Why Do Most Home Renovations Cost More Than Expected?
March 19, 2016
March 19, 2016
Many homeowners start a remodeling project with starry-eyed dreams of high-end results at a budget price, only to face discouragement when the time and costs of renovation prove much higher than expected. Taking a careful look at these common reasons for unexpected cost increases can help you keep your remodeling project on track and on budget:
- Failure to Obtain Multiple Estimates. Contractors’ prices vary widely, even for the exact same work. Always obtain at least 2-3 estimates before hiring a contractor, and let the contractors know you’re interviewing multiple candidates for the job. Contractors generally offer more reasonable estimates when they know the contract isn’t guaranteed. Also, make sure each estimate covers the exact same scope of work.
- Working Without a Contract. Many homeowners hire contractors on a handshake, with only a handwritten estimate that might or might not stand up in court. These estimates may or may not protect you against costly overruns or contractor failures, leaving homeowners liable for thousands of dollars in extra expenses—or stuck with incomplete work when a contractor walks off the job. While contracts can’t prevent every problem, homeowners who insist on a contract generally have fewer problems—and more remedies—than those who hire contractors on a handshake.
- Unrealistic Budgets & Expectations. Far too often, homeowners start the renovation process without a clear idea about the renovations they actually want, and without an understanding of what remodeling actually costs. Homeowners who under-budget often end up spending more than people who investigate the costs and options thoroughly before the work begins.
- Homeowner Indecision. Many homeowners ask for changes after the work begins. These changes cost significantly more than alterations made before the start of construction, sometimes adding thousands of dollars to the overall cost of renovations.
- “DIY” Isn’t Always the Cheapest Option. Popular television shows often make home renovation look easy, and homeowners sometimes opt for “Do It Yourself” renovations in an attempt to save time and money. Unfortunately, most remodeling isn’t as easy as it looks on TV, and hiring a contractor to fix your mistakes can be more expensive than hiring a professional to handle the renovations in the first place.
- Unnecessary or Unhelpful Renovations. Not all renovations will increase the value or sales price of a home. Homeowners often embark on costly remodeling or improvements, only to discover that the payoff is lower than expected—or, in some cases, nonexistent. Buyers often care most about “visible improvements” like granite countertops and updated bathroom or kitchen fixtures, but these renovations sometimes cost more to install than they add to the sales price of a home.
Investigate your planned renovations carefully before hiring contractors or starting construction.
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