6 Ways to Prevent A Remodeling Nightmare » RealtyBizNews: Real Estate News


Unmet expectations, incomplete jobs, failed DIY projects — these cautionary tales plague homeowners and investors as they contemplate their home improvement projects. 

If a neglected home is deteriorating, it may be better to sell “as is” to a company that buys houses fast for cash — no repairs needed. But if you have the time and money, renovations can increase your resale value. 

It’s easy to get caught up in a property’s potential and your vision for the space, but rushing into a remodel can spell disaster for those who aren’t prepared. 

Whether it’s your own home or an investment property, a successful remodel comes down to researching the work you want done and the contractors you want to hire. Read more for tips on how to prevent a remodeling nightmare. 

1. Hire a licensed professional

The true costs of homeownership are higher than your monthly mortgage and insurance payments. Many owners fail to budget for renovation expenses. If you have the skills, a DIY job could save you a significant amount of money. 

However, if you’ve never performed any handy work and are relying on a couple of videos, you may need to hire a contractor to fix your mess and complete the remodel, costing you more than if you’d called one in the first place. 

Hiring someone will usually cost more than a successful DIY job — key word being successful — but a good contractor will do expert work and ensure the project is up to code. 

2. Set a budget and timeline

Before starting your remodel, estimate a budget and timeline. Research what similar projects cost and how long they typically take. 

Remember, remodeling jobs can unearth surprises. If you’re doing major repairs, there may be more problems than you realized. It’s a good idea to set aside some extra time and money once you’ve made your plans. 

The cost of an average home improvement project costs $46,000, according to HomeAdvisor. If you have the money to pay off expenses immediately, using credit cards for home renovations can help you earn valuable rewards.

Understanding how much the project will cost will help you apply for financing. If you don’t have the funds to pay in full, you may qualify for a house-flipping loan. If you’re flipping an investment property, you can save money by using a 1031 exchange, leaving you more money for maintenance and repairs in the future.

3. Do your research 

Before hiring a contractor, make sure you generally understand what the project entails. Read remodeling blogs, watch YouTube videos, and call around for multiple quotes. This research will help inform you of the going rate for your project and help you discern if a contractor is trying to take advantage of you. 

Once you understand the scope of the project, it’s time to narrow down who you will hire. In addition to reading online reviews, check if your contractor has previously been sued or involved in litigation. 

Court records are open to the public and can typically be found online. Even if there are only a few complaints, it may be better to find a professional with positive testimonials and no legal history.

4. Ask for references

The best contractors get most of their business by word of mouth, so ask your neighbors, friends, or realtor if they can recommend anyone who has done good work in the past. If you find a contractor online, don’t be afraid to ask for a few references. Even if they were referred to you by a friend, a brief chat with some of their past clients could save you a lot of headaches and heartache down the line. 

5. Get everything in writing

Sometimes a miscommunication can lead a homeowner to think a job will be executed differently. Other times, contractors don’t hold up their end of the deal. Worst case scenario: A contractor just doesn’t finish the job. 

The best way to avoid confusion is to get everything in writing. Have your expectations clearly written, and have the contractor outline the timeline, cost, and deliverable. 

6. Use a lawyer

Make sure your written agreement is airtight by hiring a real estate attorney to review it. Real estate attorneys charge $150–$300 per hour on average. Although that may seem pricey, their expertise can save you money in the long run.

A lawyer can insert clauses that will protect your interests, such as a “right to rescind” clause that gives you the option to terminate the contract within three days of seeing the work in action. 

If you’re remodeling to boost your resale value and choose to work with an attorney, keep their contact information and work to build rapport. You may need a real estate lawyer to sell your house in the future. 



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