In addition to the general contractor, you should also have access to an architect or building engineer to ensure that the project is structurally sound.
In general, renovations are the cheaper route, because you're only altering surface details.
While the terms remodel and renovation are used interchangeably all the time, they are actually very different animals.However this adventure takes plenty of patience and preparation.See how you can get started; check out the Angie's List Guide to Planning a Remodeling Project. Before you begin any remodeling project - especially one that requires structural changes - make sure you review this list of terms and definitions so you'll know what's what. By contrast, the same project would qualify as a remodel if you, say, moved the pipes to make room for a washer/dryer combo. So, a renovation of a bathroom, for example, might involve refreshing the tile and paint, possibly even removing and replacing the existing sink, toilet, and shower, but keeping the plumbing and electrical systems in their original locations, explains Larry Greene of Case Design/Remodeling of Indianapolis.