Always Have a Plan: avoid mistakes with these 4 important remodeling considerations
Having a plan in place well before you start your remodeling project is vital to its success. A lack of thorough planning is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to a successful remodel, which often results in the ensuing project becoming a “money pit”. It really is impossible to estimate the cost of a project or its duration unless there is a carefully conceived plan. Asking for bids without this important step leaves you open to interpretation by contractors and results in bids and estimates that are meaningless for comparative purposes.
The Big Picture
Where do you begin? You should start with the BIG picture and look at your house as a whole rather than just the project at hand. How long will you be in your home? What is the value of your home presently? How does your home compare to those in your neighborhood? List all the possible projects both inside and out that you might consider for your home and try to roughly budget for each of these.
Needs vs. Wants
I also recommend defining your wants and needs. Do you really NEED a commercial range or granite countertops? Try to define what is driving your desire to remodel and then prioritize your list. You may find that it’s better to spend more of your budget maximizing space than on extravagant materials. Don’t compromise on quality or functionality but also know what trade offs you are willing to make for the success of the project.
Timeline & Budget
Will you tackle the whole project at once or in phases? Will you be the general contractor or will you hire someone? A misconception with acting as your own GC is that you will save money. This may only be true if you have a relationship with quality trades people, you have the time and
KNOWLEDGE to coordinate and supervise the subcontractors, and you are familiar with building practices, codes and whether or not your hired subs are doing their jobs correctly. You may pay more to hire a GC, but knowing that someone with knowledge is overseeing the project so that it is done well, on time and in budget may be well worth the investment. You need to also remember that your time is valuable as well, so having a GC may really not cost you any more in the long run.
Lastly, always be absolutely clear about what you are asking for a price on, be wary of excessively low bids, and ask for referrals from homeowners a contractor has done work for in the last year.
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