Home Remodeling is a Daunting Task

When I was shopping for condos in late 2003, I had two options. Either buy a brand new place that required no work but more money up front, or buy a cheaper place that needed some remodeling done. Unfortunately I chose the latter option, but in hindsight I should have gone with the first option. Remodeling is NOT fun.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs
I basically have two small bathrooms that need to be completely gutted and put back together again. I’ve known for some time that I can expect to pay in the neighborhood of $8-12K for each bathroom. So what’s step one? Find someone to do the work. That’s pretty much the only step I right? Unfortunately it’s a giant step that is big gamble on my part.

I can go with a big name like The Great Indoors who will handle the design, buy all of my materials, and hire people to do the work. They have a small $99 retainer fee that’s required for them to even talk to you though. The Expo Design Center (owned by Home Depot) is a similar store only they want $750 for a retainer which is refundable when the project is done. I visited both of them today and had to laugh when Expo estimated that the labor cost to remodel each of my bathrooms would be…$19,000. Each! Just for labor! I told them they’d been sniffing too much tile glue.

Another option is to go with a smaller contractor. I met with such a person last week who came to my house, checked out my bathrooms, asked a few questions and said, “The bigger one will cost you $14K. The smaller one $12K.” He offered no detailed explanation as to how he arrived at those numbers other than saying, “I’ve been in the business a long time. I know how much it will cost.” But what if it costs less than that?

Yet another option is to leave the bathrooms as they are. I mean I bought the place, why won’t someone else? I might not be able to sell my condo for as much, but there’s always the gamble of investing $20K+ and never getting that money back again when I sell (which will be in roughly two years).

The final option that is definitely off the table is for me to do the work myself. Hah! I can swing a hammer and measure a wall, but remodeling an entire bathroom is not part of my skill set and I frankly don’t have the time either.

So what should I do? Has anyone in the District gone through a similar battle? Was it a success or a complete nightmare? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

I should have bought the brand new place.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Hailing from the Mile High City, Max has also lived in Tinsel Town, the Emerald City, as well as the City of Brotherly Love. Now a District resident, he likes to write about cool photos by local photographers, the DC restaurant and bar scene, or anything else that pops into his mind.

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