After thinking about remodeling your home for months, you have decided to go forward and just do it! Now that the brief euphoria has subsided you are left with the question: What do I do first?
There are so many things that you could do. You could just start hiring people, you could start with research, or you could start talking to friends and family. You want to get started, but you want to set a few parameters of your project. Parameters like: How much will it cost, how long will it take; who should I hire 1st an architect or contractor; how do I hire an architect or contractor.
What do you want to do to your house? What rooms do you want to add or what rooms do you want to enlarge? Write down all your thoughts, ideas and dreams. Having these items written down will help establish your scope of work. Having a clear view of what you want to do to your home makes the project easier when speaking to other participates in your project (architect, contractor, etc..). With a little research, you can start to put sizes to your home remodeling project.
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Having an idea of what your home improvement project will cost will help prevent sticker shock when you sit down with an architect or contractor. You can discreetly talk to people, family & friends, about how much their remodeling project will cost. In California that cost can range from $115 per square foot in the central valley to $200 - $250 in cities like San Francisco & Los Angeles. Be conservative in your estimates. You don't want to run out of money before the end of your project.
Your construction budget should be 90% of your total budget. Challenges will happen during the process. If you budget a 100% of your total budget - you will create stress on yourself and your family when you struggle to pay for those challenges. I know what you're thinking: Why doesn't my architect know all the challenges that will occur? I can list a large variety of challenges I have encountered during my 30 years of experience. However, I can't list all that may occur. There are just too many variables to consider: Environmental, jurisdictional, governmental and humanity.
Architect or Contractor, who do you contact first? Well, you know where I stand on this issue. However, when most people think of adding on to their home - they think contractor. After all who does the adding on to your home? I have gotten a large number of referrals from contractors. Pick the person, whether architect or contractor, with whom you feel comfortable. The key is having your first team member be a person that will keep your priorities in mind. Your scope of work and your budget for the project.
Whether you select, a contractor or architect first knowing what you want to do and having a budget for the project will start you off on the right foot. Just three easy steps: 1) Size of your remodel/project; 2) Establish a budget; 3) Contact architect or contractor.
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