Getting What You Need Out of a Remodel

Remodeling can seem like an overwhelming project at times. Many people are unsure of where to start. Fortunately there are simple guidelines to help homeowners through the process.

Before starting anything, budgeting, shopping around, or purchasing, you need to decide where exactly you will be placing your time and efforts. If you need more room in your kitchen, the decision is simple; but if you have competing needs¾a new master bath versus a new basement bar¾it makes the decision slightly more complicated.

Now that you have chosen your project, it is time to start estimating the average costs. You don’t need to account for every last penny, but rather acquire a general figure. There are great resources available for homeowners to calculate costs, including and These sites provide a cost versus value report and local affiliates of the National Association of Home Builders.

Once you have completed step one, it is time to budget, which, for many, is one of the harder steps of a remodel. Budgeting and trying to include all of the amenities you want can be tricky. Are you borrowing or paying cash, for this project? If you are paying cash then it is easy to figure out what you can afford. However, if you are borrowing, you need to budget for how much you will be given and how much financial burden you can take on. For most homeowners, remodeling on borrowed funds via a home equity line of credit (HELOC) provides the best option. A benefit of this loan is that homeowners are provided checks to pay as they go.

Next up is contacting a contractor. While many think this is step one, it should be one of the later steps. It is important to first know that your project fits inside of your budget. When working with contractors, make sure the playing field is level. Give them details on exactly what materials you want, including specific appliances and colors. To select a contractor, ask your neighbors, friends, and coworkers for recommendations. This way, you know you are getting top-quality work from a trustworthy source.

When the details have been worked out and a contractor has been chosen, add 15% – 20% onto their bid for unforeseen problems and costs. While no one wants to admit there are things that could go awry on their project, it is unfortunately a part of the process.

For more information on remodels, contact your local REALTOR for contractor references, popular trends and more.


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