Some Steps to Successful Remodeling
Even with an economy that just wont restart itself and consumer confidence at a low ebb, homeowners would still be hard at work building two-story additions or updating kitchens and bathrooms.
Why? It makes good sense. First, even in areas where two or three buyers are bidding on every house, you cant put turkeys on the market and have everyone lining up with offers in hand.
While you shouldnt undertake complicated and costly remodeling projects to sell a house in hopes of getting an immediate return on your investment, you can make changes now, enjoy them for a few years, and then recoup all or part of your investment in the sales price of the house.
I should say might be able to recoup, because in real estate, nothing is a sure thing. For example, if you spent $8,000 replacing inefficient windows with efficient ones in a place with a harsh winter climate such as Albany or Minneapolis, you might not be able to recoup as much of your investment as you would if you lived in a milder climate such as Baltimore.
In Albany, houses are expected to have efficient windows. In Baltimore, it is a plus.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry offers some suggestions it says you should keep in mind when planning a remodeling project.
The first step to take is pre-planning, which can be started by making two lists about the room that you want to remodel. One list will highlight the things you like about the room. The others will catalog what you dont like.
Then come up with a wish list. This list will include features you wish you could have for example, a second dishwasher just for glassware if you are remodeling a kitchen.
Then list features that you want, such as a convection oven or a larger refrigerator-freezer.
Add features you need, which could include newer plumbing, adequate lighting and a new tile or vinyl floor.
Pick out some possible color swatches. You can go to the home center or paint store, get a bunch of chips and stick them on the walls of the room to see which ones go better.
Since millions of homeowners are continuing to cash out equity in their houses to finance such improvement projects, finding the right design and then finding the right remodeler for the job can take months. With so many projects underway, remodelers tend to be busy and might not be able to get started on yours for awhile, so dont expect to get on the phone, make a few calls and have someone at the house next week.
After pre-planning, you will want to meet with your remodeler. He or she will take a walk through your house to get a feel for the traffic flow in the home and find out where the mechanical systems of the house are.
From this preliminary meeting, the remodeler will take some time to draw up the plans.
When the plans are ready, you will be asked to review and make revisions to the plans and make a deposit to begin the work.
The final plans will include an outline of the job including the materials, products, remodeler's notes, finish details, and pre-priced options and upgrades. Your remodeler may give you a timeline that outlines the steps in the remodeling project. Don't rely solely on this timeline because several variables can have an impact on the length of the project, such as availability of special-order items or materials.
It is important to maintain constant communication with the remodeler so you can understand any changes that may take place in the schedule.
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