The budget conversation is always slightly uncomfortable and sometimes awkward for everyone involved – including the designer and contractor. Let’s begin that the budget is really an investment. It is an investment in what is most likely the largest asset you own – your home or business. It is an investment in improving the functionality and aesthetic appeal the property has internally or externally. An investment should come with a return. In building or remodeling, this investment is personal and emotional satisfaction in living, working or using the space. It is also a financial return upon sale.
More often than not, building or remodeling a home costs more than what most people think. Professional designers and contractors are prepared and need to have the investment conversation to properly guide you to the best possible result you can afford. Therefore, we recommend you be prepared.
Prepared is not putting the burden on the contractor. The first question should not be “We are looking for competitive bids, will you provide one?” or “I want to build or remodel my home what will it cost?” Our experience has taught us that no one is well served by the “low bid/competitive bid” process or expecting a contractor or designer to provide you an on the spot price. I am sure you are asking why and how are you to know if our price is fair? First, a company like ours doesn’t sustain four generations and over 110 years in a community if they are not fair and “Always on the Level” with their customers. Second, qualified designers and contractors are not interested in wasting money or time – theirs or yours. Their focus should be on helping you achieve your goals for the best value regardless the size of the project. Finally, rough bids or guesstimates provided by various contractors are not focused enough to be reliable. There are too many assumptions and decisions made without you to develop a number (see Cost of Remodeling below). The process causes conflict during the construction phase, lots of change orders adding additional unnecessary costs to your project and typically a disappointed client who just spent more than what they initially agreed to.
We encourage you to do one thing – your homework and get a feel for realistic costs. Building or remodeling is no different than any other area of life, you get what you put into it and you get what you pay for.
Project scope and individual choice are the two biggest drivers of cost. Products have many different levels of quality and price ranges. Even the smallest amount of research will quickly demonstrate the variables in costs. Our Links and Resources page provides third party information to help you educate yourself of building and remodeling processes, investments and costs. Although TV can provide lots of ideas we caution the potentially unrealistic costs and project schedules programs can allude to.
Besides research, you need to understand your finances and what you are comfortable investing. With a sense of costs and a financial comfort level, now consult with a professional. Odds are you will not set a realistic investment range without professional help. However, the right professional is needed which the client feels comfortable with having an open and honest conversation about the investment. A home is worth too much emotionally and financially to entrust it to just anyone. Ensure the contractor or designers are professionals in their line of work – well educated, credentialed, experienced, insured, trustworthy and likeable. The better your working relationship with the professional contractor/designer the better the overall project, experience, investment and end result will be.
Interview a couple design-build companies and choose the one you feel comfortable with and hire them to price the project for you. A good relationship is critical because the topic is very real for both parties. If a contractor gives you rough estimates during the interview, keep in mind that is exactly what it is – a rough estimate. The spectrum of choices leading to variation in numbers is immense. Until the project is designed and specified any estimate provided is just a guess.
Cost of Remodeling
Like every client, every remodeling job is unique and there are no two projects the same. Each client will have different areas where they want to conserve or splurge. The National Kitchen and Bath Association offer investment breakdowns for kitchen and bathroom projects. They will say for example a typical kitchen investment will have cabinetry, countertops and labor making up about 75% of the investment. We find this to be true, but their other allocations we find subject to our clients decisions. At Welhouse Construction we work with each individual client, fully understand their needs and wants and help them allocate dollars on what is important to them and will provide the most personal and potential future sale return. We always recommend that a client either reserve or add 10 to 20% of their total investment for unforeseen costs that might come during construction.
Keep in mind when remodeling square footage alone is not the indicator of the cost. Location of the home and where the work is to be completed in the home make a difference. Size of the space, structural changes, age and condition of the existing home, known and unforeseen structural issues are variables. Altering the structure of the home typically will cost more because it requires additional design and engineering work. The amount of plumbing and electrical work are variables. Once the layout is determined, flooring, surfaces, fixtures and fabrics all have many different levels of product quality and price ranges. This is just some of the reasons why the ball park, low bid process and guestimates don’t work. Also, note that today’s remodeling environment has seen extreme volatility in construction materials costs, availability, as well as insurance premiums that will affect the cost of construction.
From the first call we encourage open and honest dialogue with our project team about costs. Together we can arrive at realistic investment goals. Our team will then guide and keep you focused on project scope and investment throughout the project. To start the honest dialogue, if you are looking for the least expensive contractor, we are probably not the best choice for your project. If you are looking for a professional general contractor and designer to entrust with the most valuable asset you own – your home or business – we are the right choice and offer a fair price. As a professional general contractor we have proven business systems we have spent generations developing and refining for us to do our best work for you. We are licensed, carry workers compensation insurance, commercial general liability insurance and company vehicle insurance. We are highly educated and experienced in our line of work, involved in our trade organizations and invest in continuing education and certifications to keep us the best in the business. We have an informative website with actual pictures of our work. We are committed to running a real professional business with the staying power to not only complete your project now, but be here for your next project. All of this comes with a business expense to us and great value to you.
We can’t stress it enough – building or remodeling is no different than any other area of life, you get what you put into it and you get what you pay for. Your home is worth too much emotionally and financially – don’t entrust your home to just anyone. Call Welhouse Construction Services today at 920-766-1345 or send us information about your project here. We look forward to meeting and working with you!