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Remodeling: A Smart Investment

You’ve found that perfect view and you absolutely can’t live anywhere else — but there’s already a house on the lot of your dreams. Perhaps the house is not exactly what you want, but it has “possibilities.” Or you already own a home there, but it’s no longer suitable for your changing lifestyle.

These — and more — are excellent reasons to consider remodeling. Remodel projects can range from something as simple as redesigning a window, to additions larger than the original house. Garages, carports and porches can be enclosed or updated. Kitchens and bathrooms can be redesigned, and interior spaces can be rearranged in an untold number of ways.

With today’s new technology, appliances and fixtures are much more efficient, especially in the “Built Green” environment. Outdated designs often hold down, and in some cases, actually reduce the market value of an otherwise solid home. Incorporating new design trends can refresh and enhance both the home and the lifestyles of its owners.

As in the case of building a new home, you have to select a remodeler, and in the case of major renovations, it may also be wise to seek the advice of an architect or designer.

To help you find a qualifier contractor, the National Association of Homebuilders has established a set of professional standards for remodelers that are your assurance of dealing with a qualified remodeling contractor. The Certified Graduate Remodelor professional designation behind a remodeler’s name lets you know that he or she has passed a national certification examination covering all facets of remodeling, and that ongoing education is part of the process.

Any number of imaginative and useful projects can be accomplished by the professional members of the Remodelor’s Council of the Homebuilders Association of Kitsap County . The HBA can refer you to qualified remodelers. But it’s up to you to check their references yourself and find one that best fits with you and your project.

A major requirement of HBA membership is that all its builders and Remodelor’s Council members be fully licensed, bonded and insured as required by state law — and be able to prove it. This eliminates the unqualified and usually unlicensed “fly-by-night” folks working out of the back of a truck.

When considering whom to hire, you should inspect some recent projects and make sure that both the quality and craftsmanship meet your personal standards. Talk to past clients. Was the work satisfactory? Was it done on time and within budget? And most importantly, if they had to go through it all again, or were planning another project, would they hire this same remodeler again?

You will want to feel very comfortable with your remodeler — and his or her crew. You will essentially be sharing your home with them during the project. Although it’s natural to expect a certain amount of inconvenience, you will want a builder to minimize the disruptions to your everyday life.

Depending upon the scope of the project, you may decide not to continue living in the house while the work is going on. Noise, dust, fumes and plastic covered walls are all part of all major remodeling projects. Your family will need patience and a healthy spirit of adventure.

In planning your remodeling project, you’ll need to compare what you currently have and what you want to accomplish. Skylights for example, can brighten any room. Tray ceilings can add needed height for ceiling fans, and great eye relief, making a room feel much larger. Lighting can also do wonders for a drab room. Spark your imagination by visiting remodels and new homes. Books and magazines from both here as well as other areas of the country are a great source of ideas. Appliance vendors often have literature full of tips and suggestions. Consult with an interior designer for ideas as well as an architect to design your project if it requires drawings.

Depending on your budget, your needs, and your patience, home improvements can be accomplished in stages. You control how much you undertake at any one time.

And finally, remember although remodeling can be frustrating, with the right remodeler, it’s also a project that offers lifelong rewards, including the improved resale value of your home and the comfort of making your dream home a reality at the location of your choice.

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Charlie Mackall's picture
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