Determining a Kitchen Remodeling Budget

It is very important to determine a budget for any home improvement project, and kitchen remodeling is no exception.

A word of caution: I spent several hours researching kitchen remodeling cost and budgeting on the internet to gather data for this article. I ran into a couple websites that gave square footage pricing for kitchen remodeling. Although I commiserate with their attempt to find a simple method to figure out remodeling pricing, this type of advice is not based in reality. Remodeling jobs in general are so specific to the conditions of the building and tastes of the homeowner that no square footage pricing will ever be realistic. I also ran into many sites that did not give you any real information about establishing a budget but basically interpreted Hanley Wood’s Remodeling Cost vs. Value report which is published each year. You are much better off visiting the Cost vs. Value report online and evaluating the results for yourself.

Like anything else in this world a kitchen remodel is going to cost more than you thought it would and the sky is the limit on what it can cost depending on your tastes. There are multiple factors that go into determining a remodeling budget.

There are several places online you can go to help you establish a basic budget number to start with. My personal recommendation is Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report which is released by region and major city each year. The really nice thing about this report is that it gives a description of the “average” project so that you can gauge if your kitchen remodel is going to fall above or below the benchmark. I also find their average pricing to be an accurate reflection of the pricing for our company, so by recommending to clients before I even meet with them that they investigate this report they are more likely to establish a realistic budget we can work within to give them a fantastic kitchen.

Custom Hutch built with Semi-Custom Cabinets

While Remodeling Magazine’s report is very helpful, it is still a very one size fits all approach to establishing a budget. Keep reading if you’d like to try to hone your numbers a bit.

Get out a pad and paper and jot down a few notes about each factor as you go through this list:

Factor 1 Home Value- Consider not only what you think your home is worth, but also the value of similar homes in your neighborhood that already have updates. My favorite website to check home values is zillow.com, simply enter your address and you get an interactive map with home values and other information listed right on the map. Take note of which homes are of similar size to yours, have been purchased more recently, but have a higher value, then peek in their windows to see what the house looks like. Ok, seriously, I was only kidding. If you don’t know them perhaps it’s time to meet the neighbors and ask for a quick tour.

Factor 2 Wow! – This has everything to do with your goals and motivations. Write down each motivational factor which is important to you in a kitchen remodel. Here are some possible examples: Kitchen is falling apart. You love to cook and the layout doesn’t suit you. You love to entertain and want to open up the kitchen as a place to gather. You want a kitchen that wows your guests. You are getting ready to sell your home and the kitchen is a sticking point with buyers… Now that you have your list, evaluate which motivations are most important and relist them in motivational order. Imagining your budget starting in “the middle” take note of which factors might move the budget up or down…i.e. wanting to remodel to encourage a sale might move the budget down, remodeling to wow guest might max it out…etc.

Factor 3 Did someone say AGA? – List any “must haves” for a kitchen remodel to be worth it to you. Possible examples: granite counters, an island with an extra sink, a second dishwasher, a commercial quality gas range, etc.

Factor 4 Longevity- Determine to the best of your ability the length of time you plan on owning the home.

Factor 5 Size Matters- Determine what percentage of your home your kitchen encompasses. A sampling of over 100 modern home floorplans of 1000 to 3000 square foot homes revealed the average kitchen square footage to be 7% of the home’s square footage. If your kitchen is larger or smaller than this average you may need to increase or decrease your budget accordingly.

Factor 6 Layout- if you already know you’re going to want the sink moved, an island sink added, an interior wall moved and an exterior door added, then you need to add money to your budget well beyond what a basic facelift would cost.

Tricky layout: the decorative column conceals a sound wrapped drain pipe

Factor 7 Funding- Determine the maximum amount of money you could afford to spend. If you are financing your project you can calculate what a lender will likely lend you. Lenders want to see a debt to income ratio(DTI) of.36 or less. Your DTI is established by taking all your monthly debt obligations (credit card payments, auto loans, mortgage, etc.) and dividing by your monthly income. To determine your maximum safe monthly debt multiply.36 times your monthly income. Now subtract your existing monthly debt from this number and you have a monthly budget maximum. Here’s a link to a calculator that will do the math for you: mortgage calculator

Putting it All Together

The key to determining your budget is finding the percentage of your home’s value you should use as a budget guideline. While researching this article I ran across recommendations to use percentages ranging from 10% to 25% of home value. For a kitchen remodel of any substance that includes new flooring, appliances, cabinets, sink/faucet, lighting and bringing electric up to code I find anything less than 15% to be a very dubious number. I suppose on a million dollar house 10% would be a workable budget, but on a 200k house a 20k budget is marginal at best for a full blown kitchen remodel.

