How to Build or Remodel Your Home
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have access to unlimited funds. Even if you’re going to be operating on a shoestring budget, it rarely pays, either in time or money, to go without an architect or designer. The first thing I tell all my friends when they’re building or remodeling is to hire someone to do the design. Architects can foresee issues that even the best builders can’t - before it’s too late. Even though it seems like an added expense on the front end, you’re definitely going to save on the back end.
With a solid set of plans, you’re going to be able to get better pricing from multiple contractors, rather than a lot of guesswork, and you’re going to be able to save time throughout the project when you hash out all the details beforehand.
If you’ve got a champagne taste on a beer budget, this is a great time to think about the project as a whole. A lot of times, you can split a project into multiple phases in order to make it financially possible. There are also other things you can do to save money on your project that won’t compromise your overall vision. Maybe you can install carpet in the master bedroom and then, in a couple of years, you can add the hardwoods.
Once you’ve got your plans and you’re going to start interviewing builders, it’s a great time to start thinking about your schedule. Ask any builder: selections slow down a project more than any other phase. If you can make your selections on the front end, you’ll be much happier and you’ll avoid any unnecessary delays. This doesn’t mean that you need to know what color paint you’re going to have on the walls, but if you’re wavering on whether or not you want to add a wet bar in the family room, now is the time to decide. Once the framing is underway, it’s going to be a lot harder and more expensive to make changes.
While you’re thinking about the schedule, it’s also wise to think about the scope of the project. Are you going to be renovating the kitchen? If it’s going to be extensive work, you could be without your kitchen for a couple of months. Is this something you and your family can live without? Sometimes losing the laundry room for six weeks adds too much stress, and finding another place to rent makes life that much easier.
So now you’ve got a set of plans and made most of your selections, which eliminates the need for contractors to plug all those allowances into your quote. The next step is to interview builders and let them put together an estimate for your project. Trust should be an important factor in your decision. Sometimes it’s hard to ask the tough questions, but please do. Most of the time they aren’t that tough for the contractors because they’ve heard them before. They’ll probably appreciate it more if you ask as many questions as you can.
People always ask me why our company hasn’t hired an internal designer. Honestly, it doesn’t make sense for us. Even if we had our own architect, I’d still have to charge for the services, so you really wouldn’t be saving any money from that standpoint. Having architects and builders who are independent from each other is always in the best interest of homeowners. It’s a lot harder for a builder or an architect to hide mistakes when they don’t share the same office.