Don’t Fall Into “The Money Pit” During Your Home Remodeling Project
One of the funniest movies I ever saw was “The Money Pit” starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. They play a newly married couple wanting to buy a house but can’t find anything in their price range. When they find a beautiful old mansion that is selling for a ridiculous price they buy what they think is their dream house.
Once they move in the house starts falling apart everywhere and they have no choice but to remodel the entire structure. The rest of the movie is devoted to the many problems they encounter during the remodeling project. From dealing with no water to missing staircases this movie is admittedly an extreme scenario of what could happen while remodeling.
The good news is this is one example where life does not imitate art and most people that are thinking of remodeling their home will not have anywhere near the experience Tom and Shelley had if they plan accordingly.
As you are most likely not in a situation where a complete house remodeling is needed right away you will have some time to decide exactly what it is you want to accomplish. Do you need another bathroom or maybe you want to add an extra stall in your garage?
These are questions you will need to answer up front before you start any work. Write down on paper what it is you want and make a drawing you can show the contractor. You might want to consider buying some home remodeling software for your PC as these packages are reasonably priced and can be used for just about anything from building a new house to room additions.
Unless you are handy and are going to do the work yourself once you have your plan you need to find a reliable contractor. This is much easier said than done and you would be well advised to talk to at least three before making a decision. Get references and check them out and try and inspect some of their previous work. Asking your acquaintances if they can recommend someone can be a safe way to pick a contractor that you will be happy with.
Get a general project estimate from each contractor and if it’s more than you wanted to spend consider using less expensive materials or scaling down the project some. Be very suspicious of anyone that says they can do the project for an amount that is unrealistically lower than your other estimates.
Next, you need to set a realistic budget that you must adhere to making sure to pad the budget with a little extra for the inevitable problems that will crop up. Be sure to get everything in writing in case you have any serious problems during the project. By having everything spelled out as to the scope of the project and when it will be completed you will be in a better legal position if there are problems. Don’t be afraid to consult with your attorney if this is a large project with a lot of money at stake.
If you lack the cash and need to finance the project with a home equity loan you might want to ask yourself if you really need to be doing this remodeling project at this time. By waiting until you have saved up a bit more money you could save quite a bit in finance charges.
If you do your homework and plan everything up front your remodeling project should be completed on time and on budget giving you the results you desired when you first started the process.
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