When homeowners first think about a home remodel, project, they often have stars in their eyes. They’ve spent time on Houzz or flipped through a glossy magazine, and a vision has taken shape. Maybe it’s a new sunroom to catch the seasonal light or a kitchen and dining area in time for the holidays. The excited homeowners make some budget, timing, and organizational plans and then start the process of finding a contractor to do the project. What happens from then on can come as a surprise to the first-time home remodeler. We’ve talked about the 10 Vital First Steps In A Successful Home Remodel, but there are nuances that can get lost between a homeowner’s original idea and final execution. To avoid disappointment and frustration, here are some important issues to consider.
You Can’t Have All Three
Cheap, Fast, Quality – the trifecta we all wish we could achieve in every project. If a contractor promises them to you, run away! It simply isn’t possible, especially in the current market. Material costs have skyrocketed because of demand and supply chain issues. That same demand has gobbled up the availability of most reputable contractors, slowed the delivery of some materials, and impacted the permitting process. Finally, perfection simply can’t be achieved without time and money to do the job right.
It’s Not a Car!
When entering into a major contract, some homeowners want to do some back and forth to get the best deal possible for the project. However, the fine art of negotiation can’t be approached the same way in every context. Where a car is a fixed price item, and a buyer is simply eating into the dealer mark-up to get to their price, a home remodel job has dozens of variables that impact the cost. A homeowner may think they are getting a better deal by getting a lower total cost, but they need to be careful of what they ask for. If they are only thinking of the bottom line of the remodel, they may miss that a contractor will agree to a price and then adjust aspects of the design or materials in order to keep a profit and deliver ‘exactly’ as promised. The best way to negotiate is to work with a contractor who is transparent about their pricing, detailed about the cost of each aspect of the job, and willing to work with the homeowner on ways to adjust the scope to meet budget limitations.
Is Your Home Remodel Design Feasible?
For a major remodel, knowing what you want, and making it a reality in the home that you’ve got takes a professional. While a contractor may have ideas, they may lack the design expertise to translate your vision into a plan that works in your home. Architects work with design programs that create renderings that allow you and the contractor to see what the finalized project will look like, which lets you tweak the plan before construction has begun. Architects will be able to deliver on creativity, design feasibility, and critical safety issues. What they don’t always understand is the budget. For example, the cost of a custom Japanese soaking tub includes the structure and flooring to support the weight as well as the plumbing alterations to reach the stand-alone unit. When working with an architect, make sure that the contractor offers an opinion about the plan before it is finalized.
Beware the Change Order in Your Home Remodel
Excitement and impatience can sometimes lead a homeowner to want to get the project started and work out some of the details as things progress. This leads to the parties agreeing to an “allowance” for details. Picking out drawer pulls, paint color or backsplash tile seems simple enough, but speed, cost, and quality can all be severely impacted by an afterthought. For instance, a stunning glass tile backsplash may add significant weight that requires a sturdier (i.e. more expensive) backing, which the contractor couldn’t have anticipated. Now, the “allowance” for tile isn’t going to cover the cost of this part of the project, and the contractor is adding to the bill through a change order. Part of our process and commitment to transparency includes making sure we finalize these details before we enter into the contract so that we minimize surprise costs.
Alair Homes Arlington prides itself on using proprietary processes, transparency, and exceptional expertise to deliver remodeling projects that wow our customers. Where the project needs it, we work closely with trusted architects, and we pride ourselves on accurate project plans, so our clients know exactly what to expect. If you are considering a home remodel, contact us today for a consultation.