When you started looking at putting an addition on your home, the idea seemed simple enough. But as the process goes on, it can seem as though you’re lost in a jungle of confusing terms – zoning, birds mouth, codes, slump, sub-contractors, lions and tigers and bears. Soon enough, you’re not quite sure what’s going on and why things aren’t turning out the way you expected. Before your home addition project gets out of hand, here are some hints to help you take control of your home addition project:
- Don’t be afraid to ask why. If there needs to be a change made or a contractor is telling you that you need to have something done a particular way, you have a right to know why. If the answer is that the change is required by codes, will provide a longer lifespan, will provide significant cost savings now or in the future, or will help protect your investment, you should seriously consider having it done under most circumstances. If you contractor can’t tell you why a change needs to be made, you’ll want to be leery of the change – they may be padding their own pockets with the difference.
- When you need to, say no. If you’re paying $200,000 for a 2,000 square foot, 4 bedroom, 2 bath house, you wouldn’t then take possession of a 1,000 square foot, 2 bedroom, 1 bath house, now would you? If a contractor is making changes without consulting you, this is a big sign that they’re not going to honor your wishes in other areas either. Take a step back and look at the big picture. If a contractor is demanding payment in full up front, you may want to take a look at their work history – many fly-by-night and con operations are run by demanding payment up front and then disappearing with it. A reputable contractor won’t demand full payment up front.
- Not the materials you required? Say so. If you required maple cabinets in your kitchen and the contractor has brought in walnut ones assuming you’d want them at a lower cost, you’ve got a right to reject them. With that being said, however, you may want to bow to their expertise in the area. If you’ve selected a laminate floor for your bathroom and it’s not water resistant, your contractor may suggest other materials that would provide a similar appearance while doing a better job of protecting your investment.
- If a project is taking too long, ask the contractor what other work can be done while waiting on something that is causing a delay. If your kitchen cabinets are delayed at the factory, that doesn’t mean you can’t have painting or electrical work going on in other parts of your addition. One of the benefits of taking control of your home addition project is the flexibility to decide, within reason, when things should be getting done. Though there are some areas that will be out of your hands, you do have some control over what is done when.
- Create a punch list. If you’re concerned that some things may not get done, develop a punch list of items that must be done before the project is considered complete. This can include all painting be finished, landscaping repaired, tools removed and similar requirements.
Home construction can be chaotic and confusing, but by following these tips, you’ll help get your project back under control. At Prime Draft, we believe in working with our clients to take care of the confusing parts of home construction while still honoring your project’s intentions. For more information or a free consultation, please contact us today – we’re happy to help.