Ten Tips to Keep a Remodeling Project from Being a Nightmare

In Homeowners by Doug Phelps

Welcome to spring, when many a homeowner’s thoughts turn to home improvements. Whether a homeowner has lived in their house for a number of years or are relatively new to home ownership, the “call” to improve something is typically pretty strong.

Whatever the reasons are for wanting to make changes, entering into this territory with some knowledge about the process and expectations can save thousands of dollars and make the experience far more productive and rewarding. To help, here are ten of the worst mistakes to avoid.

Asking for the impossible. For a high-grade carpet, it won’t be found at $8.99 a yard. Quality costs.

Not checking out the contractor. In today’s world of Yelp, Angie’s List, Dave Logan.com, the Better Business Bureau and other internet review sites, it is easier than ever to find a qualified, reputable, and reasonably priced contractor for your project.

Not doing a contract. For clarity and expectations, a contract is vital. A host of items are covered in it, and the time to discover all possible details of costs, timelines and responsibilities is before the work starts.

Not getting multiple bids. The only way to know if the price is right, the services are complete, and the choice of materials is proper is to have at least one other person/company bid on the project.

Going automatically with the low bid. This is not to say that the lowest bid won’t be the best choice, just compare side by side all details of all bids.

Not checking for contractors’ insurance and proper permits. Don’t just take someone’s word that they have insurance and the necessary permits; ask to see them. If there is an accident on site or the work is not done according to county requirements, a homeowner could be ultimately responsible.

Over improving. Improvements are best when kept in line with the neighborhood; overdoing will hurt in a comparative analysis.

Expecting to recoup 100% of the investment. In most improvements, this simply doesn’t happen. The better expectation is to presume that the “value added” is 50% of the investment; anything above this is a bonus.

Paying too quickly. Never finish paying until the work is 100% complete and all required inspections are done. It is ok and probably a wise decision of goodwill to pay a bit at different stages in the process.

Not putting specifics of any project changes in writing. After agreeing verbally, follow up with documentation.

For information on the cost vs. value of different home improvements, give me a call and I’ll gladly send to you.