Kitchen & Bath: Remodel Cost Control

    With $30 billion dollars spent on bathroom and kitchen remodeling projects in America per year, there is no shortage of DIY and professional vendors vying for a piece of your hard earned home-improvement dollars.  According to the National Association of Home Builders, the remodeling industry has seen steady growth since 2009, and currently stands at the highest point we’ve seen since data presentation began in 2001; similarly, the Residential Remodel Index is predicting a 4.6% growth since last year alone, setting a new record following the previous peak in 2007!

    With no end to the home improvement boom in sight, it comes as no surprise that there are more options, opportunities, and potential remodel pitfalls now, than ever before.

    To help navigate the complex process of remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, here are a few key takeaways from a recent Consumer Reports article about how homeowners and investors can save money, build a quality product, and avoid unexpected costs or delays:

    1. Your house is a system: a leading cause of project delays and disappointing outcomes is the discovery of unexpected structural issues which show up in the remodel process.  If considering even a small remodel project, it could be worthwhile to get a home inspection first, to identify any larger issues / constraints within the structure or mechanical systems.  Making enhancements to one area, without taking into account how the home functions as a whole, may compound or accelerate problems in other areas of the structure.
    2. Look local: can’t afford local suppliers?  Think again!  With more advanced manufacturing technologies and computer controlled cutting systems making their way into local shops, the financial overhead of getting local service is certainly not what it used to be.  The true “cost” of buying online, on the other hand, can spiral out of control as nearly a third of surveyed home improvement projects reported project delays ($), due to shipped-in supplies showing up late, damaged, or not matching the product description.  With the price difference between local and online shrinking, without improvement in the accountability of online vendors, it may be time to look local again.
    3. Keep what you can: when updating a space, it is tempting to start from scratch and rebuild from the subfloor-up; the remodel can come in at a fraction of the cost, however, if you can design around the present location of appliances and plumbing.  If you must move something, then the refrigerator typically only requires a new 110 outlet, and possibly a small DIY level waterline.  Stoves, sinks, toilets, dishwashers, etc, all require additional skilled labor, time, and potentially permits, to move; remember, every penny you save in labor can go toward higher quality materials and finishes!


    Discussion Questions:

    1. What “got-ya’s” have you encountered in home improvement projects?
    2. Who are your favorite local vendors and contractors for small remodel jobs in Alaska?

    Find out more about the author and the CORE Real Estate team here:

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