Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Home Remodeling Horror?

When it comes to remodeling, the enjoyment of the new backsplash and replanked porch is too often tainted by the horror story about getting the job done.

Buck up, little remodeler: You've got company. "Complaints about home improvement contractors have become the number one homeowner complaint," says Richard Roll, president of the American Homeowners Association (AHA), a national consumer alliance organization.

When it comes to tackling a remodeling project, your time, money, and good nature are on the line. AHA recommends the following four steps to ensure a smooth-running project.

1. Pick a value-adding project. If your life would be greatly enhanced by medieval architectural touches, then by all means, dig that moat. But you might want to also consider upgrades that qualify as "capital improvements" -- projects that enhance the value or longevity of your home. The costs of these improvements may reduce capital gains taxes when you decide to sell, says AHA. Think creature comforts: new heating or cooling systems; an addition; upgraded insulation; a new porch; yes, even a swimming pool. Consider keeping the King Arthur touches limited to decor you can take with you to your next castle.

2. Set a budget, and line up the dough. Before you take sledgehammer to drywall, decide on a budget (be firm) and earmark the needed funds. Hopefully this is something you've been planning for a while and have socked away some money in an appropriate, safe, short-term savings vehicle. If you plan on using money from a home equity line of credit, read up the pluses and minuses. (Here's what we say about using your house as an ATM.) Cost overruns occur when you do not have firm design plans before accepting estimates, according to AHA. So write down your "must haves," "nice to haves," and "can live withouts," and share these preferences with your contractor. Should he or she have to scale back the project to stay within your budget, you'll each have a prioritized list of what goes first on hand.

3. Don't get too fancy. If you are making improvements to increase the value of your home (and according to statistics, about one-third of remodeling homeowners are), avoid the temptation to overimprove for your neighborhood. Most major home improvements will pay off in resale just 80 to 90 cents for each dollar spent. A "kitchen spruce-up" is probably worth it. But adding a sunroom may not refill your wallet come moving day.

4. Ask for official papers. When you're done picking the perfect project and planning your budget, you're halfway there. (Sorry to throw a wrench into your plans.) Do yourself a favor and spend just as much time picking your pros for the job as you did deciding on what color Corian to use on the countertop. Choose a properly licensed, insured, experienced, and financially stable contracting firm. AHA has interviewing tips and advice on how to protect your financial interests.

Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 13, 2015, at 1:13 AM, SallyWilliams wrote:

    Well, we can't blame people if they are frustrated when it comes to home remodeling. Many have already experienced the inconveniences of renovation. That's why these tips you gave us are very helpful. I'm sure many people will agree with me.

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 509851, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/25/2016 8:30:05 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,169.27 -53.76 -0.30%
S&P 500 2,143.16 -8.17 -0.38%
NASD 5,283.40 -26.43 -0.50%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes