Real Estate Realities
LOS ANGELES—If you’re thinking of purchasing a fixer upper or simply to do some remodeling to your current home to increase its value it’s always a good idea to examine your plans closely before taking the proverbial plunge.
Any remodeling work will mean a sometimes sizable investment, depending on the work. Whether it’s a few thousand dollars or more than a hundred thousand dollars, you will need some help to determine the size and scope of the work. That’s where an interior designer comes in. He or she will assist you in learning just how much work you may need to do to make your remodeling project a success.
Once you consult with a designer and have some solid plans for the project it’s time to find a good contractor to make the project happen. It’s best to get a good recommendation for a contractor from friends or colleagues who’ve had similar work done. Finding a contractor through the phone book is definitely a bad idea.
There are all kinds of contractors and finding one that is capable, honest and able to complete your project on time and on budget is oftentimes easier said than done. So it’s important to get someone who is recommended a person you trust. The contractor will hire the needed subcontractors to do the actual work and will oversee that work to your satisfaction.
Develop your budget and always count on potential cost overruns or higher costs which will invariably happen. For instance, if you budget say $100,000 for your project, add 50 percent or another $50,000 to the budget for possible overruns. You won’t be sorry.
To help keep costs down, it’s important to purchase the needed supplies yourself if the project isn’t too complicated. You can get some excellent deals with faucets, light fixtures and similar items for your project. Remember, you don’t need to get high-end items if a similar, but less expensive item is available.
By communicating with your contractor and letting him you’d like to purchase such items, you’ll likely find he won’t mind the help since it’ll relieve him from making these choices. In general, the contractor will end up ordering items require particular measurements such as flooring or windows.
Always outline what each job will entail so there is no confusion with your contractor and so that you’ll both be on the same page, so to speak. Don’t leave anything to chance. Spell everything out and follow up with him as things progress. You don’t want any surprises at the end.
It’s also important to let the contractor do his job. Often times the homeowner will be hovering around a project and making decisions that a contractor should be making, causing confusing and problems, at times. So be a good client and build a good rapport with your contractor and respect the crew members as well. Should issues come up, communicate your concerns with your contractor and work together to resolve these.
When delays come up, be ready for them and don’t get angry or frustrated. It goes with the territory since supplies or parts sometimes are hard to come by or unforeseen issues will summarily crop up from time to time despite your best laid plans.
Don’t forget to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy from the city or county once the work is done. This document assures you and any future buyer that the work is safe and done according to the building code.
David Rosenfeld is a Real Estate broker and president of Advantage Real Estate, a Real Estate and investment firm in Santa Monica, and a Rotary Club member. He has more than 20 years experience in commercial and residential property investments and financial counseling. He can be reached at 310 450-4488 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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