4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start That Renovation

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Published: 06th November 2012
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Renovating your home can be both exciting and stressful!

If you're chock full of emotion, remember that you're not alone. More Americans are renovating their homes these days instead of heading out and buying new ones. The unhealthy real estate market is causing more people to stay put.

So, remember the positives -- like the fact that you are making upgrades that will modernize your living space and will make it more appealing if you ever put it on the market.

But there are also some drawbacks -- like having workers in your home, and the likely fact that you will have to adjust your day-to-day lifestyle while they complete the projects. And, of course, you may face some surprises along the way.

So, are you ready for the good and the bad? To make sure, ask yourself these 4 questions:

1. "Have I checked my contractor's legal paperwork?"

Any reliable and respectable contractor will have all the necessary paperwork to prove they are legit. The requirements vary from state-to-state (and, in some cases, county-to-county) but generally speaking, all contractors should be licensed, bonded, and insured.

A license from the state proves they completed all the proper training and legal paperwork to work as a contractor. As for insurance, well, that will come in handy for you, should they damage your home during the construction, or fail to complete the job. After all, you probably haven't budgeted for a disaster!

2. "Am I okay with living in a construction zone?"

This may seem like a ridiculous question, but, you'd be surprised how many people think they can handle the construction before it gets started, only to be annoyed by it once it gets underway. Everyone understands the demolition, noise, and reconstruction are means to an end, but it's hard to visualize these things happening until they actually do.

Say, for example, you're adding on to your current living room, and a wall will have to be knocked down in the process. Will the eyesore of a construction zone bother you? Can you deal with the noise?

These are definitely questions that need to be answered before hiring a crew to knock down that wall!

3. "Have I budgeted for surprises along the way?"

Contractors give you a price quote for a reason -- so that you'll know roughly how much the repair will cost.

But like any other price quote, this is just a ballpark estimate.

Additional costs may pop up for labor and supplies, or something completely unexpected may occur, and you need to be prepared for these expenses.

Be sure to have 10-15% more money available than the price the contractor quoted you. That may seem like a lot, especially if you're one of the many Americans who are footing the bill without the help of a loan. But consider it this way -- if you need it, you have it, and if you don't, you'll have some extra money to put in savings.

4. "Am I okay with it taking longer than expected?"

If there's one thing no one can control, including contractors, it's the weather! This is especially important to remember if the outside physical structure of your home is being changed during the renovation.

If they've knocked down a wall of your house to add on that additional bedroom you've always wanted, and then it rains, guess what, they can't work in that kind of weather. They'll put up tarps up to protect your belongings in the meantime, but they'll be on hold until the rain clouds go away.

The same is true if you're replacing the roof, replacing siding, adding on a deck, or putting in a pool.

Setting Mother Nature aside, if something unexpected comes up and additional work is required, not only will this affect your project's budget, but also its completion date.

Bottom line -- if the answer to these questions is "yes", then you're ready to get that renovation underway!

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