When you are remodeling your home it is important to strike a balance between your needs, the needs of future potential buyers. According to Remodel Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, homeowners can typically expect to recoup over 70 percent of what they pay for a minor kitchen remodel. Focus on the basics, like cabinet resurfacing, counter tops, and flooring but stay away from pricey hand-painted tiles or built-in espresso machines. Remember, bold or unique product selections such as orange cabinets or red countertops will likely alienate future buyers, so stick to neutral themes.
Do your research to determine what remodels yield the highest return on your investment. When selecting an area to remodel be conscious of your neighborhood. Remember, your location is a large indicator of the price you can expect from future buyers, so if you do indulge in high-ticket items, enjoy them, but don’t expect a large return on your splurge. Currently, the remodels with the highest returns are: entryway doors, garage doors, finished basements or attics, and vinyl siding.
Here’s some good news if you’re planning a home improvement or remodeling project. Contractors are finding it slow going these days due to the housing slump and shaky economy. Many are taking on smaller jobs that they wouldn’t have considered before—and they’re willing to deal on pricing just to get new work.
Unfortunately, however, a softer economy also brings out unscrupulous types, warns the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, such as unlicensed individuals posing as remodelers.
Here’s how to protect yourself if you’re planning a project:
• Be sure to hire an experienced local contractor and not a fly-by-nighter. Contact state or local licensing agencies to ensure a contractor meets all requirements.
• Check with the local Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the contractor. Check references from past customers as well.
• Get three written estimates from licensed contractors.
• Ask for proof of insurance.
• Draw up a contract before work starts. It should detail the type of work and materials and contain starting and finishing dates. The contract should also contain a warranty covering materials and workmanship for a minimum of one year.
• Be wary of contractors soliciting business door to door.
• Never give a big deposit upfront. Consider putting down no more than 10 percent of the total job cost.
• Make sure you understand the financial terms of the contract and that the total price, payment schedule and any cancellation penalty are clear.