From Dean Dowd on April 06, 2011 in Kitchen Remodel
I hate to break it to you: kitchen remodels are hard. As in, really, really tricky to pull off without a hitch. This is a project you want to run as smoothly as possible, and believe me, you’re gonna need help if you’d like to avoid the nightmarish pitfalls of so many homeowners before you. Here’s how to keep your kitchen remodel from going totally berserk.
1. Find your dream contractor (and then check his references)
In the planning stages, contractors are going to woo you senseless. They’ll throw pretty catalogue pictures at you, talk up their achievements and quality craftsmanship. But how do you know they’re worth their salt? Two ways:
- You find them pre-screened by clicking here.
- You do the homework on your own, without a certification service.
The latter is fine. . . if you have a background in private investigating. The truth is, shady contractors can simply change their business name anytime they’re in trouble. This leaves few consumer protections should you be forced to take action. Give yourself a much-deserved break and look up a certified contractor instead.
2. Read your agreement, especially the fine print.
And then read it again. That document is your best bet for getting what you paid for. If something isn’t specified in there, don’t sign it until it’s spelled out, with cost breakdowns and step-by-step remodel plans included.
For example, kitchen cabinets are a huge investment. Read through the endless details as if you were shopping for a new car. Prices are steep for new models, and you don’t want to end up with cheap cabinet boards because you (and your contractor) failed to specify what “standard” meant. Never overlook those details.
3. Expect the unexpected, every time
Plan for contingencies of all sorts, including:
- Contractor delays. Depending on how well your contractor schedules the whole operation, you may or may not experience a meltdown when your remodel enters week 32 of a supposed six-week project. Some contractors practice the art of delay regularly, as it allows them to charge more and tack on fees for all those items not addressed in the contract. This is exactly where licensed pros come in handy. Find yours here.
- Going over budget. Always put 20% aside for the Just In Case Fund. You’re going to need it when walls or floorboards are removed, for instance, and rather nasty surprises pop up to send you into debt. This is especially true for older homes, where you never know what lurks within.
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Photo via Houzz