Home remodeling tips

Wednesday, September 3rd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

There's a building boom in your neighborhood. Not new homes, but remodeling and improving existing ones. News on 6 consumer reporter Rick Wells explains the boom has been on for about four years and there's no sign of a slowdown.

"We're swamped." Ken Saltink is head of the Remodelers Council of the Tulsa Home Builders Association. He says low interest rates have people ripping out old kitchens and adding bathrooms all over town. Beyond that, even two years after September 11th, there are folks who are still not comfortable taking long trips. "They have the money they set aside for that. Lets put it in the house and get it the way we've always wanted it."

Years ago when a house got too small homeowners just traded up, now they add-on. "Kitchens and bathrooms, they top the list." The first part of a project Saltink is working on now is a freestanding building with an office, a workshop and storage. When that's done they'll expand the kitchen and utility room inside the house. Pretty big project.

How do you protect yourself from a bad contractor? Saltink says talk to someone who's had similar work done. "Ask 'em are they happy with their contractor.” That's what the homeowner on this project did. He watched this same crew work on the house next door. He liked what he saw, when it came time to add on, he called 'em. Sometimes remodeling projects can be much more expensive than you plan. "We don't have X-ray vision, you never know what's behind the wall."

And he says many of these projects don't increase the value of your home nearly as much as they cost to do, bathrooms come closest. They do make existing homes more livable and that usually makes them worth it.

Check out the Remodeling Expo at the Tulsa Event Center at 2625 South Memorial Friday through Sunday. There's also a tour of recently remodeled homes. The addresses are on the homebuilders’ web site at www.tulsahba.com.