6 Things You Can Do to Help a Remodel Go Quickly and Smoothly

Unexpected delays can quickly turn a fun home remodeling project into stressful misery. But you’ve got more power than you think to keep your project on schedule — and it all comes down to what you do before a single nail is hammered. These six proactive tips will help you avoid remodel problems so your project runs smoothly.

1. Choose Your Team Carefully

When you hire a contractor, the burden of verifying their credentials falls squarely on your shoulders. Start by checking the Better Business Bureau’s website for red flags, as well as visiting LexisNexis online (which requires a subscription) to see if any lawsuits have been filed against potential contractors.

It’s also important to get valid references, stresses David Merrick, president of Merrick Design and Build in Kensington, Maryland. Rather than simply trusting online reviews, Merrick suggests doing some legwork.

“Visiting a project that is actually in progress is the best way to get a reference,” says Merrick, who also serves as the chairman of the Government Affairs Committee for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s Metro D.C. chapter. “So if you’re serious about hiring a contractor, and you want to take the time to check their references, ask to talk to [a current client] or visit a job they have in production.”

Merrick goes on to explain that homeowners should also check contractors’ license statuses online and “request a certificate of insurance. This comes directly from the insurance agent without going through the contractor’s hands, so you know it’s not forged.” This official document also lets you know whether the contractor’s policy is sufficient for your project’s size, and if workers’ compensation coverage is included.

2. Build in a Budget Cushion

Setting aside money for unexpected costs could help prevent your project from being delayed indefinitely.

Although good contractors usually spot evidence of costly problems during the initial estimate, some issues don’t reveal themselves until the walls are opened up, explains Rebecca Davila, owner of Building Dreams, a construction and renovation company in Hawthorne, California. For this reason, she suggests homeowners protect themselves by factoring in a substantial budget cushion.

“You have to look at having at least 20% to 25% [more] money on the side of your project,” she advises, “just in case of unforeseen conditions.”

3. Order Materials Early

Backorders and slow order fulfillment can stop renovations in their tracks. That’s why it’s essential to select and order tiles, fixtures and other materials your contractor requests as early as possible. It’s also crucial to choose products that are in stock and can be delivered quickly.

“Make sure you have everything ready and available,” Davila says. “You don’t want to order something and find out you’re on hold for six weeks, and your whole project stops for that item.”

4. Pay Attention to Permits

To maintain building codes and regulations, renovations often require permits. Be aware that the larger your project is, the longer it may take for permit approval — and for very large jobs, it could take months.

Professional contractors generally have a good feel for permit requirements and lead times and should know when to file to keep your project on schedule. Merrick warns that if a contractor asks you to get a permit yourself, that’s a major red flag.

“Any time a contractor asks a homeowner to pull a permit, there’s a reason,” he cautions. “They’re either lazy or they’re not properly licensed. They’re usually doing it because they’re not licensed.”

Having your contractor pull permits is also preferable for liability reasons. “The contractor’s name should be on it because they should be liable for it,” Davila says.

5. Get Everything in Writing

Before any work begins or money changes hands, you’ll need to sign a detailed contract. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and protects against being left high and dry with your project unfinished.

Renovation contracts should cover all the work being done and materials used, along with a clear payment schedule based on either time intervals or project completion levels. Know that a reputable contractor will never ask for full payment upfront or expect your final payment before the entire project is completed to your satisfaction. If you don’t understand the details of your contract, consider having a lawyer look it over.

6. Avoid Change Orders

One of the simplest ways to prevent remodeling delays (and budget disasters) is to be sure of what you want and stick with it. Changing your mind midstream results in change orders, which are contract amendments that occur when a customer decides to change project details like the location of a wall or the type of flooring.

Change orders not only create delays when new materials don’t arrive on time; they also can easily derail your well-planned budget. As Davila explains, “When a contractor gets a job, that’s when their prices are the lowest. When a change order comes in, they know that you have to do it so they can charge you anything.”

6 Ways to Avoid Delays on Your Remodel

Unexpected delays can quickly turn a fun home remodeling project into stressful misery. But you’ve got more power than you think to keep your project on schedule ” and it all comes down to what you do before a single nail is hammered. These six proactive tips will help you avoid remodel problems so your project runs smoothly.

