The Remodeling Corner

Janet Cook

Home remodeling is as hot as ever, as more homeowners have the standard of living in a well-designed home, but several recent national surveys have found most are not realistic about the costs of home remodeling. Though many have done research prior to contacting a contractor, many start the process without a budget. There are better ways to prepare to have a good experience with your home remodeling projects.

Determining the budget by getting several contractor bids is not a sound method, nor the best way. A contractor could be lacking in experience to bid accurately, and if it is too low to be profitable, that’s not good for you or them. There are some contractors that intentionally bid low with the strategy to make up for what they didn’t originally include by creating change orders. There are reputable contractors that stay on budget. It can be confusing to try to compare bids, for you will not know why their numbers are different. Neither the lowest or the highest is necessarily better one.

Other people try get an idea of how much materials will cost and make a guess from there, and that is not effective. Discover Personal Loans surveyed 969 homeowners how much they believed home remodeling projects would cost. Over half underestimated the cost of every different type of project. For kitchen remodeling, 78% of respondents underestimated by an average of $9,532. The cost of labor is the most common expense that is underestimated. Labor can account for more than a third of the cost of the home remodeling project.

A better way to get an idea might be to look at what the average cost per project type as averaged nationally, regionally, and by major city found in the Cost vs. Value Report as a reference (see our blog for the 2020 Report and a link to it). For example, it will list how much a minor and major mid-range kitchen remodel and bathroom remodel average job cost is, which can be helpful in setting a realistic budget for your own project.

Once you have determined your budget, or budget range and defined what you must have, select a reputable remodeling contractor to interview. Communicate what you don’t like about how your home is, what you want changed, and your budget. An experienced designer can help you be realistic in what you can get done within that budget and suggest solutions and ideas how to maximize your investment on how to get the most value. Or if your budget is too low for what you want, they can give suggestions on what to eliminate or postpone. Of course, you may opt to increase your budget to get your home how you want it to be, to enjoy the finished project sooner, than later.

Happy home remodeling!

Janet Cook, Certified Aging in Place Specialist, President of Cook Remodeling (celebrating their 41st year), invites you to connect on Facebook for more ideas.