Tips for a Stress Free Project
Building or remodeling your home can be an exciting project, or one of the most stressful experiences you will ever have.
Follow these quick tips to help prepare for a successful experience.
- Do your research. Before calling a contractor or architect, try and understand what is involved. Talk to family and friends who have done work in their homes. Ask them to share what they would have done differently and what they are glad they did. Ask for names of contractors they would recommend. Check out Houzz and develop an idea book with pictures of what you like.
- Develop a realistic budget. Identify a range of what you can spend and share it with your designer and contractor so they can help you stick to your budget. We suggest that you target a project cost that is 10-15% lower than the high end of your budget range. This will provide you with a contingency fund should something unexpected come up.
- Invest in your plans. The construction drawings are key to the success of your project. They are the roadmap to executing your vision. A poor or incomplete set of drawings will lead to mistakes, delays, additional costs and unnecessary stress.
- Make Finish Selections Early. To avoid delays and budget breakers make your finish selections before construction begins. This will give your contractor the exact items to include in your contract and helps you avoid change orders for “allowance” over-runs as well as construction delays for long lead times on specialty items.
- Hire the right contractor for you. Don’t just hire the cheapest pro; you may only get what you pay for. Do hire the contractor you feel most comfortable with, trust your gut. First and foremost the contractor needs to be someone you can connect and communicate easily with. You need them to execute your vision and there should be a lot of timely communication between you and your contractor. Make sure they can respond to you in the way you are most comfortable with. (via phone, e-mail, text, shared website, etc.) Finally ask for and check references.
- Stay Involved. Don’t check out once you start. Do stay on top of project management. Ask for a specific day and time for weekly meetings with the contractor (and architect if needed) to meet and review progress, questions and expectations. Also ask for pictures/video if you can’t be onsite regularly, and expect an agenda to keep weekly meetings productive and measure progress week to week.
- Be Patient. Have realistic expectations and think about contingency plans. Even with the best preparation, delays can happen due to things we can’t always foresee. Open and honest communication will keep small bumps from becoming roadblocks and keep you aware of what is going on and when.
Before you know it the dust will settle (and be cleaned up), you will be enjoying your new or renovated home and contemplating what the next project will be.