Insider Advice: Home Remodeling and Renovations Checklist
The approach to remodeling or renovating a space should incorporate the short and long-term ramifications of the project. Here are some things we recommend you consider:
- Cost vs. return on investment. If you are planning to stay in your present home for more than 5 years, then the wear and tear on your project reduces the short and long-term gain. We recommend that the project be focused on your lifestyle needs. If you think a move from your home will happen in the next 5 years, the renovation should include consideration of broad appeal to the next homeowner.
- For example: Paint is an item that will be redone at the time you market your home, but replacing cabinets, fixtures, and windows is costly and can be used to enhance the value of the property.
- Maintaining the character of the original design. What may seem like a good idea at the time, like adding a new room to the home, could also destroy the appeal of the original home.
- For example: At one Peachtree project, the previous homeowner had added an addition to be used as a preschool. The space was added to the back of the home, cutting off any exit or view to the backyard. The new homeowner had to remove the entire space to create any useful function to the back of the home.
- Consult a realtor or appraiser.
You may love your ideas, but it is a good idea to talk with a professional to see if you can get the value back. Removing a wall to make more functional space in your home may more than pay for itself later. On the other hand, spending more than the market and neighborhood might not increase value.
- For example: adding gold plated fixtures or exotic stone floors in an area where no other homes have them, can actually cost you money in the long run.
At Peachtree Builders we feel that you are making an investment in your home and should get the return you are expecting. We have the experience and resources to help create a balance between the amount you invest and the goals of solving your current space issues, and gaining long-term appreciation of your home. The scope of the project should match the current and potential value of the property, and accommodate the lifestyle needs that are to be fulfilled.
Checklist of things to have in place before you ask for bids:
- Visualize! Look at the big picture and come up with a comprehensive plan.
- Design for tomorrow as well as today. Veering away from classic design or turning to color and design trends may affect the value of your home.
- Use planning workbooks, etc. to get ideas and communicate your thoughts effectively to contractors.
- Talk with town officials to see if the changes you want to make require permitting. In some areas, the fines are stiff and the responsibility is yours.
- Ask the advice of professionals. Realtors and appraisers know your neighborhood and understand the ever-changing market.
- Don’t forget appliances.
- Don’t skimp on lighting.
- Don’t forget storage.
- How will the remodeled space affect your life? Ask yourself why you want to improve your space. What functionality are you trying to gain?
- Point out to the contractor any issues you know may need attention but are hidden. These issues will come out later and may break the budget. If the contractor knows up front, these issues can be addressed and the budget can be adjusted to include the repairs.
- Don´t give the first bid received to the other contractors that you are asking for a bid. Your goal is to get a check and balance from the bids. One contractor may pick up on something others missed. This can easily happen when you are trying to define your project to them and you forget a detail, or they just don’t understand what your goals are.
- Get two to three total bids.
Checklist of bid requirements for potential contractors:
- Always request specs with the bid. Specs should include floor plans, materials, and labor estimates.
- Ask for a copy of license and insurance. Remember, they are on your property and you are liable for injuries or damages not covered by their insurance.
- Don’t mistake kindness for honesty. Check references!
- Don’t forget contingencies; ask if the bid includes a budget for potential hidden issues. See what is listed and how much overages will cost. If no problems occur, you should not pay for anticipated overages that never happened.
- Don’t go by what you see on “HGTV” shows for pricing and work scope. It’s not based on our region, and the true cost may even be less than other areas.
- Get bids in writing, and question everything you don’t understand.
Things to avoid when remodeling:
- Don’t change your mind. Changing the plan will cost time and money.
- Don’t buy low quality materials to “save money”. It will cost you in the long run.
- Don’t start a project beyond your skill set. To save money, you can do the clean-up, painting, etc.
- Don’t confuse price with performance. A high bid may not include better materials (or, as we most commonly hear, “our carpenters are better than others”) to justify high labor expenses.
- Don’t forget to ventilate the remodeling space adequately, and to seal off that space from the rest of your home.
- Don’t listen to the wrong people. Friends and family may genuinely want to help, but they are no substitution for experience and training.
- Don’t avoid the hidden things.
- Don’t settle just to save money.
- Don’t lose sight of your dream.
Things to do while the project is happening:
- Communicate with your contractor daily.
- Inspect work as it happens. If something is not as you expect, address it immediately.
- Verify that materials delivered are the same as the bid specified. Ask to see receipts from suppliers. Understand that it is normal for the contractor to make up to 15% on the cost of materials. If you ordered them yourself, they would cost the same. Building materials stores offer contractors discounts that they earn because of the volume they purchase. Remember, it takes a lot of time to order materials, coordinate delivery times to meet demand, and deal with any items that are incorrect or damaged.
Peachtree Builders strives to meet your goals and create a long-term relationship with all of our clients. We believe that the more you know, the more you will appreciate the efforts we make to live up to your expectations.