Saturday, October 29, 2016

Want An Addition? Here Are Things To Think About Before You Start Construction

We want to put an addition on our home, add a couple of bedrooms and a bathroom.

What should we be concerned about when we go for our drawings and building permits?

There are several things that you should be worried about when you want to put an addition on your existing home;

  1. Lot coverage. You are only allowed to cover a certain percentage of your property. The bigger the property the larger your footprint can be (the size of the addition and the home can be larger). 
  2. Distance from the lot lines. You have to be a certain distance from your property lines, depending on where you are building will tell you the distance you will be required to stay back.
  3. How the addition will tie into the existing home. One of the biggest problems that your designer will face is how to successfully tie the addition into the existing home so that it not only looks good but also so it functions properly as a home.
  4. Since you are adding a bathroom if you are on a septic system you will probably have to go through a septic review. This will mean comparing the existing septic system to what is required with your added square footage and extra bathroom. Depending on the age of the septic you could be looking at having to install a brand new system to get your building permit and that can be expensive.
  5. Depending on were you live you might be in a community that has design restrictions that will hamper addition design efforts.
  6. Worry more about how the addition is laid out for usability and flow for your family and less about the actual square footage. A lot of people get a number in their head for square footage instead of space uses and what will be used for what. You can end up spending a lot of money on square footage that you don't require or square footage that doesn't work well for you and your family. 
The designing and building of an addition is not something to be taken lightly. Done right and it can be hard to tell that the house ever had an addition added to it, done wrong and it can be something that can not only disrupt the flow and function of the home but actually hurt the resale value of it going forward.

Make sure that you are satisfied with the design and the layout of the addition before you approve the final drawings. If you need to take a little longer to get the drawings right then do so, its better to wait for the right drawings then to end up with something that you don't want or cannot use.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Make Your Renovation Decision Before You Call A Contractor

Before you call a contractor for anything, you and your partner should take the time and decide on what work you want and what the scope of the work should be.

All to often I am called to a potential clients home to talk about a renovation or a repair and as the conversation proceeds the job that I have been called to quote on becomes murky.

Prime example; I was once called to a potential clients home to look at a leaky roof, after measuring and talking to the clients about the issues with the roof, the proper materials to use and ways to repair or replace the roofing membrane an argument breaks out between the homeowners.

One wants not to just fix the leaky roof but to add new railings and other items, the spouse doesn't care about the railing or the leaky roof, they want to put an addition on top where the leaky roof would then be completely removed.

The argument ensued with me trying to stay out of the way until a conclusion could be negotiated.

Conclusion being that they can't reach an agreement but they want a price on both.

At that point I inform them that there is no way to give a price for an addition without any kind of plans or drawings. Also I inform them instead of pricing the repair of the roof I will wait a little while and let them settle the issue of what should be accomplished. The odds of hearing from them again on anything is usually slim.

This is not the first time that I have been called out to a potential client for a quote and what I am originally there to quote changes. This is a problem in several ways, one of the biggest ones is that when you haven't decided on a course of action you haven't decided on a budget either. That means that when I quote you for the potential work there is a more then likely scenario that you will think the quote is to expensive and not do the priced work. The reason that most people end up thinking that the quote is to expensive is because they really hadn't decided on what they wanted to do in the first place, so their not committed to having the work done and your price justified them not doing it at all.

Like most contractors we do not charge for estimates, but pricing and creating estimates does cost us money and time. That's why we try to take the time either on the phone or via email and try to gauge the overall level of commitment before we do a sight visit.

Renovation success starts before the contractor you have called arrives onsite. You should take the time and decide on what you want either remodeled or repaired. With that starting point you can then gauge your budget and the cost of the job once you have received a quote. This will ensure that the contractor isn't wasting their time and you aren't wasting your own.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Planning To Renovate A Century Farmhouse?

In the past decade a fair number of people have approached us with ideas of buying and renovating a century farmhouse that they have found in the country.

Most people want to blend the old house with a more modern feel, updating the house along the way.

What a lot of people don't realize is the extent that a century farmhouse usually requires in terms of renovations.

Most farmhouse renovations require either a complete gut of the interior or start as a small renovation and then suffer from "creep". Creep is a term we use in the renovation industry, it basically means that a renovation started in one part of the house but because of problems that are found during the renovation repairs start to spread out throughout the entire home. The more repairs that you do throughout the house the more the house ends up needing to be made over or finished.

For example: Renovating a bathroom in the house you discover that there is no insulation in the walls of the home. The home is old and is lath and plaster, after checking other parts of the house it is discovered that there is no real insulation in the walls. At this point a decision most be made to spend the money to insulate the home. There are several ways to do that but they all involve adding insulation either inside the walls of the home or outside the walls of the home. So a simple bathroom renovation has lead to an entire house insulation job. To insulate the walls also causes damage to the exterior walls that require fixing and also painting. Now the bathroom renovation is not just adding insulation throughout the home, it also requires wall repairs or drywall replacement and the entire house requires repainting. A bathroom renovation that was 10,000 has now grown to 20 to 30,000.

When you start to plan out an old farmhouse renovation you should assume that you will be renovating most or all of the house. Because of this you should set your budget accordingly. The worst thing that you can do is to have a small budget built on cutting corners to get the job finished quickly and cheaply, what this usually does is it ends up with you calling your contractor back every year to renovate another part as you realize more problems that you didn't want to fix all at once. This type of renovating does spread the cost over many years but it actually in the end costs more money. As you tie one renovation into another there is an overlap of what has already been renovated and also there is a cost for set up and clean up from your contractor.
So after 4 years and 4 separate renovations you have paid your contractor 4 times the start up and 4 times the clean up, this amount of money can actually add up when you add in the renovation overlap that occurs.

Setting your budget to fix everything that needs to be fixed and having the contractor do everything that is required in one year will actually save you money in the long run. Besides who really wants to live through 4 renovations when you really only need to live through one long one.

With old farmhouses that have good bones you will basically have to redo most of the interior, all the bathrooms and the kitchen, budget for it know and then you can live the rest of your live in a renovated home that has lots of character.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.