A basement remodel is a big project. Even though we were pretty confident about it going in, we still learned a lot along the way. Now we’re passing our newly-found wisdom along to you.
So, the reason why we decided to attempt a basement remodel was to finish build a fun bedroom for our boys downstairs and turn the other half of our basement into a legal accessory apartment to rent. Here is what we learned.
#1: A basement remodel will always take longer than you think
Our basement remodel began in May. We were hoping to be done by the end of June. However, we ended up finishing the first week of September. The main reason for this is because you have to work around your subcontractors’ schedules. They don’t really accommodate their schedules around yours. So, always plan your project to take a lot longer than you think.
#2: Know what you want before you start
Whatever you are remodeling, create a plan. Think the plan over. Revise that plan over and over until you are completely happy with it. Get opinions from people who know what they are talking about. Changes when you’ve already started remodeling can be costly and frustrating.
#3: Consider your DIY limits
I hate mudding and taping. It’s awful. And when I’m done, it looks awful. That’s why we spent extra money on hiring professional drywallers who did an excellent job in more than half the amount of time that it would have taken myself. Of course it cost more money, but if you’re putting this much effort into a remodel, you might as well have it done correctly.
#4: Try out Thumbtack with caution
Thumbtack is an online resource that connects you with professionals in pretty much an field you can think of. We hired our framer using Thumbtack. He did an excellent job, especially since we were on a time crunch. But make sure you look at the reviews before hiring anyone. Not everyone on Thumbtack does high-quality work.
#5: Plan on spending more than you think
After your millionth run to Home Depot, the estimated $10K basement remodel suddenly turns into more like $15-$20K. Unexpected costs will always come up, so plan accordingly.
#6: Get plenty of project bids
We got five different bids for our new furnace during our remodel. The first bid was $10,000. Our fifth and final bid was $5,000. Boy, am I glad that we didn’t go with the first bid. Sometimes it takes extra time and can be tedious, but it could save you thousands in the end.
#7: Be cautious when putting money down
My neighbor hired a guy from a reputable company to build a new deck. He required 50 percent down. They hired him and after he tore out the old deck, they never heard from him again. Apparently he is wanted in three states and skipped town with her $16,000 deposit in his pocket. It’s not a bad idea to double check who you are hiring. When they ask for money down, offer to pay for supplies and pay for labor after the job is done.
What tips do you have for your basement remodel? Leave your comment below.
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