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Homeowners are starting to feel more confident about the fact that their homes are retaining value and even increasing in value. As a result, many are beginning home remodeling projects again.  Kitchen and basement remodeling projects are at the top of the list.

But, before you remodel:

If you’re planning a remodel of your own, consider the following before hiring a contractor. It will make for a smoother process, and ensure you’re getting the most for your money.

Collect ideas: Go online to get ideas, and share pictures that you like with your contractor. That will help you communicate your desires, and will make it easier for the contractor to quote jobs. It puts everyone on the same page from the beginning.

Set a budget: For yourself, set a maximum budget and make sure you have a contingency for any splurges you may want to make or problems that you could run into. Then, create a goal budget to share with your contractor. As much as you can, research materials to understand what they’ll cost. That will help you understand whether your budget is realistic.

Take a breath: Don’t rush into major remodeling jobs if you’ve just moved in. “Live in the home for a few years so you know what you want to fix. Only then will you understand how your house works — and what really needs improving.

Research contractors: Remodeling Contractors should be licensed and insured. Read online reviews, but make sure that the site you’re using allows both positive and negative reviews (some only post the positive. Don’t forget to ask for referrals from former clients, and reach out to them to find out how they liked working with the contractor, she said.

Break down bids: Bids should include detailed information on what everything should cost, including materials and labor. But there can be wide variations when it comes to material costs, she said. Find a contractor who can “value engineer” your project and “help you find ways to pull stuff out or do things in a creative way,” so you’re spending your money in a smart way and getting elements that are the most important to you.

Trust your contractor: Choose a contractor you trust, but also make sure that the person who gets the job is a good communicator. That will go a long way to making sure you’re happy with the final result. “We’ve heard plenty of horror stories from friends. A contractor should be good about following up after the initial inquiry, that is a good sign.

Prepare for inconveniences: Workers will be in your home all day. And then there’s the dust. But remember that remodeling requires a spirit of adventure. Take a deep breath and say ‘This is all going to turn out great, and it’s a small price to pay for decades of enjoyment.’

For more help planning your basement remodeling project, contact Manzola Carpentry.

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