6 Costs To Consider When Remodeling For The Long Haul

By on August 23, 2017

Once in a while, in a homeowner’s life, there comes a time when a decision has to be made whether to buy a new house and move or to stay and remodel the place.

This can be a tough decision to make which tears you apart as there are various factors to consider including the financial aspects, family adaptability, emotional attachments, etc.

If you have made the decision to stay and fix up the place, good for you. A lot of times, people don’t realize that what they need in a new house can be installed in the current house as well.

Anyway, a lot of homeowners are just looking for excuses to justify to themselves for deciding to move anyway. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In this case, any amount of logic, practicality, and persuasion will fail to convince them of staying.

There are basically 2 approaches towards remodeling:

  1. Short term
  2. Long term

Short term approaches are often used by people who want to spend as little money as possible as they are with the knowledge that they will not own the property for a long time. In fact, there is little chance of them living in the house too.

This means that although the renovations are done on a short term approach, it can still be very durable due to having no inhabitants in the house.

This approach is often used by flippers who target fixer-uppers, people who relocate often due to job commitments, even investors of rental property.

However, when you have decided to stay in the existing house and remodel it to your heart’s content, you are most likely to be using a long term approach as you have decided that you will be living in the house for years to come.

This means that short term fixes although more economical upfront, will not make sense. Renovating for the long haul will be more expensive upfront, but will add more value when you take the longer time period involved into account.

Here are some of the costs to get yourself ready for.

1) Contractors

There will always be one person that you will work most closely with when the works commence and throughout the project.

This project manager will usually be a representative of the company you signed up with for contracting work. In some cases, it can also be the interior designer or architect who has taken on the task himself.

Whatever the case, you pay a lump sum partially upfront for the whole renovation project, and he will manage the works that will be going on. The total price you pay will include all the expenses for material, labor, mockups, etc.

You might be tempted to take on the job of project manager yourself and save some money.

This can theoretically be done by hiring your own electricians, plumbers, landscapers, etc.

You will be managing a host of building experts like the:

  • Painter
  • Plumber
  • Drywaller
  • Carpet layer
  • HVAC
  • Landscaper
  • Electrician
  • Carpenter
  • Mason
  • Welder
  • etc

A word of warning. It is one hell of a mess to take on Especially when you have no experience. You are more likely to spend more money than if you hire a general contractor to handle all the mess.

In any case, remember to get at least 3 quotations from 3 different general contractors before signing up with one. This is so that you make proper comparison and prevent yourself from becoming an easy paycheck to the contractor.

2) Designers

These days, contractors have their own in-house designers readily available due to the technology of home design software.

So in many circumstances, the designer a homeowner uses is part of the contractor’s team.

However, you might feel a little conflict of interest behind the scenes there.

How can you tell if a designer is not recommended a certain color of material just so as to fit into the budget of the contractor? How do you know a certain type of fixture is drawn up so as to lessen the workload of their workers? How can you be certain that the designer is impartial towards the design and your specifications?

The answer is: You can’t.

Because of this, some homeowners actually prefer to hire their own independent designers for their specific expertise.

There is no price you can put on that dream home.

Do note that dealing with designers can be frustrating at times. They operate like mercenaries who charge you for everything. And after that, they charge you some more.

Even then, you might have to motivate them to deliver what is due after you have paid them.

3) Permits

Depending on the type of of works that you have planned, there might be various permits you have to apply and be approved for.

This can cost from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

If you think that you can keep quiet and the authorities will never find out, I urge you to trash that thought.

Neighbors can call you out. The contractor might even blackmail you over this lack of legal requirement.

Remember that you are remodeling the house for the long run. A few couple of thousand here is a minuscule cost to incur when you factor in the peace of mind for years to come.

After all, these permits are to ensure that your house meet safety standards. Surely you don’t want to spend the next decade or two in a house with safety hazards do you?

4) Materials

You might remember that this is a cost that has already been taken into account in point #1.

But you will be super amused as how this works.

Let’s taking floor tiles as an example.

When a contractors quotes you a price for all the works and material including the flooring tiles, you will be invited to the sales gallery of the tile supplier to choose the design you want.

Upon reaching, you will realize that your choices are limited depending on the price stated by the contractor. So if the contractor states that you will be able to choose any types of tiles up to $5 a piece, your selection will be limited to that scope.

This is totally fine… until you arrive at the showroom and see the variety of beautiful tiles available that are above $5.

You will undoubtedly be punched by temptation to upgrade and pay the difference.

Let’s say one that cost $6.50 a piece really catches your fancy and a $1.50 premium is really not that significant in the grand scale of things. Yet at the back of your mind, you know that you are going to need hundred or even thousands of tiles to cover the entire floor area in the house.

Ka-Ching!

This process can repeat itself for many other material-related items like kitchen counter tops, deck flooring, plumbing fixtures like shower heads and faucets, finishes, etc.

5) The finishing touches

The cash outflow don’t stop once the renovations works are completed and accepted by you.

This is when you will realize how the aesthetics or practicality of some areas will be better with a little additions. And you can implement them DIY style.

The old television set gets replaced with a new 49″ LED in UHD. The old looking surround system looks out of place in the new living rooms and replacing it becomes essential. The dining table looks too bare and needs some displays to brighten it up. There are some empty space in the bathroom perfect for some wall fixtures. Etc.

It’s not uncommon to find homeowners setting aside two different budgets when remodeling. One for the works. And another for the furnishing.

6) Landscaping

For a lot of homeowners, pouring money into landscaping is not value for money because they spend most of their time indoors.

Yet there are also people who simply love to spend more time outdoors. And thus, are more than willing to spend money on landscaping work.

Make no mistake about it. Landscaping projects can be costly.

If you want to hit a sweet spot between affordability and improvements, make practicality a priority.

Finally, you should be aware that it is near impossible to clearly estimate the total costs involved in remodeling. So it is best that you don’t max out your credit cards before even the works have started. Having a buffer amount of cash will be helpful in case of overspending.



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