Getting Started-Establish how much money you have to spend

Unless you are among the fortunate few, when considering a major home improvement, the number one determining factor in how much of your dream can be fulfilled is “how much money is at your disposal?” It’s likely that, some, if not most of the money will have to be financed in one form or another. That makes the number two consideration “how much money can comfortably be set aside for your project?”—or “how much of your monthly budget can be sacrificed for your dream?”  

Other major considerations are the potential value of your home, and how long you plan to live in your home. The potential value is the most you can expect your home to sell for. This is dictated largely by your neighborhood and the resale value of similar homes in the Southern New Jersey area. If you’re not careful, you can invest too much in your property, with little hope of recouping the money you spent. However, the longer you plan on staying at your home, the greater the chances of the value, eventually, catching up with your investment. If you have no plans on ever leaving your neighborhood, these considerations diminish, as resale value is not a primary concern. 

-Determine the best means of financing for you and your family

Of course, almost any improvement to your home increases its value. So it is, fundamentally, a math problem. As the value of your home increases, so does the equity you have in it. Refinancing your original mortgage and 2nd mortgages are the most popular methods of obtaining money for major home improvements, but construction and home equity loans, or home equity lines of credit are often viable alternatives. It all depends on your financial situation, and how much equity you have built in your home. Financing options are many and diverse. Your bank or financial adviser will be happy to help you with this.

-Know as much as you can possibly know about what you want to do

Consider the possibilities—location, layout, décor, appliances, fixtures, material options & costs, local zoning rules, etc. The more you know about what you want to accomplish with your project going in, the smoother the process will go.

-Research current, median pricing for your project (Cost vs. Value 2011-2012)

While every home improvement project is unique, with a little effort, you can get a general idea of how much your project is likely to cost. Remodeler Magazine’s Cost vs. Value, 2011-2012 not only can give you the current average costing for most projects, but how much of that money can be recouped upon the sale of your home as well.

-Choose your contractor—carefully

Once you know how much money you have to spend, the best financing option, a good idea of what you want, and a ballpark idea of cost, it’s time to shop for a contractor. It’s best to invite several contractors to bid on your project. You may be surprised at the wild variations in pricing. These differences arise for different reasons. A very low quote may indicate inexperience or incompetence. A very high quote could mean you are paying for a ponderous infrastructure and marketing budget. What it usually boils down to is trust and faith. Trust that the contractor is being thoroughly honest and transparent with you, and faith that they can satisfactorily execute your project. Some of this will be “gut feeling,” but primary indicators are the clarity and detail of the quote, the apparent effort that went into producing the quote, and the alternatives that are presented. When a General Contractor hands you a business card with $18,769.00 written on the back, it may be best to scratch them off the list of possibilities, because their contract is likely to be equally as vague. On the other hand, if you are given tons of glossy, smokescreen material that conveys little relevant information, you should be just as wary. Ask questions—demand answers. Compel the contractor to explain things you don’t understand, and ALWAYS ask for copies of their registration and insurance certificate.

Next Level Remodeling-South Jerseys’ Remodeler of Choice