How Much Does Remodeling Cost?

How Much Does Remodeling Cost?

Over the last 15 year of general contracting I have heard countless horror stories from home owners.  I once met a customer whose master bathroom remodel lasted 10 months and was still incomplete.  For those who have never remodeled before, that is 10+ months of master bedroom invasion!  Personally, I enjoy the private solitude of my master bedroom and bath.  But it is not just the privacy that is an issue here.  10+ months of remodeling means 10+ months of constant dust invading your space.  It is 10+ months of constant strangers too since most general contractors will be hiring trades and subcontractors to complete portions of the work.  10+ months for this type of project will probably result in voided warranties too because no construction business can stay in business when it takes that long to complete simple projects.  10+ months also leads to backbiting and fights as the crews, subcontractors and trades are not paid.  Those people approached the homeowner of this story for payment with the threat of placing a lien on the house all because of the incompetency of the general contractor!  The homeowner paid those workers on top of what was paid the general contractor.  What makes this story even worse is that the homeowner began to make compromises on quality throughout the project just to get the general contractor out of the house. 

What’s the moral of this story?  The cost of remodeling goes beyond an estimate thrown at the homeowner after a 1 hour consultation.  Even if you collect multiple estimates from incompetent contractors, none of those estimates may be right.  Price shopping for a general contractor is risky and the cost can far outweigh the reward of the finished product.  This does not downplay the importance of cost, but it should put it in better perspective.

Why is price important?  There are two reasons price is import.  First, the homeowner needs to know if he or she can afford the project.  Second, price prioritizes everything.  It sets the budget for the project.  Adjustments are made to the project based on the budget. 

Why is pricing out a project tricky for homeowners?  Unlike buying a car, there are no set prices for construction.  Each business prices out a job based on its ability to perform the work and the cost of materials.  Materials are like comparing the cost of a Honda Civic versus a BMW 7 series.  You will shop both cars depending on the degree of luxury you desire.  Materials are the luxury in the remodeling process.  You can go up or down in cost with materials depending on how luxurious you want your project to be.  However, at the end of the car buying day, everyone wants to go home in a car that works!  This is non-negotiable.  Having a project work depends on the workers and their ability to get the job done as planned and on time.  You can compromise on the luxury of materials, but compromising on the work for a project is like buying a broken car.  It will cost you more than you planned to spend and will not get you where you want to go. 

Hire a general contractor with experience to build your project and references to back up that experience.  The experienced contractor will help you price out your project correctly and make sure you get what you want in a timely manner without the horror story.