How to Avoid Renovation Mistakes: Part 2
Our second pitfall is having unrealistic expectations. Let’s say you’ve avoided the first mistake, made the right decision, and you’re working with an architect. Now you have in front of you a design that you absolutely love. So, you do the wise thing in this market and you ask several qualified contractors to bid your project. You get the bids back and they’re no where close to what you can afford to spend. Now, you’ve spent a significant amount of money designing your home, completing the construction drawings and you can’t afford to build it. You’re worse off than when you started.
So how do you avoid this mistake?
Do some research, find out what your type of project will cost, and set a budget you can live with. Because a design you love but can’t afford will not improve your quality of life.
The first thing you need to do is estimate your construction cost by multiplying the square footage of your addition or renovation times the average construction square foot cost. Right now construction costs can be in the range of $150 – $250 / sq. f.t., with costs varying based on the type of renovation you’re doing. Kitchen remodels tends to be at the higher end of the scale with bedroom and living room space being much cheaper.
The second step is to have a realtor estimate what your home’s value would be after your addition or renovation to see how much you should spend. If you plan to live in your home for a significant amount of time, then this is less of an issue. In fact, if you are finding it difficult to sell your home, renovating may be a better option than moving.
There are three spheres that constrain the design of any project. Your budget, size, and quality of finish. Each one will influence the design. If you have a ridged budget and your estimates come in higher than what you want to spend, you’ll have to compromise in either of the other two spheres: reduce square footage or lower the quality of your finishes. An architect or designer has no control over the construction cost of your project. They can only work with the three spheres of influence to develop a project that will best fit your goals.
We have had some clients who have had a ridged budget, were unwilling to reduce square footage, and didn’t want to skimp on the quality of finishes. It’s like my daughter who is going to prom and looking for dresses. She wants this very stylish dress with sequins and beads but can only spend a certain amount of money. She can’t have it both ways. Either she will have to spend more money or look at another style of dress.
So how do you avoid being disappointed by how much your project will cost? Set a realistic budget, know what sphere you are willing to compromise: your budget, square footage, or finishes, and communicate that to your architect.
Keep checking our blog for the next installment in this series where we discuss our third pitfall having unintended consequences.