When a client calls us looking for an estimate on a project they have been considering, one of the first questions we ask is “What stage of the planning process are you currently in?”. Most often, the answer is “I have just started calling to get an estimate”. Although this is the natural tendency for anyone interested in having work done on their home, there are ways to pre-plan to make the process go smoother. The catch 22 in the world of renovations is that in order to properly estimate a project, a contractor needs to have a set of plans to work from, a host of selections made by the client, and an idea of project timing relative to his or her schedule. On the other hand, most clients are reluctant to invest on having a set of architectural drawings produced unless they have a solid contract in place that meets their budget. At our company, we have integrated the process into a design/build format to help alleviate some of these issues. There are some things that you as a consumer can do to help get more accurate estimates. The following are a few key items to consider:
- Try to decide on a budget, even if you don’t know what construction costs are for your type of project. Having number in mind will help in the planning process.
- If you plan on financing the project, speak with your financial institution to make sure you can qualify for the loan amount you will need. Don’t assume that because you have great credit that banks are going to lend you the money automatically. There may be other constraints or items to satisfy in order to secure your financing.
- Gather your house plans from when your home was built and a plot plan of your property. If you do not have them, call your local building department and see if they have them on file.
- If you are planning on adding living space to your home, have your heating system evaluated to see if it can handle the extra space or if it will need to be replaced with a larger unit.
- Research the companies you plan to interview for your project. Are they local companies with many successful projects/clients in your area? Do they have any local advertising or presence? Are they easily reachable by phone or email?
By doing a little preemptive homework, the process of gathering quality estimates and securing a good contractor will be greatly improved. Your contractor will appreciate the preparedness as well!
Dream Builders & Remodeling