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    A Guide to Estimates for Home Repair

    ​While planning a home renovation or repair project, one of the first things homeowners tend to consider is how much the work will cost. Understanding how different contractors bill homeowners for their services can make the process much easier.

    When working with home improvement professionals, homeowners should understand that competing home repair estimates and fixed price bids for projects are entirely separate types of offers. Often preferred for being a clear-cut price that is easy to compare with other offers, a fixed price bid means that the cost will stay the same unless you and your home improvement professional agree on changes to the contract.

    On the other hand, cost estimates include a specific list of items that your home repair project will include. This list of items includes the prices for each separate item. Although more detailed and complex than a fixed price bid, cost estimates allow homeowners to see the exact costs of their project.

    Read on to learn more about home repair estimates for projects around your home.

    Different Estimates for Different Projects

    Home repair estimates might be for the cost of installing a new front door or the price of repairing a storm-ravaged roof. Although various home improvement projects come in a wide range of prices, it's a good idea to do some prior research about average repair prices before sitting down with a professional for an estimate. Usually interior repairs on household items like your AC, boiler, doors, furnace, or water-heater generally range from around $200 up to $1000 or more. Basic exterior home repair estimates usually start around $500, and a major project that involves a deck, garage door, or high-grade entryway can cost $2000 or more.

    Home repair estimates are detailed ways to plan your home projects with a professional. | @ fotolia.com / Andy Dean

    What to Look for in Quality Home Repair Estimates

    When you receive home repair estimates, home improvement professionals will usually outline the specific prices for each item, including materials and labor, cleanup costs, taxes, and even occasionally liability or other insurance. Large-scale projects or an estimate from a general contractor firm may include hundreds of line-items. More details at the start of your project can prevent disagreements from popping up in the future.

    Additionally, home repair estimates usually do not include a firm price cap for the project or a built-in cost cushion for unforeseen variables. Many homeowners prefer this as it helps them to carefully monitor the project's progress.

    However, this lack of a price cap may also mean that you exceed your set budget for the project. Some contractors are willing to negotiate a later clause in their cost estimate contract that sets an absolute cost limit to the project. While some home improvement professionals may not want to do this, try meeting in the middle by setting a bonus for early completion of the project, using a percentage of the agreed upon price cap.

    Bottom Line: Home Repair Estimates for Detailed Planning

    Home repair estimates vary depending on your project and on the contractors who specialize in their own fields of work. Knowing what to look for in detailed home repair estimates from contractors makes comparing and negotiating them much easier.

    Written by: Ryan Mchugh, Editor www.HomeAdvancement.com