How about this:
1> Think about what you'd like to accomplish with the project:
ie: simple updating or decor, existing systems, and appliances, or structural alterations, or
room additions, or a total rebuild.
2> Based on your rough plan, ask professionals if plans and permits are required.
3> Price it out based on high side estimates.
4> Evaluate: does this work for the budget we had in mind before starting, or do we now have
5> Modify if needed to redesign the work to fit your budget, and make sure you have a very large
contingency cushion for hidden damage, and unexpected changes etc.
6> Hire the architect if needed, check legal issues.
7> When answers are all collected, and plans set, then take bids.
8> Check references very carefully, including complaints, and Contractors License Board, and
don't sign any contracts without having an construction attorney review them to advise you
first. Expensive you say? Being sued is far more expensive I say!