Plan a Budget, Before Signing Construction Contract
The key to successful home remodeling is taking the time up front for proper planning. It’s in the best interest of ALL homeowner’s to consider the four steps below, BEFORE signing a construction contract. Early planning is important for an enjoyable remodeling experience, because it will flush out problems early and set expectations that will prepare you for the road ahead.
1. Master Plan –
ALL Your Home Remodeling Ideas Together in One Plan -
You might be a homeowner whose family needs are changing, or maybe you’ve lived in your home for a while and just need a change.
- - Make a Wish List – First, make a detailed list that includes everything you’d wish for in your home remodeling project(s).
- - Get Architect’s help - Then, call an Architect to design one plan (called a Master Plan) that ties together ALL your ideas on your wish list.
- - Divide into Smaller Projects - Finally, work with your Architect to prioritize and break up all your remodeling ideas into manageable projects.
You can complete each piece of your master plan as you can afford them, knowing that each piece has been designed to fit together.
2. Determine your “Bottom Line” Remodeling Budget –
After writing a scope of work, create a budget for your home remodeling project.
- - Bottom Line – Ask yourself, what is the maximum dollar amount you will allow yourself to spend? It’s in your best interest to determine your “bottom line” budget amount, and then stick to it.
- - Contingency - Once you have that budget number firmly in mind, it’s wise to set aside what’s called a “contingency”. Some people feel comfortable with 10%, others 25% or more. Because extra spending will probably occur, the contingency keeps your budget under control so that you finish your original renovation plan.
- - No Surprises - Creating the budget first, helps homeowners be realistic about selecting the final architectural designs and finish materials they can afford.
3. Write a Scope of Work –
With your Master Plan design complete, work with your Architect to develop a written Scope of Work.
- - List the Steps - An itemized task list of construction (i.e. demolition, concrete, framing, electrical, mechanical). By stating clearly in writing the details of the project, the general contractor will have a very specific picture of your project and provide a more accurate construction estimate. Also detail what’s NOT included in project.
- - Details are Important – It clears out any grey areas, all uncertainties and ambiguities. For instance, a general contractor might not know you want the wall paper and flooring removed and disposed of in a remodel job if you don’t say so.
- - Remodeling Cost Schedule – Be sure to create a project cost control schedule where you review the costs on a regular basis.
4. Detailed Written Contract –
A contract is needed to set the rules and the terms of your home remodel. It’s very important to write down ALL your project goals up front and include them in the written contract with your architect and contractor.
- - Spell out the Details - There needs to be a clear agreement reflected in the contract about the extent of the work, the quality of workmanship expected, the quality of the materials used, and other specific details of the remodeling design.
- - Never assume. When it doubt, write it all down.
- - Important Note – if you do sign a contract and then have second thoughts, the Federal Trade Commission’s “cooling off rule” may apply. It allows you a 72-hour period in which to cancel the agreement.
It’s easy to jump ahead without thoroughly planning out your home renovation. Improper planning will result in impulsive decisions and choices that might cost extra either in labor or materials. If you take the extra time required to follow these four steps in the beginning, you will take control of your home renovation, and really enjoy the results.
About the Author
Phoenix Architecture Firms
An architect will help you avoid many common mistakes that are made with construction projects. And no matter what kind of space you need today, we’ll make sure it’s designed for your needs in the future. This will give you future function built into today’s addition. To set up a home remodeling appointment contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC