Estimating Home Improvement Projects

More and more homeowners are turning to home improvement to transform their New York homes to ideally fit the needs of the family, realize their dreams of luxury and style, make everyday life a whole lot more convenient, boost property value, or just any other reasons. One of the most crucial factors when jumping into the bandwagon is the right budget. The more accurate the estimate, the closer you are to achieving project success. To get to this, here are essential things to know about estimating home improvement projects ideal whether you are in Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn or Staten Island.

Estimating your planned home improvement project is a crucial task that should be taken carefully. Falling short on budget can cause grave issues such as an incomplete project, an inferior result, or financial instability that can lead to debts that can easily snowball into other problems.

If you haven’t done anything similar to the home improvement you have in mind, then getting an estimate would be the best way to start your project. This would get you a good idea on how much the entire project would cost thus helping you get financially prepared and preventing a busted budget. Just as no two houses are exactly the same; your specifications would vary with that of others even for the same project. There are a lot of factors that affect the overall cost and asking around for other homeowners who have had done something similar would be the roughest assessment you can get.

When estimating home improvement projects, the easiest and fastest way to get one is through using an online remodeling calculator from any renovation and home improvement or contractor website. But the closest and most accurate estimate you can get is one from a reputable professional or contractor company.

There are various factors that will affect your home improvement project estimate and these are:

Scope of the Project – this includes the size of the room or rooms that you plan on improving. What materials and supplies you want to integrate into the project. How you envision the project finish and what are the methods and steps to take to achieve the specific look, feel and functionality.

Labor Trends and Regional Pricing – fact is, remodeling costs will differ depending on the state that you are in. This proves true for both contractor fee as well as material costs.

Labor Fees – There are choices when it comes to managing home improvement projects and this includes: managing it yourself, getting a general contractor or hiring a project manager part-time or full time. Each option has its pros and cons and deciding on which depends on your experience, preference, budget and availability. Aside from the labor trends in different states, other factors that will affect contractor fee are specialization/s, experience, skills and even how well established and well-reputed the contractor or company is in the industry.

One of the greatest tips when undergoing home improvement projects is to allot a budget that is more than that of the estimated amount. By allowing flexibility in your finances, unexpected expenses that may arise throughout the project (which are not uncommon), can be accommodated efficiently before the problem balloons. If you have to save, then choose to do so in a smart way. Cut costs without sacrificing quality and you can do this by buying materials on sale and scheduling work at off-peak seasons.

4 Ways A General Contractor Can Help You With Your Home Improvement Project

Sometimes, home improvement projects require an expert hand. For example, if you plan to redo your kitchen, add on a deck or even install new windows in your home, the measurements and the overall plan need to be very precise. Making mistakes in the beginning of the project can be very costly throughout the life of the project.

Also, it can be overwhelming for a homeowner to coordinate and manage a large project themselves, especially if the project requires work from different professionals. This is where a general contractor can help.

What Do They Do?

General contractors are helpful for large home improvement projects where the project requires you to manage, monitor and supervise multiple professionals. A general contractor’s role is to manage these and all aspects of a project.

General contractors are hired for a number of reasons:

+ They provide a great deal of experience in handling your specific project

+ They will have the ability to purchase materials for your home improvement project at lower prices than you can

+ Since most general contractors have working relationships with several specific contractors, they can secure the needed

individuals at a better price than if you were to search and vet them yourself. For example, depending on the size and

scope of your project, you many need experts in areas such as plumbing, electrical, gas lines, etc. A general contractor

most likely has working relationships with contractors that specialize in these areas.

+ A general contractor can handle the legal aspects of the project as well. Did you get the right building permits? Do

you have insurance to cover the cost of a worker that gets hurt at your home? These things may not be something you have

thought about, but they can play a significant role in your well being if they do go wrong.

Hiring a general contractor does not have to be difficult. You will find a number of different choices available to you throughout the web and in your local community. The end result is a contractor that will take your business under its wing and make it a true success.

Good Planning Makes For a Great Home Improvement Project

If you’ve been dreaming of a home improvement or remodeling project, it’s time to make it a reality. As with any project, good planning is the key to saving you stress and money and achieving the rewards that can come from a newly designed space.

Begin fulfilling your dream by clarifying why you want to do this. The majority of remodeling projects begin as a result of the need to make changes because the house no longer meets the needs and desires of the family. For example, having a baby or growing children can result in a need to expand your space. Or perhaps you have lived in your home for more than 10 years and you are getting an itch to update and modernize. Whatever the reason, it is best to make clear what you hope to accomplish from this home improvement project.

Brainstorm about everything you would like to have included in your remodel and then categorize each item as a “necessity or must have”, “amenity or nice to have” or “definitely not”. In order to organize your thoughts and ideas, create a notebook. This will allow you to keep pictures, color samples, fabric swatches, material specifications, reference phone numbers, budget information and project records in one concise area.

Now that you have answered the why and the what, it is time to take a look at the numbers. Spending time on the budget early on in the project plan, as well as reviewing it at every step of the process, is essential to its success and your sanity. Don’t forget to take into consideration the payback you hope to achieve from this home improvement. Typically a kitchen or bathroom improvement offers the highest payback when it comes to resale. Talk to a trusted real estate agent if this is a major consideration.

Being realistic with what you can afford and when you can afford it will allow you to put together a realistic timetable for the project as a whole. The schedule should be created with the help of your “construction team”, which may include an architect, interior designer, loan officer, and general contractor, to name a few. Areas that typically can cause a ripple in your timetable are the design phase, getting permits and the actual time for construction. Make sure that you have “padded” your schedule to account for these factors.

Identifying reliable competent contractors to work on your project can be as stressful as the project itself. This can also take the most time, so be sure to account for it on your project schedule. The simple answer to getting the best person for your project – research! Begin your search by asking friends and neighbors who have completed their own home improvements who they used. The county building department and Yellow Pages are also places to look. Then do your own homework by verifying their license and insurance, check references and reputation, and view previous and current jobs. Plan interviews that will allow you to assess their personality, approach to problem solving and their understanding of your dream. They may be the best at what they do, but if they don’t “see” your vision of the completed project, then helping you make it reality is going to be difficult. Plan to evaluate up to three bids before you make your final selection.

Through careful planning, the ground work should be completed which leads you to the exciting and nail biting phase of the project – construction. Pay attention to the work as it progresses without micromanaging of your construction team. Walking this fine line can make the difference between a good remodeling experience and a nightmare. Having pre-arranged work review meetings in your project plan can help. Use these to go over any issues that have come up, re-evaluate expectations, monitor progress and maintain positive communication with your contractor.

Post construction, before the celebration party, make sure that the punch list (final “to do” list) has been completed to your satisfaction and that your home owners insurance is updated to reflect your remodel.

It can’t be said enough – good planning will make for a great home improvement project.