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Remodel your Home for the Holidays

A home remodeling project doesn’t have to turn your holiday season upside down. With planning, you can be ready to host family and friends for the holidays.

Before you put hammers and saws to work, consider these tips:

Set a realistic schedule. A good plan with a realistic timeline helps ensure that you and your contractor are on the same page and can track progress.   If it is a large-scale remodel, the project can stretch into several months.

Set priorities. Whatever the reason for your remodel, prioritize all of your goals and consider the cost versus value of each.

Start small. Projects in time for holiday entertaining may need to be limited to one or two or executed in phases.  For example, instead of a complete remodel of a kitchen, consider a smaller project like installing a new island, countertop or new appliances.

Create a budget. A home renovation budget is key to your project’s success. It will help you make better decisions on finishes, furnishings, appliances and other renovation features, and can improve communication with a contractor or vendors.

Determine how you will finance the remodel. You will want to figure out what it is you really need versus what you want.  Next, you will determine how you will finance the renovation.  Finally, you will determine where the money for the renovation will come from.  Do you have enough money in cash or savings, or should you finance the project?  Should you use a home equity loan or line of credit, where a homeowner can borrow money against the equity in their home, or, if the project is small, should you use a credit card to finance the renovation?  Will there be a gift of money from a family member to help?  Borrowing from your 401(k) should be avoided so you do not derail your retirement plans.

Good planning before you start and a trusted financial advisor from American Federal will help you consider all of your options when it comes to financing a home remodeling project.

Budget for the unexpected. Many renovations end up costing more than originally thought, so be sure to have a money cushion set aside in case of emergencies. This is especially true if you plan to tear down walls and make structural changes which can bring unexpected surprises, like mold damage or electrical or plumbing issues, which can add to the final cost of the project.

Assess the investment. If you are planning to move within a few years, remodeling may not offer a great return on investment.  One hundred dollars spent on a renovation does not necessarily translate into 100 dollars in added home value.

Engage a quality-focused contractor. Consider someone who is willing to provide references that can attest to the type of workmanship and timeliness they experienced.

Obtain bids from at least three contractors. It is not uncommon for bids to differ wildly.  The total cost of a job should include materials, supplies, labor and permits.

Where and how will materials be stored? You don’t want the tools and materials for remodeling to be part of your holiday decorations.  Not only can they take up space and be unsightly for guests, they can be a safety hazard, especially if stored improperly.  Your remodeling plan should identify space in your home or garage where construction materials can be stored, covered, and out of reach of children.

Carefully managing your renovation from start to finish will help you complete your remodeling project in time for the holidays.

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