5 Remodeling Tips for Busy Homeowners

Between family, friends and work, life is hectic. If you—like many Americans—are trying to relocate or remodel your current home, the added stress is enough to make anyone throw in the towel. The following tips, provided by the American Homeowners Foundation and the American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance will help you plan and execute your home renovation with ease.

Tip 1. Compare the Cost Of Moving to Remodeling. Moving is expensive, typically involving a 6 percent commission on the sale of your current home, plus another 2-4 percent for closing, moving, and other costs. If you like the present neighborhood then look into what improvements you could make with 8-10 percent of your home’s current value before you decide to move.

Tip 2. Design Ahead. You don’t want to come up with an additional brilliant idea right after the job is complete. You can reduce the risk by doing some advance research. Read up on design, talk to friends with knowledge and experience with the type of remodeling you’re considering, and get suggestions (and references) from architects and remodelers while you’re in the early stages of planning. If you’re changing current floor plans get some graph paper or a floor planning kit and play around. Start a file for literature about components and finishes.

Tip 3. Don’t Over Improve. This may be of less concern if you plan to remain in the home for a long time, but it’s very important if you’re remodeling to sell your home. Some remodeling jobs, such as a prudent overhaul of a very dated bath or kitchen, or the addition of a second bath to a one bath home, can return more than 100 percent of the cost at the sale of the home, and help you sell it faster. However, if you want a different look, you’ll probably not recover the investment in a home that is already significantly more valuable than most of the others in the neighborhood.

Tip 4. Allow Plenty of Time for the Job. Murphy’s law applies to remodeling. If you expert a contractor to compress a six week job into four weeks, you’re asking for trouble. Also, you can save money and probably get the job done faster if you have the ability to schedule it in the off season when contractors have fewer jobs to bid on.

Tip 5. Check the Remodeler’s Credentials – Carefully. 
Are they licensed and insured for workers compensation, property and personal liability? If in doubt, ask to see their insurance certificate. Do they belong to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers Council, and/or any of the more specific trade associations in the remodeling sector? That’s a sign of commitment to the trade and to professionalism. Most also offer certification and/or management training and keep their members up to date on the latest products and techniques. Ask for recent references on similar jobs (employee and subcontractor turnover is often fairly high, so recent jobs are a reliable indicator of their current capability). Check their record with the Better Business Bureau while you’re at it.

Courtesy of the American Homeowners Foundation and the American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, www.AmericanHomeowners