Let’s examine some of the key planning points as you consider your home improvement project, alerting you to possible problems that may arise and how to handle each one:
— You’ve budgeted $60,000 for your project, but cost over runs have driven the final price to $75,000 as the cost of materials and labor were higher than anticipated. There are ways to tackle this problem: insist that the contractor hold his costs to within the parameters outlined in your contract or pay the higher amount and hope that your cash doesn’t run out. The former choice could mean a nasty confrontation with your contractor, the latter could mean you’ve simply run out of cash. Try to find a middle ground to resolve this issue.
— Your contractor has ripped away the old drywall to reveal a huge problem. Namely, your plumbing has been leaking for months, perhaps years, causing structural damage, the extent of which has yet to be determined. In this case, you may be in luck: your insurance policy may have you covered minus a sizable deductible. Still, your project will have to be delayed and the overall effect on your job could still mean more money extracted from your wallet. Contact your insurer to have an agent fill out your claim.
— You thought that the planning board approved your home renovation project, right? Turns out that they did, but made with the proviso requiring you to have the town’s inspector check on its progress at various points of the work. Well, you didn’t and now you wonder why the town is holding up its occupancy certificate — the planner has to figure out a way to check the footings on your expanded family room without digging around your yard. Keep your paperwork in order and follow your municipality’s instructions to ensure compliance with local regulations.
— The work is done, but you’re in for a shock: somehow, despite the blueprints, design sketches and photos, you’re convinced that the final work isn’t what you envisioned it to be. Still, the contractor followed your instructions explicitly. At this point you’re faced with a real dilemma: make some changes, which will cost you money or stick with the final product which you find disappointing.
Other problems that may occur during or after your project can crop up, but may not be as costly. Then again, if you forget to contact your insurer and your home burns down, your claim may only cover rebuilding your old home not your newly renovated house.