Issues to keep in mind when hiring an additions and remodeling contractor
Every person who owns a home has ideas on what they want to remodel, but few know of frugal ways to do so. It is however possible to make additions to your house or do remodeling without straining your pocketbook. The ideal, of course would be to have every dollar you spend on renovations raise the value of your house. Even if you do not plan to sell the house in the near future, if the value of the property rises, it may be possible to get better refinancing deals, as well as the possibility to get a second mortgage or a reverse mortgage.
Whether you are planning to remodel your kitchen, add on a second story, paint a room or add a sunroom, it is possible to do so on a budget. Let's look at these steps that will help you plan a successful project.
1. Do not take on more than one remodeling project at a time
If this will be the first project you are taking on, do not start with something huge. If you have several projects in mind, it is best to start off with something small. Also, it is not advised to do several projects at once. Having contractors in different parts of your house simultaneously may be a big strain on your family and sanity and may cause too much unnecessary stress.
Starting with a smaller project lets you get in the groove, so to speak. Perhaps painting a room or installing light fixtures may be something you are comfortable doing. Then hiring a pro for installing energy conservation windows, which will let you save on your electricity and heating bills down the line. Lastly you should take on cosmetic and finishing projects, since those only increase the value of your home when you sell the house.
2. You need to make decisions
You need to make some decisions when it comes to remodeling. First one is whether or not to use a contractor. If you have some remodeling skills yourself, it may be possible to do a lot of projects on your own. This of course would require a big time investment. For the bigger projects it is generally recommended to hire a contractor. You may end up paying more instead of doing it yourself, but you will have the peace of mind that the project will go smoothly and on time, and that the remodeling raises the value of your property.
When deciding to hire pros, it is important to shop around, as well as doing due diligence before committing to any single contractor. Using resources such as our Contractor Directory to find the best additions and remodeling contractors in your area. It is also advisable to check with the Better Business Bureau and the state attorney general's office to find out about any complaints or investigations involving the contractor and his subcontractors, that you are considering to hire.
3. Going for cheap may be more costly in the long run
There are places in your remodeling where you can save money. Electrical, plumbing, heating/cooling, insulation and structure elements should never be one of those places. All of these things make your home energy efficient, and if you save money now, it will cost you much much more in the long term. This is especially true since utility costs are constantly go up in almost all areas of the country, and likely will only continue to do so.
You may save on costs by buying cheaper appliances, or selecting the cheaper bathroom tile, but floors, windows and roofs. However, you should always invest in good doors and windows. Windows in particular can play a big role in your heating and cooling bill. Going for windows with high energy efficiency ratings and low maintenance will pay off in the long run. Quality vinyl windows are always a good option.
4. Going for classic designs generally is best
Going for trendy looks may be tempting, but keep in mind most trends go out of style quickly. You are either going to want to remodel again in the future, to meet your tastes, or worse, if you are selling the house, you will have to remodel to fit the needs of most buyers. Going with classic designs ensures that you have the widest possible resell options, since many trendy looks are not necessarily sought after by many buyers.
Going with classic materials like granite and wood is generally preferred. You can use home decor elements and furniture to give the place your own personality, but all the permanent elements should be of simple design. One area where you can exhibit your creativity can be the paint job. You can use colors to fit your tastes, since you are generally going to want to repaint before selling the house in the future.
5. Plan on going over budget
It is of course always preferred to meet your budget, but this is not always possible. There are always unforeseen circumstances with additions and remodeling projects. There are too many variables to account for, especially for the bigger projects.
It is best to give yourself a 20% cushion on top of your budget, even when working with a contractor. Most pros will give you an estimate, but not a set in stone quote. The estimate you get in the beginning frequently is not met, so if you plan on going over budget early on, there will not be any nasty surprises later on.
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