1. Compare The Cost Of Moving To Remodeling.
Moving is expensive, typically involving a 6% commission on the sale of
your current home, plus another 2-4% for closing, moving, and other costs.
If you like the present neighborhood then look into what improvements you
could make with 8-10% of your home's current value before you decide to
Design Ahead. You don't want to come up with an additional
brilliant idea right after the job is complete. You can reduce the
risk by doing some advance research. Read up on design, talk to
friends with knowledge and experience with the type of remodeling you're
considering, and get suggestions (and references from architects and
remodelers while you're in the early stages of planning. If
you're changing current floor plans get some graph paper or a floor
planning kit and play around. Start a file for literature about
components and finishes.
Tip 3. Don't Over Improve.
This may be of less concern if you plan to remain in the home for a long
time, but it's very important if you're remodeling to sell your
home. Some remodeling jobs, such as a prudent overhaul of a
very dated bath or kitchen, or the addition of a second bath to a one bath
home, can return more than 100% of the cost at the sale of the home, and
help you sell it faster. However, if you want a different look,
you'll probably not recover the investment in a home that is already
significantly more valuable than most of the others in the neighborhood.
Allow Plenty Of Time For The Job. Murphy's law applies to
remodeling. If you expert a contractor to compress a six week job
into four weeks, you're asking for trouble. Also, you can save money
and probably get the job done faster if you have the ability to schedule
it in the off season when contractors have fewer jobs to bid on.
Check The Remodeler's Credentials- Carefully. Are they
licensed and insured for workers compensation, property and personal
liability? If in doubt, ask to see their insurance certificate.
Do they belong to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, the
National Association of Home Builders Remodelers Council, and/or any of
the more specific trade associations in the remodeling sector?
That's a sign of commitment to the trade and to professionalism.
Most also offer certification and/or management training and keep their
members up to date on the latest products and techniques. Ask for
recent references on similar jobs (employee and subcontractor turnover is
often fairly high, so recent jobs are a reliable indicator of their
current capability). Check their record with the Better Business
Bureau while you're at it.
Request A Comprehensive Bid. It should detail as many of the
specifications as possible. Get bids from three remodelers. If
one of the bids is unusually low, make sure that they have included
everything. If they have, make sure you've thoroughly covered tip
Consider Doing Some Of The Work Yourself. If the bids are higher
than expected and too much for you to afford, you might be surprised how
much money you can save. But make sure you're not getting into
something you don't have time to do. Things that come up near the
end of the job, such as painting, finish carpentry, etc. are good bets
since the other parts aren't dependent on their completion.
Some can even be done after the issuance of the final occupancy permit.
Get A Comprehensive Written Contract. It will greatly reduce the
likelihood of disputes with your remodeler. Most disputes arise over
issues that were not resolved in advance. Make sure it covers the
description of the project, timetable, payment schedule, etc., with
general provisions defining the responsibility of the contractor and the
subcontractors, defects and correction, change order procedures,
warranties, right to termination, and alternative dispute settlement
mechanisms (since more than half of the costs of lawsuits represent legal
fees, homeowners and contractors will almost always be better off with
mediation, conciliation, and/or binding arbitration clauses should a
Consider Buying Certain Building Materials In Advance.
Styles for appliances and other building materials and suppliers are
subject to change and are often heavily discounted when they go out of
production. If there's a style you like very much, it may not
be available next year, so consider buying and storing them when you see a
really good deal. With the advent of the larger super discount home
improvement stores, prices are down to the point that remodelers often
can't get much better prices from other sources, even with their business
Be Careful About Financing. If you're financing the project, you
want the lowest rate possible and you want the interest to be tax
deductible. Only certain types of loans will give you an
interest deduction so check with an expert. In some cases,
refinancing your mortgage can be the best bet.