Financial Dos and Don'ts of Remodeling

Most people buy a home that's already built, not one that's custom-made for them, so it's normal for home and condo owners to want to remodel things to their liking. Remodeling projects often aren't cheap, but you can keep your expenses down by planning ahead. If you're thinking about sprucing things up a bit, check out the following dos and don'ts before you write a big check.

 

Shop Around for Quotes

Cold-calling a home remodeling company to ask for quotes can be scary and confusing if you don't know what you're doing. But it's worth it to make sure you're getting the best deal and the best service. Don't simply pick the contractor who offers you the lowest price. A quick online search can reveal information about the reliability of the contractors. Even if they offer warranties, a warranty is only as reliable as the person or company backing it. Don't be afraid to ask why a company is more or less expensive when there's a difference in price. One company may be using cheaper materials that might not last as long.

 

Consider the Value Added to Your Home

Home renovations are often motivated by a desire to increase the sales price of the home, or at least to speed up the process of getting it sold. Not all remodels are created equal, however. Most add less than their cost to the value of your home, with home office repairs yielding the lowest returns. Of course, this isn't a big concern if you plan to remain in your home and don't care how much the remodel could add to your home's sales price.

 

Use Caution on Do-It-Yourself Projects

Make sure you know what you're doing if you're thinking about going the DYI route. Doing the job yourself might end up costing you more. You could end up spending extra on materials because you purchase the wrong items or break the right items while installing them, not to mention the value of your time. It could actually cost you less to hire a professional if you aren't familiar with the task you're attempting. Worse, you could end up voiding your home's warranty and have to pay out of pocket for repairs if you make a mistake.

 

Consult Your Homeowner's or Condo Association

Check the restrictions imposed by your homeowner's association or condo association before you dive into a remodeling project. This is especially true if you're doing work on the outside of your home, like painting or adding a deck, but it can also apply to interior improvement projects. For example, get clearance ahead of time if you're thinking about adding a fireplace. You could find yourself having to pay to remove it after you've already paid to install it if your HOA — or the local fire department — doesn't allow them.

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