If resale value is important to you it is wise to keept the cost of your kitchen renovation project within 20% of the current value of your home. Staying within this range insures that a majority of the new kitchen’s cost is recouped in increased home value immediately, and the remaining cost should be recouped within 5 years as your home appreciates.

Ok, let’s run through an example. Keep in mind, there is no exact formula here. We are simply doing our best to be as informed as possible and make a wise decision about how much to spend on our kitchen remodel.

For our example let’s use my house. It’s a 50′s cape cod with a modest square footage of 1500.

Factor 1 value: Zillow gives me an estimated value of $167,500, however, I notice zillow hasn’t yet updated and accounted for the single family homes which were recently built in the field behind us with a starting price of $270k. Zillow also has our square footage listed at under 1200. Looks like the previous owner did a little remodeling without a permit. I’m going to base my budget on a price of 180k which is similar to other houses in the neighborhood that are the same size.

Factor 2 Goals: My wife and I love to entertain guests. To make a kitchen remodel worthwhile for us we need to lose an interior wall to open up the kitchen and dining nook to the living room. I’m going to add 1% to budget for this.

Factor 3 Must Haves: As a former chef two must haves for me are a new oven and a really nice propane range(no natural gas service here), preferably a commercial range modified for home use (real commercial ranges don’t have insulation around the oven, critical for home safety). I’m going to add another 1% to my budget to make sure there is enough money to get me my range and propane installation.

Factor 4 Longevity: We plan to stay in our house a minimum of 4 years. As a rule of thumb it takes 5 years for most remodeling to appreciate and recoup all of its cost. Since we will likely be here at least 5 years I’m not going to penalize the budget, but since there is a good chance we’ll move right around 5 years I’m not going to increase it like I would if we were staying much longer.

Factor 5 Size of Kitchen: Our kitchen is about 140SquareFeet(SF). That’s over 9% of the SF of the house, 2% above average. Obviously this kitchen is going to require some extra material and cabinets. I’m going to up the budget 1% for this, I hope it’s enough.

Factor 6 Layout: We are going to change the layout of our kitchen pretty extensively. We currently have a cooktop peninsula. The range is going to go on a differnet wall and the dishwasher will move to the peninsula, though we might ditch the peninsula, move the fridge and add an island instead. About the only thing that won’t move is the sink. I’m going to add another 1% to my budget, again hoping $1800 (1% of our 180k value) is enough to cover the electrical and plumbing changes.

For my base I’m going to use 20%. As I mentioned before, there are going to be people who will argue with me on that, but going lower often doesn’t leave you with workable budget numbers for full blown kitchen remodels. I’m adding 4% based on my factors listed above. I adjusted my zillow.com estimated home value to 180k based on the comparable square footage and value of other homes around me. This gives me a working budget of 24% x 180k= $43,200 When I compare this to the Cost Vs. Value report I see that in the Middle Atlantic Region a Major Kitchen Renovation is $59, 098. It looks like my budget could be bit low, especially since I really would like granite countertops and the Cost Vs. Value specs call for laminate tops. On the other hand my kitchen is significantly smaller than their 200SF benchmark, so I think I’ll go with my budget number and see what my contractor can do for me in that budget.

Choosing A House Plan

Building a house of your own choice is the dream of many people, but when they get the opportunity and financial means to do so, they struggle to get the right house plan that would transform their dream into reality. It is a long and complicated route from the first conceptualization of a home to the house designs, floor plans, elevations, cross-sections, structural designs, and finally the completed house plan that will ultimately form the basis of the construction of the home. Most people do not have a clue as to where and how to get house designs, or even to get the right designers who can do this job for them.

How to Find the Best House Plans

The best bet for finding the right house plans is to browse the different websites providing house plans and select the most reputable one. When you visit their site, you will find a plethora of house plan designs with pictorial representation of the homes, complete with floor plans, cross-sections, and elevations so that you can get a clear idea of what the house will look like. When you look at a number of these, you will get great ideas that you can modify to suit your own requirements. The website will also give a rough idea of the cost involved in building a house as per a particular house design.

