This is a great informative post for buyers and sellers..
With many homeowners unwilling to accept the prices being offered by today’s buyers, some have taken the remodeling approach. If the reason you wish to move is to have a new kitchen or bath, or to have additional space, remodeling may be just the answer.
Today is a great time to remodel, and the changes just might make you fall in love with your home all over again. Materials and labor are at extremely competitive prices, and the government may even help foot the bill by providing tax credits for energy saving upgrades.
However, those who are seriously considering a remodel or addition should ask themselves the following:
● How long do I expect to remain in the home? Most remodeling projects fail to recoup their cost when the home is sold. Staying in the home several years allows you to spread the cost over a longer period.
● Will the features or changes I desire appeal to a wide range of future buyers? Don’t make your home so “unique” that it will be difficult to sell.
● Will the changes I make cause my home to be significantly more expensive than other homes in the neighborhood? Unless you plan to remain in the home forever—a rare occurrence—avoid changes that will make it far more expensive than others in your neighborhood. Not only will it be difficult to sell in the future, but you’ll probably lose much of the money spent remodeling.
● If financed, will the additional expense be a burden to my budget? Don’t stress yourself or your budget by doing work you cannot easily afford.
● Can I afford the job if it exceeds my budget by 20%? The work may create unexpected expenses, and you may decide to make changes during the process. Few remodeling jobs are completed within the original estimate.
● Can I tolerate the disruption to my life? The job will create lots of dust, noise, and you may have occasional disruptions of water or electricity. You’ll also have strangers in your home who may arrive early in the morning.
● Can I accomplish the same thing by just de-cluttering or re-purposing a room? Getting rid of unnecessary junk/furniture may help to create the space you need; or you may find that an unused living room or spare bedroom can be re-purposed to serve your needs.
● Can I afford the subsidiary costs of remodeling? Be sure to budget for any new furniture the remodel may require; and be aware that your insurance, property taxes, and utilities may increase due to your changes.
If, after answering the above you still believe remodeling to be the best approach, here are a few tips.
● Before interviewing contractors, make a list of everything you might want. Try to be as specific as possible when listing the changes or additions you wish.
● When hiring a contractor, interview at least 3, and get references of recent jobs completed, as well as banking and supplier references. Professionals should be able to provide several references of their recent work; those who can’t should be avoided. And in today’s tough economic environment you’ll need to make certain that your contractor has the financial stability to complete the job. Pick a contractor who is likeable. You may be working with them several weeks or months. Go with your “gut.”
● Check the references—all of them. If you can visit a recently completed job, that’s even better.
● Professional contractors will supply a written contract, including the scope of the work, building plans if necessary, and specifications for materials, appliances, and fixtures. They should also provide copies of state and local licenses, and certificates of workman’s comp and general liability.
● Don’t base your selection of contractor solely upon price. The most expensive isn’t necessarily the best, and the lowest price may not ultimately be the least expensive.
● Never pay for a job up front. The risk of losing some or all of your money is too great. The recession has brought out lots of “scammers.” Don’t be taken in by slick sales talk. While large jobs may require periodic payments as work is completed, don’t allow the payments to exceed the work in place. Ask for a payment schedule up front and make sure you understand it fully.
● Ask the contractor to provide Lien Waivers as requests for payment are submitted. Some states allow unpaid workers or suppliers to place liens on homes to collect for unpaid labor or material, causing unsuspecting homeowners to pay for work twice.
Finally, be as flexible as possible. On occasion you may have to compromise and disruptions may sometimes be frustrating. If you can tolerate the disappointments when things don’t go as planned, and if you don’t allow yourself to become stressed over the minor annoyances, your remodel just may leave you with the home of your dreams.
The Housing Guru: The one source for all your housing questions