Planning for Added Costs During a Kitchen Remodeling Project

So how do you plan for the unexpected? To keep your home remodeling project on track in both costs and time frame, it’s important to expect some unexpected twists and turns. Just over half of all home remodeling projects go over budget and in many cases budget overruns are a fact of life.

The best way to prepare for cost overruns is to calculate some of them into the project and a good rule of thumb is to budget in about 15-20% for these unseen problems. When you get a quote from a remodeling contractor, they build plan for some deviation and cost over-runs, and it will actually pave the way for a smoother Kitchen remodel that won’t have you way over budget at the end.

In this Complete Home Remodeling guide we will point out some of the top areas for kitchen remodeling cost overruns thus allowing you to budget for them or to avoid them altogether.

Why Do Remodeling Projects Exceed Estimates?

The most common cause for budget overruns is the homeowners themselves. Not planning correctly, not pricing materials correctly and not sticking to the plan once the project is started are the main reasons for these overruns. Below is a list of some potential cost overruns that you need to take into consideration when remodeling your kitchen.

  • Jobs you were planning on doing but now don’t want to do. You planed on painting the kitchen yourself to save the money but now you just want to hire a painter.
  • You decide to change to the more expensive cabinets or counter top. Once a remodel starts homeowners can get excited and start looking at new options. Don’t stop the contractor to make changes unless absolutely necessary, stick to the plans, and stop shopping. Don’t price in the really cheap materials up front that you really don’t want, and remember when pricing, you get what you pay for.
  • Inaccurate Measurements— this can cost you tons especially with custom orders, measure twice.
  • Your Material budget was planned 3 months ago and prices have changed a lot! Double check current prices before starting the project checking against your original numbers.
  • The electrical system is handling the current load requirements ok but will not handle the new lights and appliances. You now need to hire a licensed electrician and install a new electrical panel to increase your power and need a new permit to do that.
  • Permits and fees can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of your remodel. Make sure you understand what permits will be necessary and what licensed contractors will be needed to perform the work up to code.  Is a licensed contractor required by law to remodel a kitchen in your area?
  • Did you figure in any special equipment or tools you may need and the operator to run them? What if you find the drain tile running to the street is leaking, full of roots and needs to be dug up? How much will that backhoe, plumber and permit cost?
  • You paid the contractor most of the money upfront to get all the material and he disappears, leaving you in the middle of the remodel. Do not make this mistake! Pay no more than 35% upfront and the rest in equal payments as work gets completed saving one for the very end when all is finished to your satisfaction.
  • Most home Remodeling projects will need to deal with some remodeling bloopers or missteps.  An unexpected hole in the wall, broken windows, striped piping, broken tiles and more.
  • Know your contract and what it does and does not cover. Who is responsible for getting material to your site? Who is purchasing all the material? Is all work covered and permits paid for by whom? Who is getting the dumpster for clean up? Make sure you understand what is covered and not covered and all costs are plugged into your budget. Also understand the wording of your contract. Saying I will provide a sink and faucet does not say I will install it and does it also hook it up? Look for things you take for granted and then don’t take them for granted.
  • How old is your home? Older homes can contain lead or asbestos which can add thousands to any remodeling budget. Older homes might require electrical upgrades or wider doorways.
  • Is this kitchen remodeling project completely insured and by whom?

How to Get it Right and Avoid Surprises

You will need to talk to a few contractors and ask lots of questions and get references you can call on. Ask the contractor what surprises are common with the project you are planning and which costs are expected to rise? Ask his references whether costs of the projects exceeded estimates, and by how much. Where there hidden costs? Was the contractor on time and did he return phone calls. Read other tips for hiring a contractor and avoiding costly surprises.

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