1. Choose your team carefully

When you hire a contractor, the burden of verifying their credentials falls squarely on your shoulders. Start by checking the Better Business Bureau’s website for red flags, as well as visiting LexisNexis online (which requires a subscription) to see if any lawsuits have been filed against potential contractors.

It’s also important to get valid references, stresses David Merrick, president of Merrick Design and Build in Kensington, Maryland. Rather than simply trusting online reviews, Merrick suggests doing some legwork.

‘Visiting a project that is actually in progress is the best way to get a reference,” says Merrick, who also serves as the chairman of the Government Affairs Committee for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s Metro D.C. chapter. “So if you’re serious about hiring a contractor, and you want to take the time to check their references, ask to talk to [a current client] or visit a job they have in production.’

Merrick goes on to explain that homeowners should also check contractors’ license statuses online and ‘request a certificate of insurance. This comes directly from the insurance agent without going through the contractor’s hands, so you know it’s not forged.’ This official document also lets you know whether the contractor’s policy is sufficient for your project’s size, and if workers’ compensation coverage is included.

2. Build in a budget cushion

Setting aside money for unexpected costs could help prevent your project from being delayed indefinitely.

Although good contractors usually spot evidence of costly problems during the initial estimate, some issues don’t reveal themselves until the walls are opened up, explains Rebecca Davila, owner of Building Dreams, a construction and renovation company in Hawthorne, California. For this reason, she suggests homeowners protect themselves by factoring in a substantial budget cushion.

‘You have to look at having at least 20% to 25% [more] money on the side of your project,’ she advises, ‘just in case of unforeseen conditions.’

3. Order materials early

Backorders and slow order fulfillment can stop renovations in their tracks. That’s why it’s essential to select and order tiles, fixtures and other materials your contractor requests as early as possible. It’s also crucial to choose products that are in stock and can be delivered quickly.

‘Make sure you have everything ready and available,” Davila says. “You don’t want to order something and find out you’re on hold for six weeks, and your whole project stops for that item.’

4. Pay attention to permits

To maintain building codes and regulations, renovations often require permits. Be aware that the larger your project is, the longer it may take for permit approval ” and for very large jobs, it could take months.

Professional contractors generally have a good feel for permit requirements and lead times and should know when to file to keep your project on schedule. Merrick warns that if a contractor asks you to get a permit yourself, that’s a major red flag.

‘Any time a contractor asks a homeowner to pull a permit, there’s a reason,’ he cautions. ‘They’re either lazy or they’re not properly licensed. They’re usually doing it because they’re not licensed.’

Having your contractor pull permits is also preferable for liability reasons. ’The contractor’s name should be on it because they should be liable for it,” Davila says.

5. Get everything in writing

Before any work begins or money changes hands, you’ll need to sign a detailed contract. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and protects against being left high and dry with your project unfinished.

Renovation contracts should cover all the work being done and materials used, along with a clear payment schedule based on either time intervals or project completion levels. Know that a reputable contractor will never ask for full payment upfront or expect your final payment before the entire project is completed to your satisfaction. If you don’t understand the details of your contract, consider having a lawyer look it over.

6. Avoid change orders

One of the simplest ways to prevent remodeling delays (and budget disasters) is to be sure of what you want and stick with it. Changing your mind midstream results in change orders, which are contract amendments that occur when a customer decides to change project details like the location of a wall or the type of flooring.

Change orders not only create delays when new materials don’t arrive on time; they also can easily derail your well-planned budget. As Davila explains, ‘When a contractor gets a job, that’s when their prices are the lowest. When a change order comes in, they know that you have to do it so they can charge you anything.’

5 Reasons To Avoid Hiring Cheap Home Remodeling Companies

If you are planning a complete remodeling of a house or apartment – it is always advisable to make a list of all important items. You should know when the works start, how long they will last – and perhaps most importantly, how much they will cost. What people most often ask before all the work is: How to save and where to start? However, keep in mind that the cheapest is certainly not always the best. Moreover, by hiring some of the cheap home remodeling companies – you can get into a situation wherein the end everything costs you much more. Therefore, take a look at the 5 reasons to avoid hiring cheap home remodeling companies.

