What to consider before a kitchen remodel

So, you’ve decided to remodel your kitchen. Congratulations! You’re one step closer to your dream kitchen.

However, there are a few things you should think about before you start tearing out flooring and tossing out your appliances. One great resource we came across is an article titled “5 Essential Things to Consider Before Beginning Your Kitchen Remodel.”

There are a few takeaways from the article that apply not only to kitchens, but also to any home remodeling project.

First, consider what other homes in your neighborhood have done. Expanding your space within reason or adding a cool appliance is one thing, but sinking a lot of money into a dramatic remodel that  eclipses all of your neighbor’s kitchens likely means not getting a return on your investment at resale. Like the article states, every neighborhood has a price threshold, and if you try to go over it, things might not always turn out in your favor.

Second, too much personalization can be a bad thing. It’s OK to add a cool tile backsplash or quiet-closing cabinets and drawers because those have a universal function. For example, adding a kegerator, while very awesome from this writer’s point of view, may not necessarily appeal to a buyer at resale. Also, consider that a home must have a theme, or good flow. If you trick out your kitchen to be as futuristic as the Enterprise in Star Trek, the rest of your house can’t look like a cabin in the woods. Consistency is key!

Lastly, get back to basics. Every kitchen has a universal layout. The article talks about the “kitchen triangle” of the refrigerator, sink, and stove. Honor that triangle by ensuring that there’s enough room to move around and that storage is accessible. Carefully think about how and where you move when you cook or have people over, and make sure something like a new island would function in that flow, and not serve as an impediment.

Have a good week!

How to avoid becoming a remodeling sob story

We were surfing the web recently when we came across this total bummer of a headline on azfamily.com: “Remodeling company goes under, leaving customers devastated.”

In short, a remodeling company asked for 40% of a job up front, then mysteriously vanished before work was complete. It turns out that company, Kieran Brothers, is going under, and taking a lot of unhappy customers’ money with it. Homeowners are left scratching their heads and hoping to recover some funds in bankruptcy court. Not good at all.

This news is terrible and we wish all the best to the affected parties. The customers deserve justice.

In order to avoid becoming a similar sob story, there are a few things you can do.

First, don’t pay loads of money up front. A good contractor won’t seek the total payment in advance. A devious contractor sure will. Good contractors will be upfront about the payment process and will offer alternatives that benefit both parties. Examples include regular installments or payments once certain  milestones are achieved. A good business will work with you!

Second, be careful of very low bids. It pays to shop around, but if you come across a bid that is incredibly low, exercise some caution. Either the company is hoping to lure in customers with a low price and bounce after cashing that downpayment, or there are some serious corners being cut. At the least, it means having to eventually pay more money for repairs to shoddy work. At the most, it means living in an unsafe environment and putting your health at risk. There is no free lunch!

Third, always use licensed and bonded contractors. They are there to protect consumers! Take advantage of that and rest easy.

Fourth, get everything in writing. This is also for the protection of both parties. That way expectations are set, realized, and everyone wins.

Fifth, trust your gut. If something doesn’t sound right, speak up. A good contractor won’t shy away from any questions, large or small.

Have a good week!

Stay positive during a home remodel

Many times on this blog we link to articles or interviews with experts, who provide lots of helpful information based on several years of experience. Every now and again, though, it’s good to check in with regular folks because they can give advice that experts wouldn’t think to give.

Case in point, we stumbled across an article on azcentral.com by Dominic Verstegen, who is not a home remodeling expert. He has, however, just finished remodeling his home, and he makes some really good points.

First, it’s a process. There will be highs and lows, he says, but once you get to the end it’s awesome. Stay positive!

Second, there will be dust. It goes with the territory, and there’s really no way to understand what it’s like until you actually live in a house that’s under construction. You can only mentally prepare so much.

Third, include something fun in your project. Dominic and his wife opted for a kegerator. I mean, that’s cool. And considering the time, energy and resources that go into a remodel, you have earned the right to a cool little splurge. So, why not?

If Dominic’s advice has sparked your interest in a bathroom remodel, you’re in luck because the Troy Daily News has some great tips on getting a good look for less. Focus on things like replacing the sink faucets, swapping out cabinet and drawer hardware, upgrading your shower head, adding new window treatments, and repainting. All of these projects are good places to start if you want to save some money.

Have a great week!