I recently sat down with a very good friend and past client who is in the process of planning a rehab of several rooms in their home. I helped them with assessing their project scope, craftsmen that may be involved and possible obstacles that could arise. They were overwhelmed with the information different contractors have given them, the large differences in estimates, materials and planning an effective remodeling project.
When the decision is made to undergo construction, many will decide which rooms or areas need to be addressed, pick up the phone and go from there. Without effective planning, little costs that are overlooked or not discussed with contractors could start adding up financially.
For larger projects, inquire whether demo, salvage and removal are included. This could become a costly item depending on the project scope. Construction disposal containers themselves are sometimes rented daily, and costs can add up quickly if demo takes too long. In Chicago, many people, including myself, look to salvaging materials for reuse. There are organizations that will either purchase or take salvageable materials as a donation. Salvaging and demo could be two different costs altogether.
Decide on whether you will use a general contractor or if you are hiring the separate tradesmen individually. If you plan to hire contractors separately plan the order of work to be done. You wouldn’t want the new cabinets installed before the electrician or plumbers finish any work required for example. Discuss past projects, view examples of work and verify licensure and insurance.
Have discussions about materials and what is included in the job. Some contractors offer the choice in materials for certain items or can help provide materials from suppliers at discounts due to bulk purchasing (e.g.: counters, tile, etc). Others opt to purchase finished material separately, such as flooring, tile and stone and only include installation in the job. Discuss overruns and construction materials for job. Unplanned changes, can also start adding to the cost of the job quickly. Ten dollars here or there start adding into the hundreds easily if you’re not careful.
Check if permits are needed for the type of work involved. Getting hit with a permit violation can be costly and time-consuming. Some projects involve having blueprints and plans readily available for review. Plan for realistic projects. Some projects may not add value to the home, especially in today’s market and you may want to consult with your broker as to possible return.
Planning for the project in its entirety could seem overwhelming but can save from headaches, last-minute decisions and overcome possible obstacles. For those following on my personal blog, I will be starting a new series of entries about a project at home I am currently undertaking.
Sherwin L. Sucaldito, REALTOR®, GREEN, ABR, CRPM
The Institute of Luxury Home Marketing
Green REsource Council, GREEN
Accredited Buyer’s Representative , ABR
Certified Residential Property Manager, CRPM