The most common reason homeowners give for redoing a room is that it’s a good investment. And why not? Unless you’re as rich as Croesus and can afford your own private plane or yacht, odds are your abode is the single biggest asset you own. So why wouldn’t you put money back into it and secure a good return on your investment over time?
Well, the fact is that home remodeling isn’t nearly as profitable as it was in the past. But as the market continues to recover from the housing crisis, some projects are more attractive than others. One home remodel job that never seems to go out of style is the kitchen.
Why The Kitchen?
With the help of celebrity cooking shows, Americans can now prepare restaurant-quality meals in the privacy of their own abodes. But to do so, they need much larger kitchens that contain more appliances, equipment, and cookware. Stainless steel refrigerators, stoves, and small appliances make the home kitchen of today look more like a commercial one than the cramped, austere spaces of yesteryear. With that said, not every home remodel is financially viable. Here are a few things you should and should not do when redoing your favorite room.
DO Hire A Contractor!
Unless the job is so small you can complete it over the weekend, you should never be your own general contractor (GC). Why? For one reason, there are laws against doing major construction work yourself in most parts of the country. And those laws are in place for a very good reason – most homeowners muck the job up when they try to save money being their own GCs!
DON’T Always Go With The Low Bid!
Let’s say, for example, that you’re redoing your kitchen and you invite a group of contractors to bid on the project. Now, let’s say that the average bid is $50,000. But somehow, one of the contractors claims that he can do the work for just $25,000! Should you accept the bid as fast as you can or wonder how in the world the contractor can complete the project at half the cost? The answer, obviously, is the latter. In other words, if a bid seems too good to be true, it almost always is.
No, we’re not saying that you should never go with the low bid. But you’d better be certain that the contractor can explain exactly how he expects to save that much money over the competition. And if he cannot, run!
DO Write Detailed Specs
Few things cause more problems in the contracting world than ambiguous project plans. This common error gives the GC far too much leeway when it comes to making choices between high- and low-end materials. As a result, he might go over his budget because you neglected to specify how much should be allocated to cabinetry, lighting, countertop, flooring materials, etc. That is why you should always consider every last detail and leave nothing to the discretion of an employee who is trying his best to impress you.
DON’T Pay Everything In Advance
As a general rule of thumb, you should never pay more than 30 percent of the total cost of the project up front. Why? Because the contractor, no matter how well regarded, could skip town and take your money with him. In other words, he needs some incentive to stay on and finish the job on schedule and budget. Moreover, the 30 percent down payment is an industry standard most GCs accept without question.
Although we’ve merely scratched the surface of this popular home remodel job, these basic do’s and dont’s should help you avoid the most common mistakes homeowners make when redoing their kitchens.
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