How to Get Your Dream Home

You have worked hard and made some sound investment decisions.

Finally, you are ready to embark on the journey of building your dream home.  Here are some valuable tips on how to make the process less stressful – even fun – and get what you really want.  As one of our clients put it, ‘most of us don’t have the energy or resources to build our dream home more than once, so make it count’

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You’re about to remodel. What can you do to keep the ‘unknown’ costs under control?

It’s a common complaint among homeowners.  You have visions of beautiful new floors and cabinets, lovely granite and high-end appliances.  Shortly after your contractor begins tearing out your old kitchen, he comes to you with some bad news.

You have extensive dry rot.  Your pipes, hidden in the walls are a mismatched combination of pvc, copper and galvanized metal.  The beam holding up your ceiling is not heavy enough to support the structure.

In one moment, you see your beautiful dream kitchen becoming a nightmare.  Your bank account draining as if  it has a cut artery.

Here are some things you should know before embarking on a remodel that may better prepare you for reality:Remodel foundation inspection 001

  • Understand that a contractor doesn’t have a crystal ball.  He cannot see inside your walls or behind your cabinets.  He can only bid on what he can see.
  • Once the problem is uncovered, it is illegal for him to continue without properly remedying the situation.

Take a deep breath.  This is a very common occurrence, especially in areas with older homes.  During the depression, people used whatever they had lying around when a pipe broke – they couldn’t just run to the hardware store like we do now.

The fact is, from the moment your home is built, Mother Nature begins her slow and insidious assault on it.  Dry rot can be occurring for years without obvious signs.

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How Can I Get an Accurate Estimate on Building My Home?

The more you know exactly what you want, the more accurate your estimate can be.

Take a kitchen remodel, for example. Just some of the items that can drastically alter your price are the amount you wish to spend on things like appliances, faucets and sinks, light fixtures, cabinets etc. A stove alone can range between $400 and $40,000. Granite can be $18 per square foot or $80. Granite edging can run from $40 per lineal foot to over $95. Production cabinets are predictably less expensive (and far less beautiful) than custom cabinets. AED brochure kitchen

Keep in mind that if you haven’t decided on all these finish items yet, you can’t expect a contractor to give you an accurate price. Nor can you fairly compare bids.

A contractor may give you ‘allowances’, which are guesstimates on the amount they think you might want to spend for finish materials. Be sure you compare the allowances between bids, as they are only limits set by the contractor based on what he thinks you want. You may go over or under. If the allowances seem very low, it could be that the contractor is trying to affect the overall price so it looks better than the competition. For example, if you clearly state you want a high-end kitchen, an allowance for appliances of $3,000 is not realistic.

Contractors bids on the building envelope are based on the cost of doing business.  Employee wages and payroll taxes, Worker’s Compensation insurance, and General Liability insurance are just a few of the costs calculated into the hourly rate the Contractor uses to figure the cost of your project.  Since we all have essentially the same costs, if you have one bid which is substantially lower than the others, beware.  Unscrupulous contractors can avoid costs by paying employees in cash, but the risk to you is huge.  If one of those workers is injured on the job, you can be liable.

Jacks house 3
Compare the hard costs, which are dictated by blueprints and your building site –  then choose a contractor to work with     who will help you get the finish materials you want AND can afford.

Working with someone you trust can help you end up with a really fun experience and a beautiful home you’ll love for years to come.