Home Remodeling: Where to Get the Most Mileage out of Your Dollar
Remodeling seems to be an inborn instinct, the great American pastime. Sometimes it seems, though, that it gets delayed until the homeowner starts thinking about selling. “Why didn’t I get around to doing this earlier?” Regardless of whether you are going ahead with it for your own use or to get ready to sell the property, though, you want to get the most for your remodeling budget.
Real estate is a serious business, and it seems everything about it involves substantial sums of money. If you are not careful with your choices, you could spend too much. Regardless of whether the remodeling project is for just a single room, a deck or porch, or the whole property, it is important to make informed choices. Finding a professional is key to getting a good remodeling job done at a fair price. Choosing the right service firm for the job requires your careful attention.
Homeowners should watch out for the tricks of dishonest contractors, designers, and architects. The Federal Trade Commission lists these signals that your contractor may be trouble:
- Offers to give you a special price because of having extra material for some random reason
- Presses for a quick commitment
- Asks you to apply for the necessary permits yourself
- Offers you a price break for referring customers
- Accepts only cash payments
- Asks for all the money up front
Those are some of the warnings that you should run from the deal. Sometimes these con artists will try to get you to finance the work with a lender that they recommend. At the extreme limit of the ways things could go, a loan scam could put you out of house and home.
Protective Steps to Take
There are precautions that you have to take to avoid being taken. Interview your list of potential contractors carefully. The FTC recommends that you ask how long they have been in business, license details, and insurance coverage. Check with the city permit authority to find out about applicable permit laws.
Another important thing to be sure to do is asking for recent business references. Not only should you collect a list of references, but you should check. Ask the people about the quality of the job. Ask whether or not there were last-minute expenses, and other problems.
Ensure that the payment terms are clear and agreed upon before the job begins. Some local laws set limits on how much higher the final cost is allowed to be with respect to the estimate. Check into the laws in your area. Don’t pay until you are satisfied with the remodeling work.