To reap the rewards, homeowners have to do their groundwork first.
If you want to be part of the hottest trend in remodeling, make over your kitchen. But don’t just put in new stuff willy-nilly: Let your new kitchen reflect your personality.
At least, that’s what the National Association of the Remodeling Industry – a trade group – finds that homeowners are doing. Kitchens just aren’t a place to cook and eat anymore; in many you’ll find an entertainment center, computers and desks.
And yes, even places to cook and eat.
While kitchens are the favorite remodeling target, bathrooms are close behind but for opposite reasons. Modern kitchens are a place for people to come together. Bathrooms are seen increasingly as a place to escape.
The third-most popular remodel is that of any interior room in the home other than the kitchen or bath. Fourth is a room addition.
Remodeling your home can be rewarding, but it can also be stressful. Just about any remodeling company, home builder or industry trade group will tell you that homeowners usually make the same mistakes over and over. Here are the top 10 mistakes cited by the association.
- Hiring the wrong contractor. Make sure the contractor is bonded, licensed and insured. If possible, get recommendations not on the contractor’s list.
- Selecting inferior products to save money. This is especially true if you’re going to stay in your home. Homeowners who have gone the cheap route often say years later that they wish they’d done it differently.
- Overextending yourself on a do-it-yourself part of the remodel. Trying to save money by doing some remodeling yourself can work out, but chances are you won’t to the job a professional would.
- Improper planning. It could cost a lot to make changes during or after the remodel.
- Not taking all of your choices into considerations. Come up with alternatives to your remodel design.
- Starting a project at the wrong time. This can range from starting a remodel that requires reroofing during the rainy season to including a design that’s becoming less popular. This is especially important if you’re remodeling partly to sell.
- Not managing your budget. Stick to your budget, but figure in 10 percent of it as reserve to cope with cost overruns and other problems.
- The domino effect. Also known as the “as long as we’re at it” method of remodeling, it can tear your budget to shreds.
- Over-remodeling for your neighborhood. A 6,000-square-foot French county manse isn’t going to get it’s remodeling money back in a neighborhood of 3-year-old, 2,400-square-foot ranch houses.
- Not knowing your rights. Don’t sign a construction contract blindly. Make sure it has a comprehensive description of the project, a payment schedule, timetable and the types of products to be used.