Is It Easy To Find A Home Remodeling Company?

Pressed by a tight budget, many investors – that is, property owners, start from one key fact: The price of the contractor for the house remodeling. When we decide to buy things such as coffee, clothes, a used or new car – we evaluate the criteria implied by the brand of the product and the manufacturer behind it. Although we are not always able to choose what we like – we still make our decision based on a proven company or manufacturer.

Still, this task is far more difficult if we need to choose which home remodeling company we want to hire. Unfortunately, there are no precisely defined criteria for the evaluation of individual companies in the field of construction – and especially not in the field of remodeling. Therefore, it is up to you to assess which of the companies meets your expectations and requirements.

Some remodeling companies have references behind them, some stick to their level of quality and professionalism – and some favor a low price. You shouldn’t let anything deceive you in your assessment – even if it’s the low price.

Quality At Low Cost: Mission Impossible

Although the low price sounds tempting to everyone – think again! Is something like that really possible? A professional contractor must have a team of professionals, craftsmen, and technical staff behind him. Such a contractor must be able to prepare and implement the project at the expected level and prescribed quality – adhering to the norms and standards of the profession.

When you have such a contractor behind you – then it is assumed that it includes certain costs that will be included in the realization price. Sure, there will be those competing companies that will offer you all this at a lower price, but don’t be fooled! Such a company can be unregistered, or they can use cheap materials and work outside the prescribed standards. In these cases, you will not be entitled to a complaint – and the whole job can cost you much more in the end. You simply cannot produce a good and quality product for a small amount of money.

Reasons To Avoid Hiring Cheap Home Remodeling Companies

When you hire a remodeling company at a cheap price – you can expect anything and everything. It has not once happened that people had to pay much more than expected at the end of the work. Why? Because such companies mostly make beginner mistakes that professionals would never allow themselves. Here are the 5 most common reasons why you should avoid hiring cheap home remodeling companies.

1. Imprecise calculation of the cost of works

We have already said that quality materials have their price. It is the same with the works. Respect that! Cheap remodelers will do other jobs in parallel – so the renovation could take you longer than all the set deadlines. Ultimately, if you are not satisfied with the work performed – all the corrections will significantly increase the cost of the project. Also, be prepared for additional costs. Planks break, pipes burst – and additional work, even unplanned, is often unavoidable.

2. Unrealistic deadline

Every professional remodeling company will try to realistically estimate how much time it takes to perform the work. Consult the contractors so that they can tell you within what period they will complete certain jobs. Consider both your available time and life situation. It’s not the same if you can afford home remodeling work when you’re not home – or if the workers are around the house where your daily life takes place. According to Creativedesignandbuildinc.com, it is extremely important to put it all together – and set a realistic deadline for the completion of the project. Here, professionals are always at an advantage – because they will tell you the deadlines with great reliability and stick to it. In contrast, low-price companies often justify non-compliance with deadlines – with the fact they gave you a lower price. Therefore, always opt for a better service, even if it is more expensive. If you don’t do that, stress and nervousness are your safe companions at work.

3. Incorrect space measurement

Believe it or not, this also happens when you hire cheap remodeling companies. Often such companies hire people who are not true professionals. That is why such beginner mistakes often happen. When remodeling a house, every inch should be important to you – so improper measurements can create a problem. Wrongly read inches, an asymmetrical line – and your new kitchen elements will not fit in the kitchen space. True professionals won’t ever make such mistakes-  and they will also pay attention to the positioning of sockets and switches. Sometimes it happens that the sockets or switches are in the wrong places – and then you have to stretch the cables around the renovated space, which looks hideous.

4. Use of cheap materials

When hiring a remodeling company, and especially at a cheaper price – take care of the materials they use. Follow that saying that you are not rich enough to buy cheap things! Professional companies mostly use more expensive construction materials because they are of better quality. Ask why some material is more expensive than others, what advantages it has over others. If you can’t afford such an investment at the moment, you’d better wait. It will pay off in the long run if you have no intention of frequently renovating your house.

