Tips on Remodeling - Think RE*Link: San Gabriel Valley Real Estate

Posted by | October 25, 2012 | News | 8 Comments

Last week I shared some of my own experiences during my family’s recent move into our new home. This week, I am going to touch on another stressful situation for home owner’s; remodeling.

When my wife and I first bought our home, we noticed a lot of areas that could use improvement. Instead of getting bogged down by the negatives, we saw the potential. At first, we only wanted to fix the door. However, after brainstorming on improvements, we bit the bullet and went all-in with a plan to remodel the kitchen. It was an interesting, if not crazy, experience. You can learn from ourmistakes and “aha” moments by checking out the tips below.

Complete Construction Before You Move In 

In my previous blog, I wrote about going through boxes, (many unlabeled), when we first moved. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if we had to undergo the renovations while trying to sort out our stuff. Moving alone causes confusion and stress so  it would be advantageous to have construction done before you move in. It will also benefit you to call your contractor as early as possible because if your contractor is good, he will be booked weeks in advance and that will delay the day you begin construction.

A Happy Wife = A Happy Life

For all the males reading this, you must keep this in mind. You and your wife will occasionally disagree when it comes to making decisions. You need to find that happy medium between you and your wife that will allow both of you to be happy with your remodeled space. You need to compromise. Things become complicated when you have two people who are not willing to bend a little to make their counterpart happy.

As for me, I want my wife to be happy. She made the final call on all the decisions that were important to her.

Get Three Bids

Getting three bids allows you to find the contractor who can give you the most value for your money. If you work with Think RE*Link, we would be happy to give you referrals to three different affiliates. Even with these referrals, you will need to do your due diligence by checking review sites such as Yelp.

The point of getting three bids is to find the best value, not just the cheapest option. If Contractor A charges more, but can give you more services or faster construction, I would say go with that option. Cheap is not always better.  Oftentimes, this means they will be cutting corners to cut back the cost of supplies so they will make more money.

The bids from the contractors we contacted were very close.  Since our biggest concern was having the remodel complete before we moved in,  we went with a supplier that could work within our time frame.

Manage The Budget

Any improvements you make to the house will increase its resale value. However, this does not mean you should empty your bank account to pay for renovations.

Construction of the kitchen itself was not cheap, so we had to be smart about where our money was spent. The largest expense was the kitchen cabinets. To save money and time, we chose prefabricated over custom made cabinets.  Custom cabinets can cost up to double the price and you will need to allow extra time for the fabrication and installation.  You can purchase quality prefabricated cabinets that suit your style and your budget. Fortunately, my wife and I were able to find some great cabinets we are both happy with.

We also saved money on appliances. We applied for a Best Buy credit card and got a bunch of stuff at 0% interest for 18 months. Keeping an eye out for bargains and local deals helped us stay within our budget and freed up funds for any unexpected costs with the remodel.

Expect Everything To Take Longer Than Planned

There is always something that will cause a delay during the remodel, but that is all part of the process. Despite the six or seven days of delay during our kitchen construction, the process went well. We encountered a few unexpected expenses and we had a few issues with our contractor during construction. Some of the workers we hired (a plumber and electrician) did not show up at the agreed-upon time and we bought a light fixture that was way too big for the space it was going to occupy.  Other issues could not have been avoided and ranting and raving would not have solved the problem for anyone involved.

Try not to stress out too much if a delay or unexpected expense presents itself.  It is a part of life and it is definitely a part of remodeling. Give yourself an extra week or two before your scheduled move in date.  It is much better to be pleasantly surprised when the remodel is finished on time or ahead of schedule than upset because there is a delay.  Above all, stay calm and patient. Remodeling can be a painful process, but the results are almost always worth the wait.

About Ryan Asao

Ryan Asao is a Monrovia real estate agent and founder of Think RE*Link. Ryan currently serves as President of his local BNI and Toastmasters chapter and is a board member of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals - MSELA Chapter and Mt. San Antonio College Foundation. He is also President Emeritus of the Arcadia Association of Realtors. When he's not working, Ryan is deeply involved with the activities of his family, volunteering with local schools and soccer organizations.


  • Manami says:

    Although I have to say, honestly and sadly: parts of that area do have a post-apocalyptic look about them these days. Fifty or sixty years ago (when I was a child), it was a nice mildde-class neighborhood.

  • Yes. From what I hear in the rest of the “blog-o-sphere” particularly over at PrayTell and New Liturgical Movement. All signs point to a Advent 2011 start date (if that is the right phrase).It is still a bit controversial and the faithful will benefit from ample time for catechesis. For my generation the current translation is all we know. It would be hard to break those liturgical habits so suddenly with no warning what-so-ever. I have not heard even a whisper of the new translation at the parish level in the diocese where I currently live.

  • Furrealz? That’s marvelously good to know.

  • « si jamais vous donnez un rencart à Clopine au bar du Raffles, méfiez-vous, il y en a plusieurs. Je dis ça, d’une part pour frimer un peu, d’autre part pour pas la faire attendre, la dame. »A ma connaissance, il n’y en qu’un avec des écorces de cacahuètes par terre. Mais je suis sur de la reconnaître sans jamais l’avoir vue…Jalouse Trudi!

  • I love the big basket…..I shop a lot with my girls and in between a diaper bag and my purse there is never much room left for groceries. Hope I win I can really use it in the winter time. I have a 3 and a 1 year old. :) planning on maybe one more!!

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