Getting the Best Value for Your Remodel
Whether you’re remodeling your home for comfort or to increase the value, homeowners know that a well-done remodel can bring both pleasure and a good return on investment.
Remodeling is, however, a big step for many homeowners. Getting the best value for your remodel shouldn’t come from guesswork; instead, knowing how to find a remodeling company with a solid reputation and one that delivers quality work throughout the entire remodeling process requires research.
How to get the best remodel for your dollar? Make sure the company that is doing the remodel asks the right questions, does its homework, and offers full-service design and remodeling under one roof.
Does the remodeling company offer a written contract based on your remodeling needs? Steve Walton, Senior Design Consultant for Marrokal Design and Remodeling, San Diego, California helps clients sort through what can be a complicated process to get the best value remodel that meets all his clients’ needs.
“When I meet with clients, I have them describe their ideas for the remodeling project. I take a lot of notes,” says Walton. The design consultant then sets another meeting at Marrokal’s Design and Remodeling center. Prior to this meeting Walton has already done his homework and researched any likely obstacles for the remodel. Some companies take on a project and later discover remodeling barriers.
“I get your set-backs, zoning conditions, and height conditions and try to see if there are any issues. That way when we meet at our design center we can start looking at the architectural process,” says Walton.
The full-service home-design remodel company offers homeowners one-stop shopping for their remodeling needs. “I develop a written program based on what my clients’ needs and goals are for their remodel,” says Walton. He adds, “Throughout this I am digging deep and finding out what’s important to my clients. A lot of companies don’t ask these questions but this is how Marrokal Design and Remodeling starts to develop a preliminary budget for our clients.”
The company also uses value engineering to design the remodel with clients’ budget needs and requested items in mind. “Value engineering” means refining and sometimes redesigning aspects of the remodel to make it more cost-effective.
Why a full-service remodeling company? This is perhaps one of the most significant points when choosing a remodeling firm. A full-service company keeps your remodeling project running smoothly by coordinating all of the necessary design, construction developments, and communication with trade companies through one primary source (removing the unnecessary hassle of trying to get numerous trade companies to work together). “When people are first looking into a remodeling project, money tends to be the number one factor but, when the work is finished, the money factor actually drops to six or seven on the list,” says Walton. He says what ends up being more important is the fact that the homeowner hired a remodeling company that provided a complete understanding of the entire remodeling process, and oversaw the project from the design phase to the building of it—leaving the homeowner with just one primary company to work with during the remodel.
If a company offers free design, you’ll likely get what you pay for. If a company is offering “free design” it’s likely that the design fees are somewhere hidden in the overall cost.
“The design can make or break the project,” says Walton. It’s the least amount of the cost of the overall project but it’s highly critical to the success of your remodel. “With our process we’re going to talk to homeowners about what furniture is sentimental and how it will fit in the remodel, sun orientation, views, traffic patterns and flow, and our clients’ lifestyle—this is how we build the project. We don’t build it from a, ‘Oh, I want to add an 8 x 10 room.’ Instead I find out how my clients live and what they’re all about and then the project is designed based on those answers.”
Does the remodeling company offer several design options to help you stay within your budget? “You have to be open to a certain budget range that you’re comfortable in and then you should really spend time up front reviewing a lot of different designs so that you don’t get locked into one design at one price point. That happens a lot. People will hire an architectural firm and they’ll end up going through weeks and weeks of planning or drawing. They’ll get a set of plans down to the point where they can then send it out for bids and then usually they find out that they’re over budget.”
Marrokal Design and Remodeling creates options that are best suited to its clients based on customers’ desired remodeling needs.
“The first meeting we have with the clients gives them specific costs for, say, six different concepts. That gives homeowners the freedom to choose based on their financial comfort level and design needs. It’s a huge difference from the architect drawing the plans, then the homeowner having to get bids on the project. This is why we’re so successful because we give clients the flexibility to choose the design and project that creates the best value remodel,” says Walton.
Look for low change order percentage. Change orders are orders that call for a deviation from the prior written remodel orders. Change orders can be generated because of code changes, unforeseen conditions, or homeowners wanting to add or change the remodel project. “Marrokal Design and Remodeling averages about five percent change order history; nationally it’s 25 percent,” says Walton.
A company with a low change order rate likely indicates it is taking the necessary time in the design and research phases to ensure that the project meets the clients’ needs and all code requirements.