Whether you decide to hire a general contractor or individual subcontractors for the job, it’s important to find the right team to complete your home renovation. While word-of-mouth recommendations from friends might be enough for some, you may also consider doing a full-blown check on your contractor—looking into their license, certificate of insurance, lien history, bond number, and certification—to  ensure you’re dealing with a professional who is in good financial standing. Equally important is finding a contractor you get along with and who understands your vision, so it can be helpful to have an interview or preliminary discussion before the formal engagement of services. 
Existing conditions in a house can radically change the budget and scope of a renovation, as sometimes something as seemingly simple as adding an additional outlet to a room can result in the rewiring of an entire home. If you know, for example, that you occasionally blow a fuse when you turn on your hairdryer and have the dryer going on at the same time, that should be a hint that you may need to upgrade your electrical system. 
Don’t want your budget to skyrocket? Don't move your plumbing. On the surface, switching your sink and toilet around may look easy enough, but the problem lies underneath and all the costs involved in moving that plumbing. Besides, if you spend less money on moving fixtures, you’ll have more to spend on that new sleek shower system or vanity you’ve been eyeing.
The easiest way to clear up this question, of course, is to simply ask the company or contractor you're using what is the tipping policy before you even agree to a deal. Yeah, it's a bit awkward—but it's nothing compared with getting it completely wrong. And since tipping customs can vary a lot by region—people in Bismarck, ND, may not tip the same as those on New York’s Upper East Side—you could get some community advice from people who live nearby.
Figure out your entire budget. Don’t forget things like eating out more than usual if you are doing a kitchen remodel or hotel expenses if you will have to move out of your home during any of the work. Decide if you need to split the project into phases based on how the budget is shaping up. If the contractor arranges financing for the remodeling work, be sure you understand all aspects of the terms, especially you are taking out a second mortgage on your home as security. You may want to ask about putting an arbitration clause into your contract in case of any dispute between you and your contractor.
Finally, what's on your ceiling? Few structural elements date a house more than popcorn ceilings. So dedicate a weekend to ditching the dated look and adding dollar signs to the value of your home. This is a project you can tackle yourself. First, visit your local hardware store for a solution to soften the texture, then simply scrape the popcorn away. Removing a popcorn ceiling may not seem like a big change but one of the keys for adding value to your home is to repair, replace or remove anything that could turn buyers away.
Learning which items to spend your money on goes hand-in-hand with making a realistic budget and determining a sensible scope of work. The earlier you can make this determination, the more likely you will stay on track with costs. Think about which items you will use most frequently, as these are products that might be worth the higher price-tag. If you're on a tight budget, you might want to save on cosmetic finishings, as these items can be easily changed with time.
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