No matter how simple your project might seem, every remodeling project involves decisions that you as the homeowner must make — either by choice or by default. Making informed decisions could save your budget, your sanity and possibly your home. As the knight in the “Indiana Jones” movie says; “You must choose wisely”. This article contains information that can help you do just that.

You can’t get where you’re goin’, if you don’t know where you’re at

It can be a challenge for even the most experienced professional to find everything that’s behind the walls, under the floor or above the ceiling. A thorough inspection of the site will often reveal certain conditions that must be dealt with one way or the other. Knowing what these conditions are and what your options are for dealing with them can make a huge difference, both in terms of time and money. Discovering a problem in the middle of the project can often result in substantial delays and additional costs.

By having an accurate set of “as-built” drawings, many potentially budget-busting problems can be dealt with during the design process. Sometimes a simple change to the design can avoid the problem altogether. In fact, these changes can often result in a better design custom cabinets orange county for less money.

But what if you can’t (or don’t want to) design around the problem? Well at least you’ll know what the problem is and what it will cost to resolve it. Perhaps you can reallocate money from another part of the project by reducing the scope or choosing a less expensive finish. Perhaps you could simply add the cost to your budget. Either way, you can eliminate many surprises and be able to make intelligent, informed decisions if you are armed with the knowledge that only a thorough site reconnaissance and accurate as-built drawing can offer.

Fail to plan? Plan to fail!

Some projects need to be designed before you can figure out how to do it and what it will cost. Kitchens, room additions, basement finishes and other large scale projects almost invariably need to be designed first. Smaller projects such as a simple bath remodel, painting the exterior or replacing windows are simple enough that all it takes is a material takeoff and a budget for labor.

Regardless of whether a project needs to be designed, it certainly requires a project plan. Jumping into a project without considering all the ramifications will almost invariably cost more and take more time. A detailed plan that is well thought out is essential to the success of any project – particularly if it requires that you move furnishings, empty out cabinets or have to arrange for a safe place to store your vintage 1956 Thunderbird while the work is being done.

Make sure your contractor has a plan that includes your requirements so as not to be surprised when the cabinets are delivered and the Thunderbird is buried behind a wall of boxes in the garage.

Comparing apples to oranges to pears to bananas

Conventional wisdom says that soliciting multiple quotes for your remodeling project is the best way to select a contractor. On the surface, it would appear to make sense. But it can be quite confusing when it comes time to sit down and compare the quotes. This is because every contractor has their own way of determining your requirements, assembling the scope of work and calculating the cost. It’s easy enough to compare the bottom line. It’s much more difficult to figure out what’s included. (Talk about hidden costs!) But there is a better way.

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