Contractor Costs

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My parents recently renovated our home (my old high school bedroom is now an office – thanks, Dad). When they happened to mention how much it cost, I couldn’t believe it. They have been pretty generous with me, but I’m paying for a lot of college myself, and I was stunned to find out that they’d take on such a pricey project in our house. On top of that, I’m worried they got ripped off by their contractor. I’ve been upset about this for a while now, and I’m not sure how or if I should broach the subject with them again. Any advice?

Contractors aren’t cheap – but they’re also not necessarily a rip-off. The reality is that quality work isn’t an easy thing to come by, and there are a lot of places where using great contractors can add to the price.

Take materials, for instance. Long-time builders say that things like lumber come in all sorts of types and levels of quality. While it may not be obvious to someone outside of the industry, the best contractors will encourage you to use the materials that will make the biggest impact on the quality of the final product.

And it’s not just a choice between cheap-and-sloppy and expensive-and-nice, experts say: in fact, the cheaper option could end up being the pricier one in the long run. The roofing and home improvement contractors at AAA Superior point out that cheap and faulty work can mean higher maintenance costs, more frequent repairs, and even disastrous failures. You can lose money on energy bills when faulty windows let too much climate-controlled air escape, or end up having to re-do a roofing project entirely after damage to your home. It’s not worth it!

So perhaps it’s better to see your parent’s pricey improvement as an investment. After all, home improvement projects can significantly increase the value of a home. Studies show, for instance, that improving a kitchen can improve the sale price of a home while also making it sell faster! And if your parents are now empty-nesters, it may be that selling the property is a near-term possibility.

It’s understandable that you wish this investment had been made in your college education instead – after all, who doesn’t enjoy getting money? But remember that this money is your parents’, not yours. Remember as well that you don’t know every detail of your parents’ financial situation. Perhaps they’re in a position now that they were not in when you first started to attend school. Perhaps they’ll find other ways to help you out later – and perhaps their investment in this property will help them do this. And even if they don’t, it’s important to remember that they’ve gotten you this far. You’re a student at a great school, it sounds as if you’re not paying for everything yourself, and you’re well on your way to a bright future – in part because your parents sacrificed an average of over $10,000 a year to raise you. If all your parents want in return is a home office where your bedroom used to be, well, maybe you should be happy that they got it.

“Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love.” – Nate Berkus

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