Homeowners Fears of Remodeling

27May 2016
home remodeling design plan

Planning and preparing for a major remodeling project can be very intimidating and stressful. Most homeowners are plagued by more fears than answers. The mere thought of allowing a stranger into our private area to dismantle all or major parts of our home is emotionally unsettling and can invoke remodeling paralysis. Homeowners begin to think that it might be easier just to move, only to come to the realization that the equity they had built up in their homes over the years will not translate to a home of their dreams. As with most fear based thoughts, we have a tendency to allow our minds and emotions to make matters worse than they actually are or likely will be. Although these fears play a important role, as a defense mechanism they force us to do the homework required to avoid foreseeable problems that can be controlled such as;

Dishonest Contractors

Most general contractors and trade remodeling contractors are honest people. But the reality of life is that there are dishonest people in every industry. The secret in avoiding doing business with disreputable contractors and mitigating your risk is by going through a thorough process of scrutinizing the contractor. These tasks require the owner to carefully require the contractors to;

• Provide a detailed proposal speaking to the comprehensive scope of work of the project
• Furnish a legally bidding and enforceable legitimate contract
• Provide the owner with the required general liability and workman’s compensation insurance as needed
• Develop a comfort level of trust with the general contractor through meaningful conversation and references when possible
• Require deposits to be placed in an escrow account or pay upon delivery for special ordered materials or make direct payments to 3rd party vendors
• Share your vision of your remodeling goals and determine if the contractors listen to you and are capable of facilitating the process while making a connection with you
• Furnish reliable contact information for both working hours and emergency conditions
• Temporarily place your valuables in a secure location

Cost of Remodeling

There is no mistaking that remodeling is an expensive process. Especially kitchens and bathrooms that represent significantly more cost than any other space in the house. This concern turns to fear when the owner begins to understand they will also be responsible for the cost of necessary improvement that result from uncovering unforeseen conditions or damages to the structure during remodeling. The fear is further manifested when the owner has developed a very tight budget to construct their project. Once again most of these real life fears can be addressed emotionally and justified financially with the detailed research necessary to warrant a successful project.

• Prepare a detailed priority wish list of space needs and products
• Surround yourself with trusted and purposeful advisers
• Enter into a design build agreement with a reputable general contractor
• Share your budget and design ideas to develop a schematic concept drawing that meets your needs and goals
• Provide feedback and decisively approve both concept drawing and preliminary drawings
• General contractor will provide schedule of values for the project that develops a high level of cost confidence (+/- 10%)
• Finalize your product selection and nail down a firm lump sum contract amount
• After final contract amount is determined, add an additional 15% as a cushion to avoid unforeseen events.
• If you end up not needing these surplus funds you can use the surplus funds to add items from your wish list or upgrade your decorator selections

home remodeling design plan

Project Control

Owners often fear that the designer will draw what they have requested only to realize that it is greatly outside of their proposed budget. They are also concerned with losing control of the project during construction phase. One of the advantages of entering into a design build agreement is that the owner remains in control of the entire process. This process considerably diminishes both design and construction control risk.

• During design process as previously discussed, the owner matches their design needs with the proposed budget reducing the possibilities of any unwelcome financial surprises.
• Owner should verify that product allowances are sufficient amounts to purchase the desired products mindful of the budget
• Also during the design phase the owner is able to develop a closer understanding of what it will be like to work with the general contractor during the construction phase, reducing the chances of a dysfunctional relationship.

Temporary Life Disruption

Depending on the scale of the remodeling project, owners often will either choose to find temporary quarters during the construction process or they will make arrangements to live with the construction disruptions and inconveniences. The length of time that these conditions temporarily impact the owners life is dependent on many factors such as; the magnitude of the construction project, how complicated the design is, the interruption of essential utilities and the owners general understanding reached with the general contractor concerning these issues. These fears can be substantially reduced by the implementation of the following practices;

• The project schedule often depends on long lead item products being ordered and delivered prior to their installation needs.
• These long lead time items require joint cooperation between owner and general contractor in successfully processing these items from selection to delivery
• The schedule should be carefully reviewed and discussed between the owner and general contractor, with special emphasis placed on construction events that create the greatest disturbance to living conditions to allow owners to manage their living situation more tolerantly
• Essential utility interruptions can be either reduced to daily working hour interruptions or temporary rerouting can be planned as part of the construction process.
• Dust partitions and filtration plans can be used to isolate the dust from the living conditions of the undisturbed parts of the home

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Disappointment with Results

The most difficult fear for an owner to deal with is the fear of performance disappointment. This can take place when the project is deep in the construction process and the owner observes that the actual improvements do not represent what they wanted. Another example of this disappointment could be when the owner is not satisfied with the quality of the products or workmanship they are witnessing. Either of these effects can be greatly reduced through implementing the following;

• The request and implementation of a 3D drawing of the preliminary drawings that will take the owner through the home on a virtual tour. Many owners do not understand 2 dimensional drawings and have a difficult time visualizing the finished product.
• Request details and elevation sections of important aspects of the home to clarify what the final product will look like
• Request the general contractor to provide “mock ups” (construction samples) of special materials or constructed details that are important to you
• Workmanship issues may not always be resolved with open dialog, but the key to reducing the risk of these kind of issues resulting in a poor quality project is to openly discuss your expectations of performance early and often during the design phase,
• Special attention should be developed during the design and pricing phase of the design build process, allowing both the owner and the general contractor to determine if there is indeed a favorable working fit between them for a working relationship,
• This is critical to the success of the project and best interest of both parties.

The emotional experience of remodeling is very real for owners. The importance cannot be overstated concerning the owner and general contractor determining if their project relationship is a good and solid fit for both of them. The general contractor needs to know that he can be open and honest with the owner concerning meaningful business matters and that the owners will honor their obligations. In turn the owners need to trust their general contractor to stand by them through the challenging times of the project. This means that the owner should have confidence in their decision to do business with the GC’s company. That you as the owner have established that your general contractor will make all necessary efforts to professionally serve you as their client, while meeting his obligation of serving the best interest of the project.

For more information on design build remodeling for your home or custom home builders in houston, Texas contact info@marwoodconstruction.com or call 713-818-1720.

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