7 things to know and 3 things to avoid for a residential remodel.
Remodeling your house will be painful and difficult. There. Now your expectations are set! Depending on the size and scope of the remodel it is important to consider a few things before jumping into your project. Here is a list of 7 things you should know and 3 things to avoid while doing a remodel.
7 things to know:
Scope. Remodels are notorious for scope creep, so it is wise to draw a line of where it stops or you may end up tearing down your entire house and starting over! This is often very difficult to do because you will keep discovering things that need to be repaired or replaced, however increasing the scope because it was never clearly defined can be avoided with item #5.
Budget. This goes hand in hand with scope. In order to control your budget you must control your scope! One important thing to note about a budget is do not forget your contingency. For remodels we like to add an extra 10% of cushion so as to account for the unforeseen items that will pop-up during your rehab. Speaking with a contractor or architect early on can help you define a realistic budget for your remodel.
Time. The remodel will take longer than you think. Remodeling a house is actually more complicated than building ground up construction. One of the reasons for this is that much of the work is “out of sequence.” For example, if your project requires reframing, the contractor will have to do it from the inside out, so it makes the process more complex and less efficient.
Stay or go? Depending on the scope of the project you may elect to stay or move out. There are some important things to consider with each option. If you stay, you will deal with dust, noise, and inconvenience for longer than you expected. If you move out it may be burdensome on your wallet and your lifestyle.
Plans. This is very important because a plan will define your scope and help establish your budget, thus reducing the time it takes to remodel your house. This is where architects are valuable.
Permits. Do you need a permit for your project? Here in our local jurisdiction, the city of Austin, there are certain things that do not require a permit such as replacing a window of the same size, or re-roofing your house. If you live in Austin you may find more information here about what work is exempt from a permit. Another thing to note about permits is, they will add to your costs and increase your timeline. You will most likely have a permit fee and inspection fees. However, doing work without a permit may be more costly in terms of time and money.
Punchlist. Near the end of completion you and your architect should walk through every space and create a punch list. This is essentially a list of all the deficiencies the contractor needs to complete or fix before final payment is released. DO NOT pay your contractor until the punch list is completed, or you will have a difficult time getting them to finish!
3 things to avoid:
Do not try to do the work yourself. Sure there may be some things that you enjoy doing, but hanging sheetrock or framing probably is not one of those passions. You may save some money, but you will significantly increase the time it takes to finish the remodel. You will also have to make sure you are installing the work according to code.
No verbal contracts. Verbal contracts are just a bad idea. Write everything down sign or initial every page because you will quickly find out that there will be hundreds of moving pieces and decisions and they will get lost if they are not recorded.
Unrealistic expectations. Perhaps the most important thing to remember during your remodel is that things will go wrong, budgets will bust, work is delayed, etc. All of these things shouldn’t happen, but some of them will, so going in with the right mindset will make the whole process more enjoyable and rewarding.
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Please note: This is for informational purposes only. We are not your architect or builder!