5. Neglect of safety at work

This is something that professional companies can boast of as opposed to those that offer you cheap services. Unprotected renovation is not smart. Before moving to work, it is necessary to have all protective equipment: Goggles, suitable gloves, breathing masks, and the like.

Conclusion

You certainly don’t want to renovate a house just because it looks too old – but because you want to make your home a better place to live. Remodeling a house doesn’t mean that you always spend a huge amount of money. However, you must know that every quality service has its price – and this can hardly be avoided. So don’t trust every ad or advertisement you come across. Try to find the right professionals who will do the work on your house according to your requirements –  and respecting quality standards. We hope you understand that there are reasons why you should avoid those cheap offers that promise a lot – and don’t give much in return.

U.S. Home Remodeling trends forecast through 2026

U.S. home remodeling market is likely to be driven by growing consumer knowledge regarding green buildings and shifting trends towards smart homes. Remodeling of houses generally refers to upgradation of the existing exteriors, interiors, or other improvements to the property such as incorporation of energy saving technology, safety checks and maintenance & repair.

Rising per capita incomes, increasing preference for energy efficient and luxurious living spaces, thriving real estate sector and easy availability of remodeling businesses are factors impacting the regional growth. Moreover, rising cost of land and low lending rates will further fuel the demand for refurbishment across the country. It has been anticipated that the U.S. home remodeling market size will record annual revenues of over USD 500 billion by 2026.

Different programs implemented by the regional governments including residential weatherization, residential retrofit, appliance recycling and direct install programs are encouraging masses to remodel their houses. Growing popularity of mid-century & farmhouse designs has resulted in major changes in American kitchens. Kitchen improvement & additions segment is likely to grow at a significant rate on account of shifting consumer preferences toward streamlined textures, materials and designs.

A higher demand for ceramic tiles as well as the growing adoption of hardwood flooring will supplement the industry trends. The popularity of luxurious bathroom fittings including wall mounted toilets, rounded rectangle vanity mirrors, floating vanities, and console sink vanities will also offer lucrative opportunities for professionals in the remodeling industry.

Rapidly evolving technology and constant upgrades in roofing technology has gathered a lot of consumer attention. Masses are increasingly becoming aware of environmental protection and energy conservation in households through utilization of green materials. This is prompting more consumers to indulge in home remodeling activities.

As per the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, around 39% of the nuclear family homes accounted for the overall U.S. rental homes. Spending on home improvements across the U.S. is gradually escalating due to the rising cost of building material and labor. This has prompted homeowners to spend mostly on the existing houses. Prevalent house renting trends will substantially foster home improvement initiatives across the region.

In general, a large number of homeowners from states such as Texas, Florida and California possess heavy spending capacities for home renovation projects. According to the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), the spending per improvement in California had increased to over USD 9,565 in 2018, which was up by 20% when compared to the spending in 2017.

Competition in the U.S. home remodeling industry is fragmented due to densely populated areas in different regions. A vital role is being played by the wholesalers for distribution of home improvement products at cost-effective prices. For instance, one of the leading wholesale distributors of home improvement products in the U.S., ABC Supply, introduced a new location in Massachusetts to provide products and solutions and cater to the evolving customer needs in the state.

The company has an expanded product portfolio encompassing a range of roofing, doors, windows, siding, railing and decking products. Other prominent providers of home remodeling products and services in the U.S. are Andersen Corporation, Kohler Co., Pella Corporation, Ferguson Enterprises, The Sherwin-Williams Company, ABC Supply, HD supply, US LBM, Beacon roofing supply, and Watsco Inc., among others.

 

3 Reasons to Consider a Renovation Refinance Right Now

Is using your kitchen table as an office-slash-kids’-classroom making you long to upgrade your home? You’re not alone.

Sixty-one percent of American homeowners have taken on home improvement projects since March 1, 2020, according to NerdWallet’s 2020 Home Improvement Report. But before you can join them, you’ll have to decide how to finance your project.

Refinancing with a renovation loan is a way to borrow money for home improvements at a lower interest rate than personal loans or credit cards. And instead of paying back a separate loan, the costs of your updates are rolled into your new mortgage payment.

