I recently finished renovating a basement of a newer home, the basement was left unfinished after the homeowner had stopped the builder of the home before he could finish it even though he had built the rest of the home at a high standard.
When I asked why they hadn't had the builder of their custom home finish the basement the homeowner informed me that the contractor had never given them a change order or even asked them if it was ok to spend more money then what was originally planned in the budget. After the bills kept piling up and the entire project ended up over budget they put a stop to their contractors spending and any work that was left to completed.
With that in mind and a contract in hand I did what I always did when renovating and gave the homeowner as many choices as I could. Some of them did not cost anything but were personal choice and some were upgrades.
Some of the upgrades were rejected like switching the pot lights to LED from halogen, but there were other ones that were accepted. Upgrades like adding extra pot lights to the bathroom for more light in the shower area and staining a pair of pine doors that we had made for the rec room instead painting them.
These weren't a lot of money over the original budget but I could tell that the homeowner appreciated that I would take the time to ask their opinion.
My belief is that a custom home or a custom renovation is just that "custom", its not custom to the contractor doing the work but it is custom to the home its being done and should be a reflection of the homeowners personality.
The homeowner doesn't get to have everything they want, there are somethings that I will insist on because of best practice and prior experience but overall the place should feel like they were the designers and not the contractors.
The more choices you allow a homeowner the more they feel personally invested in the project, not just financially invested. This helps the homeowner fall in love with the renovation before it's ever finished and also makes for a positive experience between both parties.
So whether you are the contractor doing the renovation or the homeowner you should expect to have choices given so that there are no surprises along the way.
Village Builders Inc.