How long will my home renovation project take?
As home renovation specialists, we hear this question all the time. The answer: every project is different. However, there are certain steps that must be taken with every home renovation project. Understanding the process up front can help your project go much more smoothly when your renovation is actually underway.
1. Choosing Your Builder
The first step is to choose a professional homebuilder. Do your homework. Ask your friends and family about the builders they hired to renovate their homes. Were the clients satisfied with the process, and the results? Did the builders have open and ongoing communication with their clients throughout the project? Were the projects completed on time and within the agreed upon budget? Did those builders do comprehensive walk-throughs with their clients when the projects were complete?
Research local builders online and visit their websites to view photos of the projects they have done for other clients. Meet with the builders you identify as your possible partners in renovating your home. Ask about their philosophies about working with clients and their systems for communication throughout the project. How do they recommend staying within an agreed upon budget and time frame to complete the work?
Some builders have in-house architects. Others work with outside professionals. Either way is fine, but have a firm idea of the scope of your project when meeting with the builder and architect for the first time. Consider how you live in and use your home on a daily basis and be realistic about what you are trying to achieve with the renovation. For example, if you are planning to renovate your kitchen, think about how that will impact adjacent spaces. Will those areas need to be included in the renovation project? How will this affect your budget? Also, let the builder and architect know if they should plan around displaying certain pieces of artwork or accommodating large pieces of furniture in rooms that you are planning to redesign. Taking the time to plan your new space properly will ensure that the finished product will live up to your expectations.
3. Discuss Your Budget
Speak candidly with your builder and have a clear understanding about the scope of your project and what it will cost. A professional builder will fully explain whether or not your budget will cover the costs of the renovation you are planning. At this point, you can determine if the scale of the project can remain the same or if some modifications to the plans need to be made.
4. Permitting and Code Requirements
The beauty of working with an experienced builder is that they understand the permitting process and code requirements in your jurisdiction. Sometimes the permitting process can take a while, so allow for extra cushion in your timetable. Before your renovation begins, find out if you need approval from your homeowners’ or community association. Discuss the permitting process and code requirements with your builder so you fully understand the time it will take to get through all of the approvals during the various stages of construction.
5. Agree Upon a Timetable
Ask your builder exactly how long your home renovation project will take, based upon the scope of work. If you have a certain date in mind for the completion of your project, be clear about that. Listen to the builder. Are your expectations in line with reality? After discussing all of this, leave the meeting with an agreed upon time frame for completion of your project that makes you happy and to which your builder can realistically adhere.
6. Minimize Changes
Changes to your agreed upon scope of work will cost time and money. Each time you make a change or rethink a decision, you will affect the time it takes for the builder to get the job done. And, making changes once materials have been ordered and your project is underway can be costly. For example, changing the tile you already chose for your kitchen backsplash can be expensive when materials must be sent back and new ones ordered. And, this all takes extra time. Plan ahead and think carefully about your choices — before construction begins.
Good planning and choosing the right builder will allow you to have a pleasant experience during your home renovation project. Setting clear expectations from the beginning is key to having a great relationship with your home renovation specialist. Make sure you have open lines of communication with your builder throughout the entire project so that there are no misunderstandings. Then you will be able to enjoy your newly renovated home for years to come!
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