Intrigued? Here are three reasons to consider refinancing with a renovation loan.

Reason 1: You can take advantage of low interest rates

With mortgage rates falling throughout 2020, the number of mortgage refinances has skyrocketed.

Americans took out over 2.3 million refinance loans in the second quarter of 2020, according to mortgage industry analytics company Black Knight. Even with all that refinance activity, Black Knight estimates that almost 18 million homeowners could still benefit from refinancing.

With a renovation refinance, improvement costs become part of your new mortgage amount. Because rates are at or near record lows, this could mean borrowing more without drastically changing your monthly mortgage payment.  While it may not compare to a credit card with a 0% introductory APR, a renovation refinance gives you a higher borrowing limit. And you’ll pay much less interest than you would on a personal loan for the same amount of money.

Reason 2: Remodeling is an accessible alternative to buying

Though the spring homebuying season got off to a slow start due to the coronavirus pandemic, real estate markets throughout the country have since heated up. According to the National Association of Realtors, 69% of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month and the inventory of unsold homes was down almost 19% when compared with a year prior.

“Multiple offers and bidding wars have just led some people to stay where they are and customize the home to their liking,” comments Jamie Zeitz, a Jacksonville, Florida-based sales manager with Homebridge, which offers renovation loans.

More than 1 in 5 (21%) of those who have tackled home improvement projects since March opted to do so instead of looking to move, according to NerdWallet’s 2020 Home Improvement Report.

Though concerns about the spread of COVID-19 initially caused contractors’ workloads to drop, “by the end of the second quarter, people had found workarounds,” says Paul Emrath, vice president of surveys and housing policy research at the National Association of Home Builders.

And they seem to be working. The NAHB’s Market Index for the third quarter of 2020 found that remodeling professionals were quite confident about the current market and the outlook for the rest of the year.

Reason 3: You may add value to your home

A smart renovation can boost your property’s value — and it isn’t all about curb appeal or gourmet kitchens, either.

A 2019 joint report from the NAR and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry found that replacing outdated heating and cooling systems or upgrading insulation offered some of the best returns on investment when it came time to sell, for example. In the meantime, such updates could result in a more comfortable home and lower utility bills.

And, unlike a cash-out refinance, a renovation loan may expand your budget by allowing you to borrow against the home’s expected value after improvements are complete, rather than its current value. Similarly, you may be able to take advantage of a renovation refinance even if you haven’t owned your home long, since these loans require less equity than a cash-out refinance, home equity line of credit or home equity loan.

Tips for using a renovation refinance

Think a renovation refinance might be for you? Here’s what’s next:

Research the right loan product: Renovation loan options include Freddie Mac’s CHOICERenovation loan, Fannie Mae’s Home Style renovation loan and FHA 203(k) refinance loans from the Federal Housing Administration.

Your credit score and the improvements you plan to tackle determine which renovation loan is right for you, Zeitz says.

FHA 203(k) loans typically have more lenient credit requirements, but place limits on the types of renovations you can do. If you wanted to, for example, put in a pool, you’d need to qualify for a conventional renovation refinance like the Fannie Mae Home Style.

Get familiar with refinance requirements: In addition to available home equity, your lender will examine your credit score, debt-to-income ratio and employment history to determine if you qualify for the renovation refinance loan you’re seeking. If you’re considering a 203(k), bear in mind that even though the FHA’s credit score minimums are typically low, lenders can impose their own higher numbers.

Find an experienced contractor: In order to know how much you’ll need to borrow — or how much your home may be worth once the remodeling’s done — you’ll need accurate cost estimates from a licensed contractor. It’s also important to have a contractor who’s willing to take on the extra paperwork and planning involved with a renovation loan.

Compare lenders: Though rates are low, comparing interest rate quotes from at least three lenders will ensure you get the best deal. Your research may be a bit tougher since not all lenders offer renovation loans. Even lenders that offer FHA loans may not necessarily offer FHA 203(k) loans. But once you find the right fit and get approved, you’ll be on track to create the home you need from the house you already have.