Benefits of Online House Plans

Online ones will give you a clear vision of what your dream house will look when it is made, what features you can afford to incorporate, and the cost aspect depending on the amenities that you choose. These plans are a great starting point for you to commence your house building project. When you select a site and view its different house plans, you can consider alternatives and think of modifications that would suit your own preferences. The website will easily make any changes desired by you to a particular one and a revised one will be made available to you. Any additions or alterations will be checked for viability by an architectural designer, before they are incorporated in the house design.

Getting a house plan made specifically for your requirements is a time-consuming process, and it also involves a lot of effort and cost. Online ones will enable you to cut short these inputs and you can get the design for your dream home incorporating any changes that you need in the shortest possible time. Building your house is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that must be done with utmost care and you must make an effort to incorporate all that you would like to have in your dream home, subject to availability of funds.

There are a few aspects that you must finalize in your mind, before looking at the different online designs. You need to visualize the structure of the house with respect to whether there should be a basement, how many storeys you would like to have, the number of garages that you want, whether you wish to have any outside water pond, the size of the house, the sizes of the different bedrooms, kitchen, living area, etc., and the amenities that you want like bathroom tubs, sinks, and fireplace.

The best way to visualize what you want is to visit a few model homes and see for yourself different aspects that you would like to have like ceiling contours, air circulation systems, and sunlight levels. This will help you in finalizing your house plan.

Remodeling Cost

As urban communities gets denser and denser, the availability of parcels of land gets lesser and prices gets higher. That makes building homes entirely from scratch downright expensive and impractical. To counter the scaling of modern prices, prospective homeowners now opt instead to buy existing properties with ideas of remodeling.

A smart move that, since remodeling cost is substantially lower than the building cost of a new property. So much can be reused or sold for scraps and that can still contribute even if somewhat mediocre, to the overall project cost. Nails, old planks of wood and even fixtures and old accessories, bundled together can still heave a hefty price in the second hand market.

So from the cheapest to highest, what’s the scale of remolding costs? Costs are dependent on several factors. The existing market of materials, the quality of the materials used and the strength of the currency are the defining factors for remodeling cost. While most remodeling projects are subcontracted, remodeling is fast promoted as DIY projects by popular hardware suppliers like Home Depot, and this have a substantial effect on the cost.

Kitchen, bath and bedroom remodeling is perhaps the most common route for remodeling. In fact properties that have the most chances in the customer market always rank more than average on these home hotspots. Likewise, improving on these areas would also result in a higher sale value. Exact remodeling costs are very elusive. Even if similar materials and designs are used, some factors like the present day tax, labor fees and construction length adds (or subtracts) the overall cost, further making remodeling costs estimates inaccurate. So it’s best to have a budget overrun by several percent, to be safe. Here’s a data for remodeling cost on the three most popular rooms.

Kitchen Remodeling Cost: $30,779

Remodeling includes replacement of sink, faucet, cabinet doors, oven, cook tops and counter tops. In addition, laminating on wood surfaces of cabinet doors and counter tops, repainting are done. Also added are a microwave, lighting, and an island table.

Bathroom Remodeling Cost: $9,044

Remodeling includes replacement of a new tub, toilet, lighting and tiles, also added a vanity and a medicine cabinet.

Bedroom Remodeling Cost: $42,398

Remodeling three bedrooms, added walk-in closet, whirlpool tub and a separate shower in the 24×16 feet master suite.
While the remodeling costs tend to differ in various instances, the data shown above should give a rough estimate, provided you do as what the estimates suggest. The remodeling cost data should also say that planning for a room remodel with only $7,000 is hardly feasible.

A Practical Guide to Remodeling

Depending on the goals of any home remodeling being done, there can be very extensive “to-do” lists for both the homeowner and the remodeling contractor. With everything that needs to get done eventually, it can be very hard to ensure that all necessary tasks have been taken care of. In order to ensure that the house remodeling process is as smooth as possible, a person should take the time to perform some preliminary responsibilities.

Every home remodeling project starts with the dream, desire, or need for a change. Whether a person is looking to increase space, upgrade, increase real estate value, or is trying to make the residence more energy efficient, they should take the time to research and draw out the possible changes. Research should be directed at similar house remodeling projects and should include possible designs, construction, and end results. The goal is to get a firm idea of what the finished product should look like so that there is something tangible to discuss with possible remodeling companies.

