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Hot remodeling trends for 2015

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If you're among the millions of homeowners planning to improve your home this year, you might want to watch this before finalizing your plans. Angie's List quizzed more than one thousand contractors across the country to determine what's hot and what's not in 2015.

More than 60 percent of homeowners who've been talking with Angie's List contractors about remodeling in 2015 are prepared to open their wallets wider than those who made home improvements last year.  And it's not because the prices are soaring – the projects are getting bigger.

"According to our contractor survey, 25 percent of their consumers are planning to spend $10,000 or more on home improvements in 2015," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.

Now that we know how much people are willing to spend, what are the hottest projects for 2015?

"Remodeling projects that top the list aren't that different for 2015. We're still seeing kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, but the new thing we are seeing are consumers asking for bigger closets and extra pantry space," Hicks explained.

Also on the list, more luxurious bathrooms.

"If you're updating your home, remodeling your bathroom is one of your best returns on investment," said Hicks. "You're going to get probably 80 percent of your money back. But keep in mind, remodeling a bathroom is not a cheap project. Where it used to be an average bathroom might have been around $15,000, now they're starting $20,000, as much as $50,000 for a master bathroom."

Another finding from the survey involves those shiny stainless steel appliances that so many new kitchens have nowadays.

"Many homeowners have a love hate relationship with stainless steel appliances. They love the look, but tackling those fingerprints can just be a nightmare for some parents, but in 2015, we're still seeing stainless steel top the list," Hicks added.

Here's something you might not know. Hicks says contractors are telling her that there's a direct correlation between those smudges and smears and the quality of the stainless steel. I guess you get what you pay for.

Angie's List Tips: Hiring a Contractor

  • Create a paper trail. Create a timeline and assemble a file of all the paperwork surrounding the project, including contracts, receipts and canceled checks. Document with photos.
  • Never pay the full amount up front. Down payments are a standard practice in the remodeling industry, but you should be careful about how much to put down. Never, of course, pay the full costs up front. A reasonable down payment is acceptable. Don't pay anything, though, until you have a contract that spells out the payment structure. Tie future payments to progress on the job and hold back at least 10 percent until the job is complete to your satisfaction.
  • Get three bids. You'll get an idea of the general price range and identify the outliers. Then, using price as one consideration, you can select your contractor based on other factors such as communication, creativity and flexibility. The goal when taking the time to get three estimates is a high-quality project completed at a fair price. That's a return well worth your time.
  • Read the contract. The details of the contract, including payment terms, should be spelled out in the contract signed by both you and the contractor.


Deciding How Much to Spend: 3 Questions to Ask

  • How long do you plan on staying in your home? If you plan on staying for only a few more years, a smaller remodeling project that doesn't require extensive financing or time is probably a better option. If you plan on staying in the home for many more years or decades, a larger project can make more sense.
  • What are the values of comparable homes in your area? If improving the resale value of your home is one of your remodeling goals, be sure to look at the homes surrounding yours. Adding resale value of your home to the point that it's prohibitively expensive compared to other homes in the area can mean your home languishes on the market. Reduce the size of your project or concentrate on smaller features or finishes that will help your home stand out.
  • Can you afford it? First, can you afford the financing or payments necessary to complete the project? Second, don't forget that if you're adding a significant amount of square footage or living space to your home, your utility, insurance and maintenance costs will also rise.

  • Angie's List Guide to Planning a Remodel: http://www.angieslist.com/remodeling/planning.htm

    Top Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling Trends for 2015: https://www.angieslist.com/articles/top-kitchen-and-bathroom-remodeling-trends-2015.htm