Remodeling Budget Blues

You know enough to stay away from fly-by-night contractors that take your money and fail to do the job, but did you know that some companies low-ball costs to get your business? Estimating a remodeling project is an inexact science at best, so make sure you do your homework before you sign a contract.

Here are a few tips to make sure your final price tag isn’t 20, 50 or even 100 percent higher than the initial bid.

Work with a professional: Always take the time to research any company you are thinking of hiring. It’s easy today with pretty much everything online. Start by checking with Minnesota’s Department of Labor and Industry ( and do a license lookup. Also look at the Better Business Bureau, and don’t forget to google both the company and the principals. If you find any red flags either walk away or ask for a full accounting.

Talk to past clients: Happy customers are always willing to share their experiences. Make sure to ask how they found the remodeler, if the final costs matched up to the original budget, if the job was done on time, any surprises they dealt with and how the entire process went.

Get behind the walls: Older homes can have some nasty surprises hiding behind sheetrock. Bad wiring, outdated plumbing, dangerous materials like asbestos and lead, plus mold/rot have to be fixed, sometimes at a pretty hefty price tag. Discuss this with prospective contractors, and expect to have a few holes in your walls or ceilings before getting a final estimate.

Appliance and fixture allowances: Make sure any allowances in your estimate are realistic. Ask past clients if their allowances were sufficient. And do some research into what the retail costs are for the type of product/quality you want.

As always, the best way to have a great remodeling experience is to have an open, honest relationship with your contractor.

If you’re thinking of remodeling (or building), give me a call. My team works hard to assure your final bill won’t be a surprise.We promise to deliver what you need on budget, on time and stress-free from the first conversation through the final walk-through and beyond.

Visit our website at or call me at 612-801-7244.

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