At DeLong Home Improvement, we frequently receive calls from people who are in the market to buy a house and, before making an offer, want an idea of remodeling costs. Through the years, Bob has met prospective homeowners and realtors at dozens and dozens of homes and provided ballpark numbers about what a new kitchen, bath or even a whole-house remodel would cost.

    Because time is money, we are now charging for this service. The fee structure is as follows:

     -- In Fairlington, where Bob and the DHI team have remodeled more than 630 properties, the charge is $200 per house on weekdays, and $300 on Saturdays, payable by cash or check in advance.

    Bob will give you a ballpark estimate, usually while with you on-site. No written estimates will be provided until you have actually purchased the home, and a more comprehensive site visit may be required to look more thoroughly into the home.

    Often people find it helpful to actually live in their new home before remodeling, to gain a better familiarity and consider the use of space. We have very often seen remodeling plans evolve and change when people are in residence for awhile.

    It is also important to understand the following:

    DHI only works in Northern Virginia, and will not visit homes in DC or Maryland with prospective buyers.

    Bob’s visit does not replace a Home Inspection, which we recommend to everyone buying a home.

    While Bob can give you a pretty good idea of remodeling options, he can not see behind the walls for possible hidden problems that may present themselves during the remodeling demolition.

    With the popularity of “open concept design,” home buyers often want to knock out walls to open up kitchens and other living space. Please be aware that to satisfy Homeowner Association and/or County Building Permit requirements, an engineering firm will have to certify whether or not walls to be removed are load bearing or not. When a load bearing wall is to be removed, it often must be re-supported by a new beam. This adds to your remodeling costs.

    In Fairlington, prospective homebuyers should be aware that many remodeling projects much be approved by the Homeowner's Association; the remodeling regulations vary in each of the seven Fairlington neighborhoods. If the house you are considering needs remodeling, it is advisable to get additional information from the appropriate condo association prior to making the purchase to make sure your plans and ideas are allowed.

    Also in Fairlington, please be aware that Arlington County considers the apartment buildings to be commercial space. This means, for example, that if you wish to convert attic space to living space the county will require the installation of a sprinkler system. Additionally, building permits and inspections are more stringent for commercial spaces.

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