Starting early, knowing what you want and being prepared for the journey ahead will help you stay centered as you embark on your next home project.

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Q: What’s the remodeling landscape looking like this year?

A: Whether you’ve been living in your forever home for years or just conquered one of America’s hottest housing markets to score a new abode, a remodel might be in your forecast. Starting early, knowing what you want and being prepared for the journey ahead will help you stay centered as you embark on your next home project.

Some homeowners remodel because it’s what they’ve always wanted, and some remodel with the intent of eventually selling their home for more money. For the latter, some remodels are bound to pay off more than others, so which should you go for? Kitchen and bathroom remodels have stood the test of time in terms of providing a great ROI. However, these bonus updates are only valuable if you’ve made sure maintenance issues are handled, such as fixing structural issues or having a solid roof and plumbing system. For those who are looking solely to build a dream home, the return is less important than the utility.

Regardless of your reasons, our predictions for most popular remodeling projects in King County this year are basements, second-story additions and — you guessed it — kitchens. These projects have been popping up more and more over the past year.

Basements provide extra living space or can be a great place to put another dwelling unit for extra income.

Additions are also as popular as ever. With little room to go out or back, many homeowners are opting to go up. In many places, this can mean a better view while giving your family more space to grow.

Kitchen remodels will never go out of fashion. As one of the most-used rooms in your home, the kitchen layout is constantly evolving, appliances are getting upgraded and old tile is being replaced with new tile or hardwood. If you see a contractor’s sign in your neighborhood, there’s a good chance one of these three remodels is underway.

Considerations for remodeling

There are several benefits to remodeling your current house, and while each situation is unique, there are three primary considerations to address:

  • Is your home structurally sound?
  • Are there ways in which your home can increase in value or personal utility?
  • Can you remodel without creating a big mismatch in quality between areas of the house?

If you answered yes to any or all these questions, your house is ripe for a remodel. Also consider whether a remodel is in your long-term plan. Generally, a remodel makes sense if the house is big enough for your family and you don’t plan to move in the next 5 to 10 years. In that case, fixing up the home could make your family more comfortable and improve the long-term value if you sell down the road.

If you’ve found your forever home, remodeling can be a great way to enjoy new amenities while staying in the same place.

Expanding timelines

The biggest takeaway this year is that remodeling takes more time than it used to. With the Seattle housing market outpacing other major U.S. cities, it’s no surprise that area contractors and home service providers are keeping busy, too. Between regular service calls, new-home construction and renovations, it’s a good idea to give a contractor a few extra days to get back to you. That will allow them to set aside time to address your concerns and give you the quality experience you’re looking for.

In a very competitive buyer’s market, there are some things you can do to get the contractor of your dreams. Providing thoughtful details about your project, a realistic budget (do some research ahead of time for cost comparisons) and complete contact information will ensure that a contractor takes you seriously.

Similarly, you may need to be more flexible with your time-to-construction expectations than in years past. For example, a few years ago you could call up a contractor and have them working in your home the following week. Today’s market requires a lot more planning. For major work, such as a kitchen or bathroom remodel, you should call a minimum of two to three months before you want to do the work. If you’ve just purchased your home and have renovations you want completed before move-in, know that you may have to make a few phone calls before you find someone who’s available.

Patience is a virtue in 2018. With a longer timeline and a realistic expectation, your dream home is just around the corner.

 

Jason Legat is the founder and president of Model Remodel and a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, and HomeWork is the group’s weekly column. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to homework@mbaks.com.