You’ve moved into your dream house and the time has finally come for that makeover you’ve been fantasizing about. You’re not alone. Today, Americans spend an average of $8,000 annually* on home renovations with room remodels topping the list, followed by new flooring, landscaping and exterior painting.
Here are some guidelines to help you bypass as many of the inevitable remodeling hurdles as possible and keep your project on track.
Study Your Options
A first step is to turn off HGTV. While fun to watch, these design shows typically represent an unrealistic view of time and budget needed for renovations. Start online research early and get educated on the actual price of materials. These will vary greatly and it’s better to figure out earlier than later what flooring, wall covering and fixtures you can really afford.
Unless you are planning a do-it-yourself (DIY) project, labor is generally the biggest remodeling expense. Aim to get estimates from a few different contractors and ask to see at least a couple of their recent projects, along with getting references. In those markets where contractor demand is high, talk to friends and family for recommendations to find a trusted contractor and see if they can squeeze in your project.
Hunt for Bargains
It is possible to save on your home project, if you take extra time to scout out the best deals. Beyond coupons and promo codes, bigger chains are generally tied to their corporate sale price; consider shopping at smaller mom and pop stores which may be willing to negotiate. Instead of purchasing every item at a different retailer, look at bundling purchases which may offer you a better package deal.
Don’t forget to visit the back room at retailers — if a scratch or dent can be hidden or easily fixed, it could be worth going with a slightly damaged item in order to save.
Create a Realistic Schedule
Work with your contractor to set a renovation timeline and deadlines for each phase of your project but realize upfront that you may veer off schedule due to weather and contractor scheduling issues. Some projects may require different types of contractors to complete the project, i.e. electrical, plumbing, flooring, etc. It’s important to work with your general contractor to make sure all of these specialists are in sync to avoid additional delays. Last minute adjustments to your game plan – like adding structure or changing materials – can also delay projects and end up costing more. Working with a thoroughly vetted expert who knows the ins and outs of renovations will help you steer clear of scheduling problems.
Avoid Changes to Your Home’s Layout
Altering the footprint of your space during a renovation usually means moving plumbing and electrical, which can add significantly to costs. That’s why it’s important to have upfront conversations with your contractor about how any layout changes will impact the project’s bottom line. Remember — sometimes those extra costs may make sense on a project when the change impacts the quality of the remodel.
Expect the Unexpected
If there’s one thing that can skyrocket remodeling costs, it’s unanticipated hidden expenses. Before diving into a project, consider potential add-ons including necessary permits and demolition costs as well as damage (such as mold and termites) that may be uncovered once the project is underway. Include wiggle room in your budget and work with your contractor closely to ensure all necessary expenses are built into estimates upfront to avoid unpleasant surprises later.
Protect your Investment
Increased foot traffic from workers can lead to potential injuries and tools and flammable materials also add a level of renovation risk. Having the right home insurance is a critical component of the renovation planning process that shouldn’t be overlooked. Review your coverage carefully to understand exactly what’s covered and what’s not before you start any home project.
* Source: https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/true-cost-report/#ixzz6Ehwl72OP
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