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Planning Home Renovations This Fall? Avoid Costly Blunders

By Allison Halliday | September 26, 2014

Fall is a popular time for home renovations, as many of us want to get our homes ready for the onset of winter. The market for home renovations is worth around $52 billion and an article in aol.com points out it grew by 3.8% between 2009 and 2014.

What’s important to remember is that some home renovations are more worthwhile than others. It’s easy to think you’ll get your money back when you come to sell but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Taking the time to plan and renovations properly can help avoid costly blunders.

One mistake many of us make is to hire the first contractor who gives you a quote, as after all you want to get the job done as quickly as possible. However it’s far better to get several quotes and to investigate each contractor to make sure they are trustworthy and that you’re getting value for money. I have to admit that I often look at user review sites when trying to find someone to work on my own home, but apparently this might not be the best thing to do. The article points out that these sites charge contractors for homeowner referrals and don’t tend to assess or screen these contractors in any way beyond finding out whether or not they have the necessary licenses and insurance.

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Instead it’s recommended homeowners carry out their own checks, including customer and trade references. It’s a good sign if the contractor belongs to a respected trade organization such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and it’s worth contacting the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints against the contractor you are interested in hiring.

The most common problems when carrying out home renovations include failing to get the necessary permits, and it might pay to be wary of any contractor who tells you permits and home inspections aren’t necessary. Failure to have the correct permits can lead to heavy fines.

Another common mistake is to set too low a budget as home renovations have a nasty habit of always costing more than you expect. The article recommends keeping an additional 10% back just in case you need to budget for unexpected extras. Anyone planning a high-end kitchen or new master bathroom should budget between $200 and $300 per square foot, and if this is a bit out of reach at the moment then it might be necessary to plan renovations in stages. In addition, home improvements should be in keeping with the rest of the neighborhood and it’s worth looking at the median price to assess if a renovation will pay off.

Allison Halliday is a Realty Biz News contributing writer. She handles International Real Estate and is a seasoned blogger.
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