Many of these companies do have qualified remodelers that can help make these decisions but an informed homeowner will be able to allocate fewer resources to the planning portion of their house remodeling endeavor. If a general plan is available at this point, it is normally possible to get some estimates regarding the work. This will provide a ball park figure for the home remodeling. An architect from a remodeling company should be consulted for any extensive work.

With some figures in hand, reliable funding needs to be established so that work does not need to suddenly halt. It is also a bad idea to start very large projects if there is not a guarantee it can be paid for at the necessary times. It is imperative that a financial cushion be available on the set budget in case unexpected expenses arise during the home remodeling. Even very qualified remodelers may quote an estimate lower than what the costs actually turn out to be.

Once a budget has been firmly established, thorough research regarding the possible remodeling contractors needs to be performed. Verify which permits need to be requested. Check out any referrals for different remodeling companies and make sure to verify all references provided by a contractor. Even though cost can be a very deciding factor, make sure to not just arbitrarily choose the lowest prices. The goal of house remodeling is to have permanent, quality changes. It would be a waste of time and money to have to hire another remodeling contractor to correct mistakes.

Estimates are just that: estimates. Do not be afraid to negotiate with a remodeling company on certain aspects of the price. When an agreement is reach, everything needs to be placed in writing. The contract should be very detailed and should include all work being done, cost, and any provisions requested by homeowner or remodeling contractor.

Make sure to remove all valuable items from the location of the house remodeling. Be prepared for workers and noise in the home throughout the day. Once the work begins, schedule meetings on a regular basis with the remodeling contractor. This is a good way to ensure that work is being done in a timely manner while meeting all expectations. People might want to get a hotel room in order to minimize inconveniences. Keep in mind that vacations should never be scheduled during any home remodeling projects because it makes it difficult to check on the work being done.

Why it Still Makes Sense to Remodel

With the decline in the economy, there have reports recently stating that remodeling one’s home is a consumer extravagance. This is not only inaccurate but irresponsible. Remodeling is often necessary for overall upkeep and maintenance of one’s home; putting off home improvements could result in more costly repairs and improvements in the future. An older roof cannot and should not be ignored. It will not offer the needed protection, will not be energy-efficient and detracts from the aesthetics of one’s home. If it is left to deteriorate, it could leak, resulting in further damage to a home’s interior. Leaky windows can let water seep into walls and cause black mold to grow; deteriorating chimneys can not only fall apart and cause damage but could result in leaking into the home.

The studies and reports in the actual remodeling industry are factual and encouraging. The Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI), a Charlotte-based organization of industry professionals in the kitchen remodeling industry, conducts a “Remodelers 360″ survey that examines consumers’ kitchen design preferences, kitchen remodeling experiences, and how they use their kitchens. The results reveal what common sense would tell us: more Americans are eating at home as a result of the downturn in the economy, thus the desire to remodel a kitchen is still motivating consumers to remodel. The value homeowners get for a kitchen remodel and the aesthetic and practical benefits to the home still make it a highly worthwhile investment.

According to Remodeling Magazine Cost vs. Value Report 2008-2009, remodeling is still an excellent investment that not only improves your quality of life and the cost of which can be recouped if or when you sell your home. The Cost vs. Value Report gives approximate costs of particular remodeling projects and provides potential resale amounts and percentage of return on investment. The costs of remodeling obviously can vary from place to place across the U.S., based on regional fluctuations in material costs and contractors’ labor costs and overhead.

Bathroom Remodel: Update an existing 5×7-foot bathroom that would include replacing all fixtures, installing a ceramic tile surround; installing a new plumbing in the tub, shower and sink; installing a standard white toilet; solid-surface vanity counter with integral sink; installing a medicine cabinet, light fixture and ceramic tile floor.

Approximate Project Cost:$15,899

Resale value: $11,857

Cost Recouped: 74.6%

Deck Addition (wood): Add a 16×20-foot deck using pressure-treated joists supported by 4×4 posts anchored to concrete piers. Install pressure-treated deck boards in a simple linear pattern; include a built-in bench and planter of the same decking material and stairs

(assuming three steps to grade). Provide a complete railing system using pressure-treated wood posts, railings, and balusters.

