Project Runaway

April 24, 2008 at 9:37 pm 2 comments




You know that remodeling can add value to a home, but how do you know what rooms are worth remodeling, how much to spend and how to prevent your project from getting out of hand?

First, think about design and function, and distinguish between your wants and your needs – do you want to refresh your space to help you sell your home or do you want to create your dream room in the house you’re thinking of buying? Your goals for the project will set the parameters of your budget.

Room size, floor plan, product choices and amount of required labor affect the cost of a project. Kitchens, for example, can range from $5,000 to $50,000. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry recommends saving 10 percent to 20 percent of your budget for unforeseen costs. Be ready to make compromises here and there and plan to do some of the work yourself if your hoping to keep costs down.

There are various ways to finance a remodeling project, and many professional remodeling contractors are familiar with available financing options. Be sure to research funding sources carefully and compare qualifications guidelines, interest rates, terms and tax considerations.

Finally, make sure you have a thorough and clearly written contract. It should include specific details about what the contractor will and will not do; a detailed list of materials for the project; approximate start and completion dates; total price, payment schedule and cancellation policy; and a minimum one-year warranty.

Sources:; National Association of the Remodeling Industry (





Entry filed under: Austin, Fix It, Smart Sellers. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Quality tradesman  |  April 25, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Right, right and right. You sound like you’ve been around a project or two.
    Being the age-ed remodeler and a hand-tooled craftsman there is one more topic I want to bring up: the contingency.
    That is an area that can save an honest-hardworking guy like me a truck-load of anxiety and keep me on the job. It’s the soft part of the contract that covers my assets in the area of work that is unknown; it maybe a small part of the job, but every job has one, or two. It’s that part that I’m not comfortable with because, even after 38 years, I haven’t worked on your house before! What’s behind that wall? How old is that valve handle that you want me to turn off, tighter, that may snap off in my soft but powerful club hand. But, these are trite examples; more importantly it’s the probable presence of water behind or below the concrete, the Federal Pacific electrical panel that you don’t want to change out or tale-tell cracks in the tile, the plaster or, gfbid, the customer’s emotional stability (even before the project begins)
    No, a contract-contingency, doesn’t make the homeowner sing or be blindly happy; or still, she may not notice or care. “She” has usually been my customer, being middle age, savvy, and likes options and a written guarantee, at least on parts I’m willing to. In recent years, I’ve seen most every issue with every house, so my contingencies are few & far and labeled well so the Mrs. disregards them. I generally come well recommended, so, when it is an issue worth caring about, we talk it to death, and then bury it in a mountain of understanding. It seems to work best that way – thinking it through and all, getting several opinions, some more worthless than others. Its funny, but that how even the big problems are solved, early, through anticipation, patience, sipping hot coffee and contingencies.
    Here’s the point; a guy like me isn’t the issue. I’m tagged by the state, seared and bonded to the hilt. If I stepped out of line, even just for a minute, my loving realtor wife of 28 years would probably sue me. Besides, most clients these days are church-relatives and owe me at least a little money to boot. No, I’ll die with them on, soon, because I love my job, my country, my family, my….now where are my glasses?
    The guys you need to worry about are those younger ones, getting towards forty. These punks, some are teenagers, will make scads of contingencies as soon as you ask for a contract. They act like its no issue at all. To them a contract is a written permission slip to screw up details that are intentionally left out. It beats me how nothing is sacred in the contracting process anymore. Half of everything built today is crud and the rest isn’t paid for anyway. What‘s it all coming to?
    Well, I’ll tell you; things still break, they wear out and get old. They need replacing, remodeling and made bigger and better. That’s the business we’re in and it makes the world go around. That is, however, the bright side. The other side is: it’s never easy, never without pain and suffering and some sort of contract. Like it or not, contracts, don’t cover everything, yet, some people do. But, even these folks probably want some sort of contingency.

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