Write down all your wishlist before you contact anyone (i.e. Interior Designers, Architect, Structural Engineer or Contractors)
As an interior designer and recent remodeler, this is my first and foremost advise to anyone. Sometimes, we become so narrow in terms of thinking after exhausting home search (especially in Bay Area) and just think that - “I guess let’s change the flooring of the home”/” I just need to color my kitchen cabinets, will do next later” or “we need bathroom to remodel but right now but we will just paint the home and move”. You hear these kinds of quotes from your friends and family, but for me, it is RED LIGHT!!! It is good to decide that how serious you are and you want to move in first and decide or you are already living there and what you want to take on first, but I would suggest - go to each and every room and create a simple spreadsheet which will identify things you like and things you don’t like. Even though you know, you don’t have a budget for it. It is better to think first “idealist way”.
Contact professional once you have your list of things handy
At this time, you do not have “a project” yet! It is just list of things to do room by room basis and you want to gauge time and money associated with these tasks. One of the biggest challenges for any first time home remodeler is - who to call? Do I need a contractor? Architect? Interior Designer or just call City for a permit?
In my opinion, if you think, you have better taste/knowledge in terms of building material and process, go ahead and call a contractor first! (and skip below step for now!)
But you think, you need someone who can explain the material, texture, and process of remodeling ins & out (based on your location)- I would call Interior Designers/ Designer or Architect (if work contains structural calculations such as roof height change etc.). Interior Designer will provide you more in-depth knowledge in terms of permit requirements(based on the city you live in), contractor’s contacts and overall sources for your project. Once you contact the interior designer, it Is better to call contractors. (our 30 min free consultation will give you a synopsis on what exactly you need for your project).