Approximate Project Cost: $10,601

Resale Value: $8,676

Cost Recouped: 81.8%

Major Kitchen Remodel: Update an outmoded 200-square-foot kitchen with a layout of approximately 30 linear feet of new semi-custom wood cabinets, installing laminate countertops and a standard double-tub stainless-steel sink with standard single-lever faucet. Install an energy-efficient wall oven, cooktop, ventilation system, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and custom lighting. Add new resilient flooring and finish with painted walls, trim, and ceiling.

Approximate Project Cost: $56,611

Resale value: $43,030

Cost Recouped: 76.0%

Minor Kitchen Remodel: In a functional but dated 200-square-foot kitchen with approximately 30 linear feet of cabinetry and countertops, leave cabinet boxes in place but replace fronts with new raised-panel wood doors and drawers, including new hardware; replace wall oven and cooktop with new energy-efficient models. Replace laminate countertops and install mid-priced sink and faucet. Repaint trim, add wall covering, and remove and replace resilient flooring.

Approximate Project Cost: $21,246

Resale Value: $16,881

Cost Recouped: 79.5%

There are also many remodeling projects that increase your home’s energy-efficiency. Updating older bathroom plumbing fixtures with newer, more water-conserving fixtures is an affordable way to improve a home’s efficiency, lower water costs, and improve the appearance of the bathroom as well. Other minor things that can be done include installing new doors, installing Energy Star- rated windows, sealing cracks and crevices with spray foam, and if possible laying thicker insulation in the attic.

Consumer energy tax incentives and credits are being offered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and are providing consumers tax incentives to have energy-efficiency improvements done to their existing homes and new construction. The plan includes federal tax credits and includes:

Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, in 2009 & 2010 (for existing homes only) for:

Windows and Doors

Insulation

Roofs (Metal and Asphalt)

HVAC

Water Heaters (non-solar)

Biomass Stoves

Tax credits are available at 30% of the cost, with no upper limit through 2016 (for existing homes & new construction) for:

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Solar Panels

Solar Water Heaters

Small Wind Energy Systems

Fuel Cells

The Joint Center for Housing Studies is Harvard University’s center for information and research on housing in the United States. The Joint Center for Housing Studies examines emerging housing and community development policies and concerns. Industry leaders and public officials also use the center’s research to learn about trends and issues in the housing field.

According to The Joint Center for Housing Studies 2009 Growth Markets for Remodeling report, remodeling has helped to increase the energy efficiency of existing homes over the past two decades, especially older homes built during or before the 1930s. Most homeowners are currently interested in projects that will improve their homes’ energy efficiency and address other environmental concerns (utilizing “green” materials for reducing carbon footprint and health concerns for example). In 2007, homeowners spent over $52 billion of their improvement to energy-related projects, up from less than $33 billion (in inflation-adjusted terms) a decade earlier. Homeowners are motivated by environmental concerns, and have a growing interest in products and projects that meet the green goals of quality and durability, environmental performance, and safety (such as lessening the chances or consequences of certain disasters on the home).

As credit conditions start to ease up, owners will find it easier to finance their home improvement projects. As home prices edge back up, owners will again realize the wealth-building benefits of investing in their homes. And as sales pick up, recent buyers will want to make improvements as the economy continues to improve. When the uncertainty of the economy and job-security lessens, people will feel less fear about spending money on remodeling projects.

Remodeling can be done at any time of year- it is not necessary to wait until springtime to tackle home improvements when most contractors and home improvement specialists are backlogged with work. Certain projects are definitely best-suited to fair weather: roofs, exterior painting, decks, and siding. But there are many projects that can be completed at any time: interior painting, kitchen or bathroom remodel, basement reclaiming or remodeling, removing wall(s) to open up interior spaces, flooring, and installing doors and windows, refinishing wood floors or putting in new trim work. A great project is redefining a room by changing a bedroom or poorly-utilized room into a bathroom, office, media room or workout room/ relaxation retreat, or a space that fits your lifestyle.

Modern House Plans

Modern house plans offer a great alternative to the more traditional styles. Even if you don’t want to go all the way with an ultra-modern house plan, there are many modern-inspired house plans that are not too extreme in their appearance.

Modern house plans include a range of styles, ranging from the stereotypical “concrete, steel, and glass” look to subtle or exaggerated variations of historically older house plan styles.

Historians of architecture and house plan sellers often use somewhat different definitions of styles, especially in the more fragmented modern house plans category. One synonym that’s often used for modern house plans is “contemporary house plans.” While technically a subcategory of modern house plans, contemporary house plans seem to describe best what most people would intuitively describe as “modern”.

