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1. How much will it cost me to (fill in the blank) - a ballpark price is fine?
2. How long will my home renovations take to complete?
3. How do I know if my home renovations will require permits and inspections?
4. What if I have the work done without construction permits?
5. What is a contractor and what does “licensed” mean?
6. How can I tell who is really licensed?
7. Won’t I get a cheaper price if I go with a contractor without a license?
8.  Why would I use a licensed contractors if I can get an unlicensed contractor cheaper?
9. Why is it a good idea to hire licensed contractors?

1. This is by far the number one question asked of us, and it goes something like this:
How much will it cost me to (fill in the blank) - a ballpark price is fine?

That's a tough question to answer, impossible, in fact, without details. It would be like asking "How much would it cost me to take a vacation?" Without knowing where you're going, how you're getting there, how long you'll be gone, where you will stay, what you'll eat, and many other details, you can't answer that question. That's why we ask a lot of questions in determining the cost of your home improvement project; all the details determine the price. We have put together some national averages for various home improvement projects, but these are just averages. Your project could be a lot more, or a lot less, depending on your individual project.

2006 National Home Improvement Averages
Project / Mid-Range Job Cost     Upscale  
Attic Bedroom Remodel $44,073     Bathroom Addition $60,535
Basement Remodel $56,724 Bathroom Remodel $38,165
Bathroom Addition $28,918 Major Kitchen Remodel $107,973
Bathroom Remodel $12,918 Master Suite Addition $176,268
Deck Addition $14,728 Roofing Replacement $24,693
Family Room Addition $74,890 Siding Replacement (fiber cement) $13,149
Home Office Remodel $20,057 Siding Replacement (foam-backed vinyl) $11,139
Major Kitchen Remodel $54,241 Window Replacement (wood) $16,910
Master Suite Addition $94,331 Window Replacement (vinyl) $13,120
Minor Kitchen Remodel $17,928    
Roofing Replacement $14,276    
Siding Replacement (vinyl) $9,134    
Sunroom Addition $49,551    
Two-Story Addition $105,297    
Window Replacement (wood) $11,040    
Window Replacement (vinyl) $10,160    

PDF files for each of the 60 cities surveyed in the 2006 Cost vs. Value Report are available for purchase immediate download from costvalue.remodelingmagazine.com. A bound copy of the 2006 Cost vs. Value also to be ordered (delivery after January 1, 2007). The 88-page research report organizes the survey data 25 pages of project data from 60 US cities, one page per project; and 60 pages of city data for all 25 pages per city. Also included is a table of national averages as well as tables for nine US regions.

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2. How long will my home renovations take to complete?
Depending on the complexity of the project, the bigger the project, the longer it takes to secure necessary permits and inspections. A typical room addition can take ten different inspections prior to completion and is subject to the availability of the inspector.
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3. How do I know if my home renovations will require permits and inspections?
If your project costs more than $5000 or involves structural, electrical, plumbing or heating & air work, a permit is required.
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4. What if I have the work done without construction permits?
Many problems can arise when working with dishonest contractors willing to jeopardize your home and peace of mind. Besides being illegal, projects without permits can prove to be dangerous. Home inspections are designed for your protection. Consequences of improperly done construction can range from minor inconveniences to life threatening situations.

Additionally, Insurance companies have begun to deny claims on home improvements that did not have proper permits. Also, if selling your home, you are legally required to disclose to potential buyers that you had work done without the proper permits. As you can imagine, this would scare off many potential buyers. Tempted not to disclose? If a problem arises later, the new buyers can hold you legally responsible and you may find yourself in court. In the long run, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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5. What is a “contractor” and what does “licensed” mean?
Anyone that will come out to your home and make a contract with you to do your work is a contractor, but they may not be a licensed contractor. Many home improvement contractors are out there of considerable size, members of both the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce and appear to be upstanding businesses, but are misleading homeowners. While they may list themselves as “fully licensed” with a number, this is only a city privilege license number. They are not state board certified.
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6. How can I tell who is really licensed?
Visit www.nclbgc.net, the official North Carolina Board for General Contractors.
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7. Won’t I get a cheaper price if I go with a contractor without a license?
You might, but then again, might not. If your total project costs less than $30,000, you may use someone unlicensed. Again, you need to be aware of the unlicensed contractor pretending to be licensed.
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8. Why would I use a licensed contractor if I can get an unlicensed contractor cheaper?
Some of the benefits of using a licensed contractor are:
• We’re accountable to the State Licensing Board
• We don’t want to do anything to jeopardize our license
• We’ve passed a licensing test that has a 60% fail rate so we’ve been thoroughly screened
• The State has a reimbursement fund for homeowners using a licensed contractor
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9. Why is it a good idea to hire licensed contractors?
Again, it only protects you. North Carolina licensed contractors are professionals who have passed rigorous technical exams and have proven they have the financial means to support their business. Should a substantial problem arise, the Licensing Board for that trade will investigate the complaint and take appropriate action if needed.
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