A few years back you bought the home that fit your budget. You’ve lived with the 70’s orange countertops and 80’s style kitchen cabinets for those first few years. You’ve saved and saved and now is the time to bring your personal space into this decade. You’ve clipped photos from magazines and have attended home shows. You have mounds of paints and fabric samples. You are ready to roll … but first, take time to take a look at some ways to do a “smart” remodel.
Try to stay consistent with homes in your neighborhood. Be cautious about how you spend your money when remodeling or putting an addition on your home. If you over-improve significantly, you may have spent too much, and you may have a hard time getting your money back when you sell your house.
Have a plan that makes sense. Your “back of the napkin” sketches are a great start, but considering the fact that you will likely be living with your choices for years to come, or will be concerned with future resale, doesn’t it make sense to get some professional help in this area ? … best to get it done right rather than getting it done twice!
Get the right contractor on your team. See real examples of their work. Ask for references and testimonials. Check licensing authorities. Make sure they are insured. Do they return phone calls and emails in a timely manner? Do they really LISTEN to your ideas, and follow through on those ideas.
Establish a realistic budget. Do your “homework” here. Homeowners often underestimate the true cost of a home remodeling project. Get a complete estimate … in writing. Remember, changes are inevitable, they cost additional funds, and change orders should be clearly documented and costs agreed to with your contractor.
Understand how long the project will take. Ask your contractor to commit to a time line, then add some extra time on your calendar for the inevitable unforseen event or condition that will impact the work schedule. No one know what may be lurking behind those walls!
Keep the quality. Now is not the time to seek the “best deal” on materials. It’s wise to shop around for the best price on quality materials, but be sure to maintain a quality level consistent with the job … it WILL show if you “go cheap” and it will cost you more in the long run.
Be careful not to go too trendy. Trendy new colors, features and design styles may be “in” today. Be sure to consider longevity, comfort and resale!