Technically, the following styles are all modern styles:

Craftsman
Bungalow
French Eclectic
Art Deco/Art Moderne
A-Frame
Neo-Eclectic
Neo-Classical
Neo-Victorian
Neo-mediterranean
Neo-Colonial
Neo-”Anything”
Contemporary
Postmodern

Finding modern house plans can be a bit challenging because of the loose definition of the term, but after a few initial searches you should get a feel for which sites have better offerings than others. Keep in mind that a site with the largest number of plans is not necessarily the best resource.

There are specialist designers focusing on modern plans, who may offer you more interesting and individual designs and smarter service. It just requires a bit more digging to reach the smaller studios. That said, looking through a large site’s collection of house plans can be a quick and efficient way to refine your ideas for what you seek in a modern plan.

Personally, I’m a big fan of modern house plans, because they tend to have larger windows and open floor plans, which provide a flexible and spacious living experience. Even if your house doesn’t look like a “modern” house from the outside, the interior layout of modern house plans makes it worthwhile to take a look at them.

Holiday Outdoor Decor

Every holiday comes with its own brand of décor. It’s part of getting into the fun spirit of the holiday. The decorations themselves not only set the theme, but make up a large part of how fun the holiday actually is. There are stores, nowadays, devoted solely to holiday decorations. Here is a rundown of what you might need.

Christmas

This, of course, is the biggest holiday of them all. The first things that come to mind are a pine tree (fake or real) and lights for the outside of the home and the indoor tree. The popular thing, nowadays, are led lights that show very bright colors. They last a long time and use less energy. The led icicle lights look great.

People are also getting into Christmas scenes. The big box stores carry large blow up decorations for the yard. You might also find a large nativity set or Santa and some reindeer. The point is to make it fund and attractive without spending too much money.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving means that fall is over and that winter is going to arrive soon. It is memorable to make decorations from fall items. For example, a wreath out of pine and holly would be a good idea. The point is that you display the fall and appreciate what the summer has brought to you. Fall leaves and plants are brightly colored and that makes them ideal to use. Scarecrows and corn are also some of the most used items.

Halloween

We used to hang a giant spider up in the tree. We made the spider of stuffed plastic bags and then used some cotton for the spider web. It is also fun to write scary things on the sidewalk with chalk. One time we wrote the word boo on the outside of our house with chalk, but it never came out. Be careful how you use the chalk.

Halloween is a fun time to carve pumpkins. You can also buy clever lighted pumpkins that look great and last for years. The unique thing about Halloween is that many people incorporate scary music into the outdoor atmosphere. You don’t find that happening a lot with Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Fourth of July

The main theme, of course, is the flag. A lot of people will at least display a flag in the front of their home. Other people will go as far as to plant red white and blue flowers for the landscaping for a patriotic theme. Flowers that are in season such as Petunias and Peonies are a good idea.

New Births

How about displaying a stork sign in your front yard when you have a new birth? Some companies will actually come around and display the sign for you to help announce the new birth. It is a fun gift to give one of your expecting friends.

Other Holidays

People display décor for just about any holiday. You can find leprechauns around St. Patricks day and heart awnings around Valentines day. You just won’t find as many people doing it. The important thing is to find something that suits you and to pick the holidays that you enjoy most. If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can display for all of them.

Final Tips

Holidays are meant to get together with friends and family and to spend quality time together. The décor helps to make the process more fun. Make sure and let others help you decorate because it helps everyone to feel part of the holiday.

Get out and do things. Activities and games are much more fun than sitting around the house every day. Even in winter, make it a point to get out and enjoy the holidays outdoors.

How to Choose Remodelers

Remodeling projects are a financial and emotional investment for plenty of property owners. Remodelers minimize your anxiety by offering first-class work in the shortest time frame. The wrong remodeler will increase not only your stress levels but also your payments. The remodeling contractor that you engage to handle your remodeling projects needs to be knowledgeable for the job at hand. Employ the following suggestions to pick the ideal remodeling contractor for your remodeling projects:

Fast, experienced and reliable are the three main features to seek for in a remodeling company.

Don’t automatically opt for a remodeling contractor with the least expensive bid. You must check out more than a few remodelers before you can establish which pro to engage. Don’t reconcile to second best, always make every effort to hire the most pro service professionals at affordable costs.

Make time to convey your remodeling wants and needs to each and every service professional – don’t presume that remodelers will automatically visualize your dream design.

