Developing a Realistic Remodeling Budget

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Money. Few things cause more quarrels and tension. Luckily, developing a budget for aremodeling project does not need to be nerve-wracking or start a family war in the living room. Remember these simple tips from The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).

while you are ___, could you just ___

Money. Few things cause more quarrels and tension. Luckily, developing a budget for a remodeling project does not need to be nerve-wracking or start a family war in the living room. Remember these simple tips from The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).

Determine What You Afford
This establishment alone can strike fear into a remodeling homeowner's heart. The truth is, not many homeowners enjoy establishing a remodeling budget - and many simply don't do it at all. "Some homeowners prefer to call in a remodeling contractor and expect him or her to create the budget for them, which is not the best way to begin," said Gregory Harth, President of Harth Builders. How does a homeowner start off on the right foot? One can begin by taking these three easy steps:

1.    Keep a reserve
2.    Keep "change orders to a minimum."
3.    Remember that a phrase like "while you are at it, will you…?" will add cost.

Keep a Reserve
Once a homeowner determines how much they can and are willing to invest in their house, decrease that amount by 10-20%. This reserve should be put away to cover any change orders or incidental charges accrued along the way, which will prevent a frantic scramble for additional funds at the end of the project.

Say No to Unnecessary Change Orders
It is easy for a homeowner to say, "A little more on this fixture doesn't matter. It's very little money." Unfortunately, having that attitude also makes it easy to overextend a prepared budget.
While it's rare that any remodeling project proceeds without a single change order, homeowners can keep them to a minimum by sticking to their original plans. A change order is a written document detailing any requests to alter, change, or remove any items found in the contract or project. There are three key origins of a change order: 1) The homeowner initiates one because they have changed their mind about the design or a specific product, 2) Unexpected damage was found (termites, for example), or 3) A code violation is uncovered that affects the project.

While You're At It…
A phrase like "while you are ___, could you just ___" can annihilate a budget. While it's tempting to a homeowner to have their remodeling contractor complete handy work, it's good to remember that any work not specified in the original contract will have an additional cost attached to it.

Financing
Some homeowners obtain financing for a remodel, especially for larger projects. There are various financing plans readily available to homeowners, among the most popular being the home equity loan, which bases the loan amount on the equity in the home.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans specifically for home improvements are available through many banks and lending institutions. The FHA requires that the contractor be approved by the lender; but proceed with caution - that in itself does not guarantee the contractor's work. Other financing options include personal loans and credit card loans. Fore more information about financing a remodeling project, NARI's Homeowner's Guide online at http://www.Remodeltoday.com discusses financing and more in greater depth.

Whichever financing a homeowner obtains, it's recommended they stick to it. If the budget is "x" and the reserve fund is "y," don't be afraid to tell the contractor that these are the budgetary parameters.

A professional remodeling contractor is familiar with the many financing options available and can frequently be of assistance in putting a homeowner in touch with various options, but it's recommended that homeowners do their homework on the available options.

NARI is a national professional association whose members voluntarily subscribe to a strict code of ethics. Harth Builders is an active member of Bucks-Mont NARI and the President, Greg has served in a number of Board positions, including Secretary, Treasurer, Finance Committee Chairperson and currently as President-Elect of the chapter.

Consumers can also call the NARI National hotline at 800-611-NARI and request NARI's brochure, "How to Select a Remodeling Professional," or visit http://www.RemodelToday.com and click on the homeowner's guide for more information.

EDITORS NOTE: NARI can provide hi-res digital before and after photos of award-winning remodeling projects to accompany your story. Contact NARI with your photo request at marketing(at)nari(dot)org or ask for Jessica Tobacman, coordinator of marketing and communications, at 800-611-6274.

For more remodeling-related stories, visit NARI's online news room at: http://www.nari.org/media/releases/.

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