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Choosing a Contractor

Three Steps to Keep your Remodel on Budget!

Unfortunately, overpriced and over designed projects are a trend we are encountering more and more frequently in our industry, which is not helpful if you are remodeling on a budget. With sites like Houzz and Pinterest chock full of beautiful ideas paired with the unrealistic budgets portrayed on TV design shows, it is no surprise. While custom built in’s with hidden doors, elaborate tile designs and fancy appliances seem like commodities thanks to these outlets, the reality is that they are splurge items that simply don’t fit into the everyday budget. While everyone wants the over the top dream home, it is important to keep your needs in mind first when planning a home renovation. Following these simple steps you’ll be able to work with a designer to plan the remodel that fits your needs, (and budget!) without neglecting the fun design items and “Pintrest” finds that we all want.

1. Walk through your home and identify …

  • What is missing? Space, an extra bath or bedroom, storage?
  • What disrupts its function? Is it too closed off? Or too dark?
  • What’s in need of repair? Roof, siding, electrical not to code?

That last one can be hard to identify, you may need professional help to figure out just what parts of your home are in need of repair. Don’t leave this step out as it is a key part of any remodel budget, failing to do so will often leave you over budget and disappointed.

2. Start working on financing.

  • Do you have capital to work with?
  • Need a home equity loan? Most local banks are easy to work with! (in our neighborhood try Cardinal or Sandy Springs)

Knowing how much you have to work with makes it easier to keep things in perspective. Being honest with your designer about your budget is important. They are there to help you get exactly what you need, if they don’t know your real budget they may end up over or under designing. Letting the designer know, “I am preapproved for X amount of dollars and that is it” they then know your limits and will do everything possible to include your wants without stepping outside your means. To a designer, coming in over budget means more than likely losing your business, and no designer wants that! Seeing their designs come to life is why they love their jobs.

3. After taking care of the practicalities it’s time to pull together your inspiration.

  • Houzz is a great inspirational tool. Not only is it free but making and sharing idea books is a snap.
  • Pintrest is also a great reference for design ideas, just filter out the recipes and clothing items first!

Now comes the really hard part, prioritizing your wants! Unless you just won the mega millions jackpot we’re all living on a set budget. Sticking to that budget is key to ending up with a great project that you won’t regret for years down the road.

Decide what your number one want is and what you might be willing to pass to get it. Maybe it’s that oversized pro-line range or maybe its crown molding. If you tell your designer “I just have to have this or the project really isn’t worth it” they’ll find a way to make it happen! Then, decide what ideas would make your remodel really special. Perhaps it’s a built in drawer for dog bowls, or a tall linen cabinet in your master bath. Next, pick out the ideas that would be extra cool but you can easily live without. The loft in your kid’s bedroom that they will use for a couple years and then grow tired of is a prime example of this!

Figuring all of this out can take time but managing your own expectation is key to not feeling let down or disappointed by your remodel. Knowing what you need, what you want and what you can live without will make the remodeling process easier for you, your budget and your design team!

by, Addie Merrick-Phang
Director of Administration
Merrick Design and Build Inc.