Get at minimum three estimates from different remodelers. Provide precise information and ask plenty of questions to get itemized estimates. Unanticipated payments are escapable by attaining detailed estimates to shape a realistic remodeling budget.

Make sure that correspondence is problem free between contractors and yourself. Feel comfortable approaching service professionals with any inconvenience concerning your remodeling. You want to reject overwhelming conflicts almost entirely.

Make certain first-class materials are employed and not inferior alternates.

To make sure that your remodeling projects winds up to your complete liking while catering to the needs of your style of living, decide on a remodeling contractor with enough references and years of experience. Entrust your kitchen dream in the expert hands of reliable remodelers that share your vision and work hard to make it. Successful remodeling projects are made possible with knowledgeable and reliable remodelers offering first-class work in the shortest time frame.

Remodeling Companies finds for you remodelers and contractors for any home improvement project, whether its bathroom or kitchen remodeling, roofing, home decor, or any other renovation

Tips for Home Improvement Home Equity Loan Financing

No one will argue that increasing the value of your home through home improvement projects
is a great idea. However, large home improvement projects can become quite expensive. Home
improvements lighten your wallet and empty your savings account. Careful planning and
thinking about all your financing options is necessary before beginning your home
improvement project. Below are a few tips for home improvement home equity loan financing to
take into consideration.

Home improvement home equity loans are becoming one of the most popular loans when it comes
to home improvement. Because the interest is deductible from your taxes, It’s a viable tool
for borrowing money. Interest rates on home improvement home equity loans are usually lower
than the interest rates of other types of loans. Another good thing about home improvement
home equity loans is that they are fairly easy to get.

Home improvement home equity loans are great loans for home improvement because the project
can greatly increase the appraisal value of your home. This is a loan that is obtained to be
able to get additional investments for use in the future. Home improvement projects such as
bathroom additions, bedrooms and home extensions can increase the value of a house. However,
some home improvement projects don’t really result in increasing the value of the house. The
construction of a swimming pool is one such project.

Take care when getting a home improvement home equity loan. Don’t forget that the collateral
that you are putting up against the loan is your own house. If you can’t make the payments
and make them on time, you could end up losing your home. You borrowed money for the sole
purpose of improving your house and losing your house would be a disastrous situation
indeed.

Many people use home improvement home equity loans for other reasons. The money is sometimes
spent finance other expenses such as vacations or everyday needs. Steady appreciation of
their houses is what people rely on to be able to pay for the debt. If the value of their
house depreciates at the end of any period, they are in huge financial hot water. This is
why home improvement home equity loans should be used for the improvement of your home
because the risks of depreciation are lower.

To avoid being indebted because of home improvement projects, these tips for home
improvement home equity loan financing should be kept in mind. Home improvements are a great
way to increase the value of your house but always use your head when getting home
improvement home equity loans to finance these projects.

Home Improvement Tips: Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

Reasons for A Redo

Home improvement projects often begin with someone saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice if… ?” usually followed by a wish for a remodelled kitchen or a room addition for space to accommodate every family member’s needs. More often than not, reality and dreams don’t coincide, due to limited funds for realizing the dream, or limits on the available space. The trick: turning your dreams into reality. Begin with a realistic evaluation of your needs. Homeowners usually consider home improvements for one of the following reasons.

You may feel the need to update something that is out-of-date. If your kitchen colour scheme was perfect a few decades ago but no longer works, now may a good time to update it.

Some home improvement projects grow out of an immediate need to replace broken or inefficient fixtures. If a sink, tub, or toilet needs to be replaced, consider taking advantage of the opportunity to do a makeover on the entire bathroom.

If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’ll want to be sure to get top dollar from the sale. That’s great motivation for some home improvement projects.

You have decided that staying put and improving your home is a better option than moving.

Your family has grown and you need more space.

Improving to Move? or Improving to Stay?

Evaluate your plans carefully if you’re improving your home to list it for sale. Cutting corners may hurt your prospects rather than helping them. But don’t go overboard either. Potential buyers may prefer not to pay for some of the extras, such as a hot tub or pool. You’re better off keeping the changes simple.

And remember that buyers who view your home may not share your tastes and may not appreciate the care you took to find just the right shade of green paint for the walls.

