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Don’t Settle for Less Than the Very Best

… When it comes to choosing a general contractor, that is. During a remodel, there are definitely a few select areas where you can afford to go the less expensive route, but this isn’t one of them. That’s not to say that the best contractors are necessarily the costliest, but you should expect quality work to carry a significant price tag. Still, you’ll be happy to know that your budget may actually benefit from such an investment. A trustworthy contractor can be worth their weight in gold. They will help you find the best deals and value for your money by directing you toward the most dependable brands and products.

Word of mouth recommendations are a great place to start when looking for a contractor, but your homework shouldn’t end there. In this case, reputation is everything, and it’s important to do some follow up research on your top candidates. Always ask for references and be sure to check in with their most recent employers for an up-to-date assessment of the subcontractors and laborers that they work with. Visiting a job in progress is worth considering as well, and keep in mind that in order to snag the contractor you want, you may have to work around their schedule. Lastly –  never work with someone who makes you uncomfortable, and never pay more than 30% in advance.

Know Exactly What You Want – and Need

Unforeseen structural, plumbing, or electrical issues aside, it’s usually last-minute design changes that pose the largest threat to a remodeling budget. Ironically, these are the decisions that you’ll have the most control over, so it’s up to you if you want to avoid dipping any further into your finances. What is the best way to stay on target, you ask? The answer is lots and lots of preparation. Do as much research and planning as you possibly can! It’s important that you have all your specs in order before you submit any design plans to your contractor so that you end up with exactly what you want and don’t overpay.

Before you start whittling down your options, however, try making a list of every goal you want your remodel to meet. Do you need more space? Are you running out of storage room? Is aesthetic appeal a top priority? Organize your needs and wants in order of importance and be realistic about the luxuries that you truly can’t live without. A top-of-the-line stainless steel oven is certainly eye-catching, but unless you’re a gourmet chef, the money could be better spent elsewhere. Putting together an idea folder is a great way to get started on the look you want to put together. Pictures, materials, architectural elements, notes and overall concepts are a great jumping off point.

Prioritize Quality and Safety Over Designer Labels

A kitchen remodel has the potential to put a huge dent in your savings and focusing on what’s in vogue is the surest way to see your expenses spiral out of control. Depending on where you live, the nationwide average for a major kitchen overhaul is over $60,000. That figure doesn’t even take unplanned circumstances into account, so trying to keep up with the Joneses and outdo your neighbors is simply a costly mistake. A truly impressive kitchen is one that will not only appeal to your sense of style but also stand the test of time in terms of both appearance and quality.

There’s definitely a trick to knowing where to spend and where to save. Name-brand appliances, for example, aren’t worth the splurge. Practical elements such as safety features, ease of operation, and energy efficiency are far more important. Lighting is another area where you can afford to gravitate toward cheaper options, and flea markets are a fantastic place to hunt for unique, inexpensive fixtures. Settling for cheap hardware, however, is a mistake. You’ll end up shelling out more than you would have if you’d chosen durability in the first place when they wear out quickly and need to be replaced. Again, this is where having a highly competent contractor is invaluable. Their expert advice could make an enormous difference in how much it will cost you to maintain your dream kitchen down the road.

If your kitchen upgrade includes a granite or marble countertop and you’re in the Dallas area, consider Econ Granite for all your stone fabrication needs.