budget, what was it like having workers in their homes, and why they recommend the remodeler. -30-

The 2016 Spring Parade of Homes Remodelers Showcase is sponsored by Marvin Windows and Doors.