Remodel – Part 2
OK, met with 3 builders. All seem very competent, and I think we (she) could work with them all. They gave us ballpark prices which are within what we think we can do. So next step – final plans from the architect so they can bid it. Hopefully in the next week, because I want to take advantage of the mortgage rates.
Couple of caveats from all of them. One, you can’t accurately bid a remodel. There’s no telling what’s under the walls. The bulk of our remodel is the addition of a 1000 square foot family room/kitchen area which will come off one end of our house. The stairway will be moved from going one direction to having a landing on the way to the second floor. The kids’ rooms will be expanded by taking in some of the area over the garage, but otherwise not much upstairs.
Two, the more you can tell them up front, the closer they can get with the bid process. I’ve litigated a couple of these houses gone bad on behalf of the contractors and the beef seems to almost always revolve around changes. Or not just changes, but things that weren’t finalized. People think they know what they want when they see the plans, but they don’t price things like cabinets, don’t spend the time to figure out what they think they like will look like. So then when they’re put in and they want to make changes, the price jumps up significantly and they’re shocked.
However, we’re not going to make that mistake. Assuming there are no significant structural problems when the sheetrock comes off on the existing house, we’ll have a pretty good idea on exactly what we want and the cost. Why? One, because we’re not bidding this off preliminary plans. Two, because our change orders will be in writing. And most importantly, three, the wife is painfully, painfully thorough. She will know what it’s going to look like because she is scouring the home magazines so when she tells the architect or builder what she wants, they don’t have to guess. There will be a picture to go with it.
So, next step is to get the final plans, and then we go to the bank to see how much can be borrowed. Which will involve stepping into the world of the new appraisal rules.