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Three Ways to Score a Kitchen Remodeling Deal

by Dawn West

Nothing feels better than a good deal. See some great shoes at Bloomingdales then drive down the street and get them 80% off at TJ Maxx? Fabulous! Inversely, nothing feels worse than a "good" deal that sours. That discount toaster that shorts out before you enjoy so much as a single PopTart? The agony! When it comes to kitchen remodeling, there are definitely deals to be had. The trick is in knowing which are the real deals, and which are the "deals" you'll come to regret. Here are three tried and true pieces of wisdom gleaned from savvy savers who've remodeled before you.

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Tip #1: Do It All At Once

You may think the bit-by-bit approach makes sense. You can't afford to overhaul your whole kitchen now, why not go ahead and install a new floor this month and replace your kitchen cabinets after the new year? The answer: higher costs in the long run. Use one contractor for the whole kit and caboodle, and you can negotiate a better price. Hire a contractor here and an installer there, and you're unlikely to get advantageous "package pricing." You may also run into snags that bump up your costs: construction that scrapes up that new floor, cabinets that fall just a bit lower than that fancy splashguard you installed. Don't go piecemeal. Save your pennies, shop around, then do it all at once.

Tip #2: Don't Do It Yourself Unless You Can Really, Truly Do It Yourself

If you're thinking "It can't be that hard," but you've never actually rewired anything, step away from the circuit breaker. In all seriousness, there are some kitchen remodeling tasks perfect for ambitious handymen and women. Say, painting. But unless you actually have both skills and experience, you're better off hiring someone else to build and install those kitchen cabinets or put in that new dishwasher. Paying someone to do the job from the start? It's a lot cheaper than paying someone to undo your mess and then start over.

Tip #3: Call Those References

Any deal hound knows you have to shop around. It's true for kitchen flooring and hardware. It's true for kitchen designers and contractors. To find the right professional help, ask friends or shops you trust for recommendations or find designers in your area through the National Kitchen and Bath Association Professional Directory. Get remodeling price quotes. Draw up plans. Get more quotes. But when you finally narrow in on a contractor, don't forget the critical step of asking for references and then actually calling them. Ask if the contractor delivered on time and within budget. If not, get the scoop on why not. Surprises can get awfully expensive. Calling references helps you avoid them.

Remodel your kitchen the right way, and you can bask in the glow of both its fabulousness and your frugality. Let the deal hunting begin.

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