You’ll find that improving to sell is easier if you can think about it from the prospective buyer’s point of view: What is important to the home buyer? Here are a few remodelling projects buyers are likely to find valuable:

Adding or remodelling a bath

Improving the kitchen

Adding a new room

Landscaping

Adding a bedroom

Adding or enclosing a garage.

If you’re remodelling because you want to stay in your home, you should still avoid over-improving it. You’ll probably want to sell it someday, and even if your house is the best on the block, it may be difficult to convince potential buyers to pay for the things you considered important. And when you consider making improvements, keep in mind the value of other homes in the area. Your home’s value should not be more than 20% above the average, which means that a $10,000 kitchen improvement project well could be a better investment than a $10,000 hot tub, especially if yours will be the only home in the area with a hot tub.

Home Maintenance versus Home Improvements

It’s unfortunate that some home improvement projects are undertaken because something has broken. Replacing a leaky bathtub may be the first step to a major bath remodeling: since the tub has to be replaced anyway, why not do the whole room?

While that might be a legitimate reason to remodel, avoid basing your home improvement projects on immediate needs. You’ll be better off if you minimize problems with proper maintenance. Examine every part of your home at least once a year. Check the roof, the plumbing, electrical wiring, etc. As soon as become aware of a problem, fix it. Making repairs when you’re first aware of them will help you avoid larger expenses later on. Keep in mind that maintenance does not add to the value of your home. Usually repairs are not improvements; they are necessities.

Hiring Professionals May Save You Time and Money

It should go without saying that home projects can be expensive, so you may be tempted to tackle them yourself as a way to save money. That may be a smart move for small projects. You won’t have to wait for someone to fit your house into their busy schedule, and you can boast about having done the work yourself.

But unless you’re very versatile, major home improvements are better left to professionals. If you decide to remodel the kitchen and plan to do the work yourself, will you be able to handle the plumbing, electrical, and carpentry work on your own?. And don’t forget that you’ll need to finish it quickly, because you won’t have a kitchen as long as it’s a “work in process” and eating three meals a day in restaurants could get expensive. Keep in mind, do-it-yourself jobs generally take more time. And you’ll be responsible for getting all the necessary permits and inspections.

Hiring people who have the required experience can save you money and time, too. For example, these professionals can help you get a custom look using stock products, and that can be a significant savings. Getting something done right the first time will give you value that lasts for years.

To find qualified and dependable home improvement specialists, check with friends, business associates, and neighbours for recommendations. Always get at least three references, and check them out thoroughly. Also check with the local chapter of the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce. Their numbers can be found in the community services section of your telephone book.

Once you’ve located the necessary home improvement specialists, make sure everyone is in agreement about the design, the schedule, and the budget, and get the details down in writing in a signed contract.

It’s also wise to check on professional certifications and licenses, where required, and be certain that the contractors you hire are fully insured and bonded. Your town or city Building Department can provide that information. And it’s very important that you make sure contractors carry workers’ compensation insurance: if workers are injured on the job, you won’t be liable if the contractor is covered. Request copies of their insurance certificates. And make sure that either you or your contractor have gotten any necessary permits before the work begins. Contact your local Planning and Zoning Commission for information.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the professionals you may need to work with when you remodel your home:

Architect: Architects design homes or additions from the foundation to the roof. If your project will require structural changes such as adding or removing walls, or if the design is complex, you will probably need an architect. Since architects may charge an hourly or a flat fee, make sure you get an estimate of the total cost: drawing up the plans for a major remodeling project can take 80 hours or more.

Contractor: The contractor oversees the home improvement project, including hiring and supervising workers, getting the necessary permits, making sure inspections are done as needed, and providing insurance for work crews. It’s always a good idea to get proposals from one or more reputable contractors, based on the specific details of your project.

Be sure each contractor bids on exactly the same plan so that you can compare their bids more easily. When you’ve chosen a contractor, make sure the contract specifies that you will pay in stages. You’ll usually pay one third when the contract is signed so that the contractor can buy supplies. The number and timing for making the remaining payments will depend on the size of the project. Do not make the final payment until all the work is successfully completed, inspected, and approved.

Interior Designers: Interior designers are specialists who will provide advice on furnishings, wall coverings, colors, styles, and more. They help save you time by narrowing your selection, and save money because they usually receive professional discounts from their suppliers. When meeting with an interior designer, be sure to tell them about your personal style and preferences. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour, or you may be able to negotiate a flat fee of approximately 25% of the total project cost.