January 6, 2014

Why Prioritize?

Without realizing it, we set priorities every day. Taking the faster, less scenic route to work on a hectic day. Saving that nice check from the IRS for the kids’ education rather than a long vacation. We do so because it serves our immediate needs. Setting priorities is just as, if not more, important when you’re planning to remodel your home.

Early on, one of the most important steps is to set a budget so that you can separate what you want versus what you need from your upcoming project. NARI offers one example of a remodeling budget here.

What’s on your remodeling wish list? Maybe you’re longing for a spa-like master bathroom, a new eat-in kitchen, or a garage with space enough to fit your cars and your outdoor gear. Knowing what you want is the easy part. The tougher question is figuring out how much you can afford. Here are some ideas to help you arrive at the answer:

Ballpark the costs
As mentioned earlier, your local NARI affiliate website can help with estimates. At this point, you’re not trying to nail down exact prices, but to get a rough sense of what your project might cost.

Figure out how much you have to spend
Once you have a ballpark cost estimate, the next question is whether you have the money. If you’re paying cash, that’s pretty easy to answer. But if you’re borrowing, you need to assess how much a bank will lend you and what that loan will add to your monthly expenses.

Separate Wants from Needs
Next, you may want to determine exactly what you want, right down to the kitchen countertop material and the type of faucet. If you’re using a good contractor, they will walk you through this process with a designer to help you with all of the choices that you’ll need to make. If you wish to know in advance, consult magazines, go to showrooms, visit design sites such as Houzz, or look at friends’ homes for ideas. By specifying these details up front, you ensure that contractors are all pricing the same things.

The Proposal
Once you have a proposal, you will know exactly what your project costs and can start to add or eliminate items based on your budget. Enlist the contractor’s help. A good contractor and design team can recommend ways to cut costs — without cutting away your dream.

As always, it’s all in the details. Check out our latest “Dialogs with Dover” video above that offers some additional tips that may help you along the way.

The best is yet to come,
Beth Orr

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