* File photo. Room with a view: If you dream of building your own home, the most important thing is location, location, location.
* File photo. Room with a view: If you dream of building your own home, the most important thing is location, location, location.
Perhaps you're thinking you'd like to build yourself a nice new house. But, at the end of the day, you really don't want to live anywhere else.

In fact, you're already ahead of the game on one of the most important things in real estate: location, location, location. Plus, in an era when eco-concerns are at the top of everyone's list, you're also considering the carbon footprint of building new vs. renovating an existing property. Truth is, new construction can generate three times the carbon dioxide of a renovation. And what's good for Mother Earth is definitely good for you.

Upgrading

Upgrading and renewing your existing home can be an exciting prospect. However, before you start knocking down walls, it's a good idea to consult and hire a professional remodeller to help you create a workable plan. He or she will also be able to advise you on the best ways to truly add value to your home, will be current on designs and materials, and will actually help you stay within your budget, not to mention the fact that a qualified professional can also work to maximize the energy efficiency and sustainability of your remodelled home.

Where to begin? Here are a few tips you might want to keep in mind when thinking of upgrading your home:

* Make a list of your remodeling needs. You'd love to upgrade the bathrooms, change the kitchen and add a new room. If you have more than one project, prioritize your wish list. You might not have the budget for a total redo, but you will probably be able to work in phases.

* Create a scrapbook of things you love. Home magazines are excellent resources. Tear out favourite kitchens, a great looking sink, the windows you like or the deck of your dreams. This will come in handy when trying to explain your vision to the professional remodeler.

* Draft a budget. How much money do you have to invest in the project? A professional can help you here, too. Once you've established your limits, a professional remodeler can maximize your dollars by suggesting pocket-friendly materials and products, organizing the work by phases and implementing resourceful design solutions.

* Hire a professional remodeller. Find one who will match your project's needs and who you feel comfortable with. Recommendations by friends are a great place to start, and you'll want to check the professional's qualifications as well. Ask for photos and past customer referrals. Ask as many questions as you feel you need to don't be shy!

* Agree on a contract. This should include who will be responsible for building permits and all the myriad details that go into construction of any kind, including timetables, warranties, insurance coverage and more.

Making dreams a reality

In Bermuda, OBMI's Small Works Programme will assist you with the architecture and interiors, and helps you consult on the furniture and finishes and review contracts, approvals and permits.

Whether you're looking for a complete facelift for your home, build-outs for senior parents or returning students or just something as simple as a bathroom remodel, we can help you translate your wishes into wonderful reality.