The precariousness of a “moving target home improvement budget” often finds us gripping the bow and straining to keep our eye on the center; but with a bit of knowledge and planning, we might succeed in hitting close to the bullseye.  Check out this fantastic article written by Shannon Dauphin of that could help perfect your aiming skills.

Homeowner Beware! The Hidden Costs of Home Improvement

Shannon Dauphin

Think you’ve got your home remodel or repair all planned out, down to the very last dollar in your budget? Think again! According to Consumer Reports, a full 60 percent of homeowners went over budget on a bathroom remodel. Over 50 percent of all basement refinishing, room additions, and kitchen remodeling projects blew past the budget as well.

What can you do to protect yourself from hidden costs that turn your budget upside down?

Home Improvement Hidden Costs

When you’re preparing a home remodeling or repair project, it is always best to budget a bit more money than you think you may need. This can prevent the little surprises from turning into serious financial issues! Here are a few of the hidden costs of home improvement to look for:

  • Permit fees. If your home remodel changes or adds to the existing property, you might have to obtain a building permit. Depending on the type of work you are doing, electrical or plumbing permits might be required as well. The cost of permits, as well as the application fees, can easily add up to hundreds of dollars.
  • Special equipment. Some projects offer up surprises, such as decayed wood or old wiring that needs to be replaced. Your contractor might need special equipment to handle the issue, or you might have to call in a specialty contractor to work on that part of the job. That hidden cost can add a hefty price tag to your bottom line.
  • Fixing something broken during renovation. Did you knock a hole in the wrong wall? Did that enormous picture window shatter into a thousand pieces? Home repair and improvement can be a risky business, and can lead to damage you didn’t expect. Fixing that damage is an added expense you probably did not include in your budget!
  • Changes in supply cost. The cost of supplies can change between the time you receive the estimate and the day the contractor starts work. Double check with the contractor right before starting the project and ask that any adjustments to the estimate be made in light of the current prices. It might save you a big headache later.
  • Contract exclusions. What does your contract cover–and just as importantly, what isn’t covered? Some building materials, tools, and specific repair work might be excluded in your basic contract, and that can cost you a pretty penny in the long run. Make sure you know what is not covered, and work that cost into your budget as well.

Being aware of these hidden costs, and taking them into consideration, can prevent unpleasant financial surprises during your remodeling or repair project.

May 2009 Consumer Reports survey on the hidden costs of home improvement • Apr 07, 2009 • http://blogs.consumerreports.org,
Tamara E. Holmes • Hidden costs of home remodeling • http://realestate.msn.com
About the Author
Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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