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So, you want to have your home remodeled, kitchen and bath updated, space added or a complete renovation of your home? You have talked to a contractor, talked to your friends who have had their homes remodeled, and you have even contemplated doing the remodel work yourself.

Here’s the scoop: Remodeling is a roomful of unknowns. Whereas building a new home is a fairly straightforward process, remodeling has many unknowns and variables that can drastically affect the project. What is behind those walls is often a guessing game, and poor construction isn’t always visible from the outside. The ability to match materials, techniques, and style of the existing structure takes know-how, experience, talent, and time. The contractor’s unique style and ability to run a crew, and the allotted budget, can make a big difference in the quality of a finished project. View the BEFORE and AFTER images from a dramatic bathroom remodel below:

Information and advice you find on the internet can also be misleading. Is the information you are researching based on your locality and does it take in mind the quality of construction of your home? Weather, building and safety codes, frost depth, window pressure, costs, availability etc. varies greatly from region to region. Consider who wrote the information and are they trying to convince you to buy something that they offer? Do they have the credentials to advise others on home remodeling? There is a difference between “getting the job done” versus “a job done professionally.”

And why does it cost so much to remodel? During new construction, where there is nothing to demolish and haul off; no adults, children, or pets to consider the safety of while the work is in progress; and there is no existing material (flooring, stucco, wall texture for example) that needs to be seamlessly matched, the process of estimating, scheduling, and construction is more straight forward. During remodeling however, there are many variables that add to the time and costs of production.

Below is a partial list of contractor costs, some obvious others less so, on a remodeling estimate:

1. Hours for the Contractor to professionally estimate, delegate, and direct the project.

2. Contractor Licensing, Workers Compensation and Liability Insurance.

3. Project Manager, labor, equipment, auto expense/mileage and tools.

4. Employee training/certifications, safety courses and benefits.

5. Subcontractor and Artisan fees, materials, and supplies.

6. Demolition and removal including disposal of hazardous materials.

7. Often daily clean up for homeowners' comfort.

8. Office space and overhead.

9. Unemployment Insurance.

10. Legal fees, industry association fees.

11. Bookkeeping/Accounting fees.

12. Typist, stationary, contracts, website etc.

13. Warranty work and callbacks.

14. Business and property taxes.

And one that is often overlooked by the contractor himself:

15. Profit—For any business to continue to thrive it must have a profit.

Is the contractor operating his business in a manner that will keep him in business to warranty your work. Contractors who take their business seriously will take your ideas, complaints, and issues seriously also.

Remodeling can be costly, but its important that the finished product is worth the investment in your home!

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