While you might be able to get a remodeling project completed before the holidays if you start right now, chances are you should be looking at 2014 to make sure it gets done properly. But that doesn’t mean you should wait to get the ball rolling.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (www.nari.org) offers homeowners tips to prepare for a remodel on its website.
“Once we meet with a client, it generally takes between one to two months before they select the products and make final decisions so we can start,” said John Newmyer of Newmyer Distinctive Remodeling, (248) 669-3500, www.newmyerremodeling.com. “So this is a good time to start planning for next year.”
Newmyer said homeowners quite often have a misunderstanding of the budget needed for a project.
“Some people go to online websites like Zillow to get an estimate of project costs, but these usually aren’t accurate,” Newmyer said. “If you really want to know what things will cost, I recommend they visit a contractor’s showroom and talk with the person who does it instead of relying on websites.”
Joe Aiello, president of Pine Building, (248) 539-9600, www.pinebuilding.com, agrees.
“In my experience, people think a project will cost about half of what it really costs,” Aiello said. “Fortunately, there are financing options available if they still want to do a project but have underestimated the cost.”
“With many buyers fighting over the available homes for sale, there aren’t as many deals on the housing market as people think,” Aiello said. “And often, those homes need lots of work, so people are staying and remodeling because they like their home and know what they have done to it.”
According to Aiello, the first thing homeowners should do is to determine their needs.
“Sometimes we meet with people who think they want to add a family room, but when they analyze their family’s needs, they realize they need to add more bedrooms,” Aiello said.
He also said many homeowners are not fond of the current layout of the home, so they want to re-configure it to add living space and make it more comfortable. And while people think that they can only do inside projects during the winter, Aiello said that his crews can work year-round on projects like second-story additions.
Both Aiello and Newmyer said that the planning also needs to take into consideration the fact that building departments in many cities are understaffed these days, so it can take longer to get plans approved.
“We also like to talk with local planning officials before we start to make sure any project stays within the city’s zoning restrictions,” Newmyer said.
One of the popular remodeling trends Newmyer sees is that people are spending more time entertaining at home and that translates into a need for “gathering” spaces.
“We are seeing a lot of people wanting to open up their floor space and create a kitchen and great room gathering area,” Newmyer said.
He also said that in many homes the living room has become the “looking room” and is being turned into a formal dining room instead.
Kitchens are still one of the most popular home remodeling projects, and Newmyer said that the new kitchen appliances feature some innovative technology.
“Lines are much cleaner in the kitchen these days, and we are seeing trends like a microwave drawer instead of on the countertop or above the stove,” Newmyer said. “You also see the warming drawer making a comeback, and a trend towards induction cook tops and single ovens.”
In bath remodeling projects, he said there is more of a focus on larger-sized ceramic or porcelain tile with cleaner grout lines, and unique features like heated floors and “curbless” showers.
One thing to remember when planning your project is that due to the down economy in Michigan over the past few years, many contractors have moved, so the good ones that remain are extremely busy. That’s why planning now for 2014 will ensure you go to the front of the line to get your project completed in the new year.
If you would like to suggest a question, e-mail email@example.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege personally, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.