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Remodel for the right price in Los Angeles

With the housing market the way it is, it’s no wonder homeowners in the Los Angeles area are thinking twice about moving. Instead, they’re turning to the much cheaper alternative - remodeling.

Homeowners are getting creative with the remodeling process and saving costs anywhere they can. Experts say the latest trends in materials used in remodeling are being dictated by what happens to be on the cheaper end of the price spectrum.

The cost of any kitchen remodel increases with each additional feature the homeowner chooses to install, such as new cabinets, flooring, countertops and appliances. John Myers of highly rated John Myers Construction in Monrovia, Calif., says homeowners can reduce the price by as much as half by choosing not to install new cabinets.

“The cabinets are the most expensive part of a kitchen remodel,” Myers says.

Myers is seeing some of his clients purchase their own materials and appliances for the remodel, which helps reduce the cost even more.

“Homeowners are going to Home Depot and Lowe’s, picking out their own materials and designs,” he says.

Myers says the he will even meet his clients at the store to help them select materials and brands that work well together.

As far as the materials popular among Los Angeles homeowners, granite is at the top of the list. Moshe Cohen of highly rated Construction Masters in Van Nuys, Calif., has been in the business for 23 years and has noticed a recent increase in granite’s popularity.

“Granite is popular because it’s cheap now,” he says. “Twenty-three years ago, granite was so expensive only the wealthy could afford it. Now the prices have changed, and more people can afford it.”

Along with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances are also affordable and popular among homeowners.

There are several ways homeowners can cut costs on bathroom remodels. A complete remodel will usually cost about $15,000 and take between two or three weeks to complete. Myers says costs can be reduced significantly if the plumbing is left alone.

"For the bathroom, keep the tub and shower where they are and redo the tile and lighting,” Myers says. “New light fixtures make a big difference.”

Tami Levy of highly rated AGA Construction, Inc. in Tarzana, Calif., agrees smaller that details can make the biggest change in any remodeling project. “Something as simple as new flooring or painting will have an impact as to how the bathroom looks,” Levy says.

For environmentally conscious homeowners, consider installing water-saving fixtures in your bathrooms. Many people are opting for the dual flush toilet, which has two flush modes. The dual flush helps prevent excessive use of water where it’s not needed. Fixed water pressure faucets help reduce the amount of water used by allowing the user to select the temperature, not the pressure of the water.

Angie’s List contains listings for more than 5,000 remodeling contractors in the Los Angeles area. There you can also find member reports that detail recent projects and additional information about service providers.

To verify licensing and credentials of a Los Angeles contractor, check with the Contractors State License Board.


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