By Barbara Pronin
Remodeling a home is a major undertaking, one few homeowners take lightly because of the time and expense it involves. While the end result can add value to the property, homeowners are rightly concerned with getting the job done as cost-effectively as possible.
Consumer Reports offers five tips to help keep costs down and spirits up:
1. Choose a Licensed and Bonded Contractor – Not only are you more likely to get the professionalism you expect, but licensed and bonded contractors are also more likely to hold down costs and share any cost overruns that may occur.
2. Haggle – Don’t be shy about asking for a break in price. Some contractors will offer a discount for seniors or the disabled if asked, or will be amenable to competitive bargaining in order to win your business.
3. Stick to the Plan – Ask questions, listen to ideas and be sure of what you want in your remodel before you sign a contract. Every change you make once the work is in progress will likely result in added charges.
4. Prepare for Unknown Damage – Unknown structural damage discovered once the remodel has begun, such as faulty wiring or mold, can result in delays and added cost. Be prepared to allocate additional funds as needed.
5. Don’t Over-Improve – Don’t over-improve for the neighborhood. Understand that one-of-a-kind features, like having the only swimming pool on your block or the only home with commercial kitchen appliances or upscale decorative touches, does not necessarily mean you will recover your investment if and when you decide to sell.