10 “Cheap Remodeling” Decisions that Can Cost You

From on March 30, 2009 in


In tough economic times it’s more and more likely that you’ll run into an unscrupulous contractor ready to pounce on an unsuspecting customer. To protect your money and investment, here are 10 practical measures you can take to avoid cheap remodeling.

  1. In remodeling, one of the worst things you can do is to plan by the seat of your pants. This will cost you time and money and will most likely leave you unsatisfied with the results. Good planning is making decisions that will give you the most bang for your buck.
  2. Make sure you do your homework. Know the fair market value of materials, equipment, and purchases made by the contractor. This will help you separate a realistic bill from the fishy ones. You’re likely to get a higher ratio of legitimate offers when you understand the business side of remodeling.
  3. Check for appliances that carry rebates from either the manufactures or the local utility. Ask about these rebates and make sure to keep the receipts for tax time.
  4. Consider the long-term value of the project. Avoid fashion fads and make certain high quality workmanship goes into the job. It goes without saying but you don’t want to be redoing work because it was done on the cheap. This coincides with the importance of finding a good contractor. Once you’ve accomplished that, the first part of this question is almost a non-factor.
  5. Be careful about additional bells and whistles that drive up costs. It’s important to stay within your budget. Add-ons mean an increase in the final price, so avoid them when you can.
  6. Painting is part of remodeling, so make sure to use high-quality brands of paint. The cheaper the paint, the more likely it is you’ll be re-painting sooner than you think.
  7. Looking to cut cost? Don’t use expensive granite for your countertops. Many modern plastic counters look exactly like the real thing and you can always change them out when money isn’t so tight.
  8. The places you absolutely, positively don’t want to fall short on are the walls, electrical, and plumbing. When the walls are open, it doesn’t cost much to run wiring for extra phones, electrical outlets, computers, and fax machines. Once the walls are up, adding these elements are costly.
  9. Have a simple floor plan. Knowing where everything will go makes remodeling much more efficient and can save time and energy.
  10. Plane for uniformity within the kitchen: making sure the appliances match is what you should strive for. This makes for a much higher re-sale value as well.