Your kitchen may be overdue for a facelift. Perhaps your bathroom could use a few improvements. Or maybe you’re thinking of adding a new room.
But you’re worried about the remodeling cost.
Home renovations can get expensive, and so it’s tempting to either put off work that needs to be done or just automatically settle for the lowest bid you get.
Let’s talk about why the low bid isn’t always best — or even the least expensive — and how to make sure you get your money’s worth.
With home renovations, your goal is to get the best value possible without spending more than you have to. But how much do home renovations cost? Is the low bid always the best value?
The Low Bid Isn’t Always Best for a Home Renovation
When it comes to remodeling, you often get what you pay for. What looks like the best deal up front could end up costing you more than a higher bid from a more qualified contractor. In other words, paying a little more now could save you money down the road.
- Hidden or “surprise” costs. Often the low bid is used to get your business and then the contractor adds extra charges to your bill after starting the work. A higher bid from a more qualified contractor is more likely to include all of your expected charges up front. Another thing to watch out for is “unforeseen problems” or “revisions” that your remodeler should have told you about earlier in the process.
- Poor craftsmanship. A cheaper, less reputable contractor may hire inexperienced, less qualified employees to work on your project. How will they handle mistakes? Will they guarantee the work if they do make a mistake? Or will they charge you extra to fix a problem that isn’t your fault?
- Lower quality materials. The low bid often gives customers a false sense of savings. If your contractor uses poor quality materials and you get less than excellent service, you are more likely to be dissatisfied with the finished product. It may be necessary to redo much of the work, which will end up costing much more than if a qualified contractor had done the job right the first time.
- Effect on property value. If you’re going through the time and expense of a remodel, you want the end result to boost your own enjoyment of living in your home and increase the value of your home to future buyers. When you cut corners on the quality of work and materials, just to save a few dollars in the short term, you may end up hurting the value of your home instead.
How to Get the Best Value from Your Home Remodeling Project
While the low bid isn’t always best, it’s equally true that you shouldn’t pay more than you have to for your remodeling project. Here are a few important points to keep in mind to make sure you get the best results for your money without overspending.
- Contractor qualifications. First the basics. Only hire a contractor who is qualified to perform the work, and who is insured. Beyond that, do some research before making a decision.
- Get the right person based on the kind of work they do. If you need a bathroom remodel, but the contractor has only worked on decks, cross them off the list.
- Ask for word-of-mouth recommendations. Talk to other people who have had similar projects done to get their impression of the contractors they worked with.
- Read reviews from online sources such as Houzz, Google or Facebook.
- Plan ahead. One of the costliest mistakes you can make is to change your mind after the work has already started. So don’t rush. Take your time and decide, right at the outset, what you hope to accomplish with your remodeling project. Improve convenience? Better accessibility? A more updated appearance? Do you have any must-have features or favorite colors in mind? Your contractor can help you work out the fine details, but it’s best to have a good idea of what you want, and realistic expectations of the final result, before the actual work begins.
- Get everything in writing. You deserve to know exactly what you’re paying for. A reputable contractor will give you a detailed estimate that covers the full scope of the work, including labor and material costs. Your contract may also include exclusions, or things not included in the cost of the project. Pay attention to any “allowances” that give the contractor some leeway in terms of pricing to account for unexpected developments that crop up as the work progresses.
- Budget for the unexpected. Even with a qualified contractor and a detailed estimate, almost all remodeling projects are affected by unexpected surprises after the work begins. Many problems are hidden behind walls — such as undiscovered damage or faulty electrical systems. So go ahead and budget at least an extra 10% on top of your initial quote. Have your contractor do a pre-inspection to catch problems as early as possible — when they are easier and less expensive to fix — and maintain open communication throughout the project.
Do you have questions about the remodeling cost of your kitchen or bathroom, or the cost to add a room? Do you need to update other parts of the house or add accessibility features?
With a little research and planning ahead of time, you can be confident that you’ll get the results you’re looking for without having to settle for the lowest bid or spending more than you have to.
Contact Amos Building Co. to learn more. We’ll give you the information you need to get started on your remodeling project.