It’s difficult to manage a renovation project. That’s why I keep a construction Blog. this blog helps stimulate your thinking, facilitate action and most importantly, it helps you coordinate and manage contractors. It becomes a quick reference to past actions and aids in decision-making moving forward. It can also be a valuable tool in dealing with contractor’s disputes. People often share their contractor horror stories with me and ask how they can Deal with them. The problem is they often have very little experience. A good construction contract is critical and I recommend you do your research before signing whatever a contractor puts in front of you. Even with a good contract, you need to stay engaged in the process. A blog can help, but it does not replace the need for official documentation, such as change orders and contract modifications. Keeping my blog simple. All you need is a notebook dedicated to the project. Start making notes as you go. The bog should be a quick reference guide. You can keep a more detailed blogs if you’d like, but make sure the key points are highlighted so you can reference those quickly.
It’s easy to become complacent. You pay the contractor and work begins. Things go well at first, but time moves quickly, and before you know it, you’re entering week six of a four-week project, it’s only half done and you’re trying to figure out what went wrong. Assuming your contractor is reputable, one of the biggest conflicts is misunderstandings. I don’t know how many times I believe one thing and the contractor believes another. Then I struggle to decide the fair course of action, because if the contractor is right, I don’t want to create resentment or an adversarial relationship for the rest of the project and I also don’t want to loose a good contractor. Keeping this blog has really help you. If things go badly, it can be useful of Renovation work with Contractors, especially shady contractors, are good at complicating the issue or adding doubt in your mind. They blame delays and increased costs on the weather, additional work, inspectors and the client. You may be shocked to receive some extra amount in change orders at the final accounting. This is impossible to unravel six weeks down the road. It’s best to note things as they happen and share milestones and your understanding of them with the contractor.
Here are some key points:
Major milestones: Note when major contract or construction milestones are achieved, such as demolition, framing and drywall.
Subcontractor work schedule: Your contract will probably be with a general contractor, and you may have little or no dealings with the subcontractors. General contractors often blame delays and costs on subcontractors, and they’re often right. If the framing is done but the electrician doesn’t show up until a week later, make sure you document it. Address it with the general contractor, and note the reasoning at the time.
Change orders: Any change orders must be in writing and signed by all parties before work begins. Put change orders in your journal. There have been times where I was just kicking around ideas and the contractor thought that was the go-ahead. Make a note in your journal when you have conversations with your contractor about changes, and always send an email about your understanding of those conversations later. Set reminders for yourself when decisions need to be made. Otherwise you could create a delay, which would be your fault.
Delays: I strongly recommend putting delay penalties in your contract. I don’t make them tight. If the contractor needs four weeks, I will probably give six weeks before the penalties kick in. My contract states that a contractor must provide me written notice of a delay and the reason for it within three days. Too often you’re at the end of a project that is a month overdue and the contractor cites all those excuses I mentioned above. Document the delays in writing, and at the very least, note them in your journal. You will forget them — or at least the details of them — within a week or so.
Contractor work schedule: If your contractor only shows up half the time and your project takes twice as long as scheduled, you need to document it. Without it, I guarantee contractors will blame the delays on everything but themselves.
Progress reports: I typically check on a project a couple of times per week, at most. I write down the status of the project at each of my visits, such as “framing is 50 percent complete.” I’ll note if I didn’t see much progress from my last visit. I take photos once a week, which I keep on my phone and note in my journal. If you are concerned about the lack of progress, compare it against the written schedule in the contract. If there is an issue, raise it immediately with the contractor in an email and mention the email in your journal.son crew but only one person shows ups, note that as well. If you can’t be on site every day, at least note progress, or lack thereof, in your journal.
Payment: I put a detailed payment schedule in my contract, but it almost always changes. Contractors often need funds right away. It’s a tough business for cash flow. Make sure you note in your journal exactly when you paid and what you paid for. Your journal will be a good reference to help you figure out a fair amount to pay. The last thing you want to do is pay too far ahead of progress.
Delivery of materials: If you are responsible for purchasing materials, make sure you note when they were delivered or if they were not delivered on time.
Conversations with contractor: If you have a detailed discussion with the contractor, make sure you note the date, location and details of the conversation in your journal. As a follow-up, send the contractor an email detailing your understanding of the conversation. Make sure the contractor’s understanding matches yours. Misunderstandings are a major source of aggravation and conflict. My journal has peacefully resolved a couple of misunderstandings between myself and the contractor. Contractors are busy, too. If you show them your notes, that might be enough to settle a dispute.
Many contractors spend all day on site, possibly multiple sites. Their documentation and accounting can often be lacking. If you rely on the contractor’s documentation, then be prepared to take what you get. A good journal will not guarantee you will have a good experience or a solid lawsuit if things go wrong, but it will help you better understand and manage the project with confidence.
Like everyone else, you’ve been spending lot of time at home during the past several weeks. And you’ve probably become more acquainted with all the flaws in your home Like the outdated kitchen cabinets, the frayed carpeting in the family room that needs to be replaced by hardwood, the spare bedroom that needs to be converted into a dedicated office. Maybe the thought of a renovation has crossed your mind. But this couldn’t possibly be the right time for one, could it? Well, it depends.
Amid the corona Virus pandemic, home construction — including remodeling & renovation — had been deemed an essential business under the original stay-at-home orders in the District, Maryland and Virginia. But whether a specific project is considered appropriate is a matter largely determined by homeowners and contractors.
Not surprisingly, home construction and renovation activity nationwide has fallen significantly since the covid-19 outbreak, according to the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, and is not expected to recover until well into 2021. The slump in activity may work to your advantage, experts say. Because work has dried up, some contractors may be more willing to give you a better deal on the pricing than they would have several months ago when demand for their services was high.
If you opt to wait until the pandemic eases, experts say, you can still use this downtime to plan your project and get on your contractor’s radar.
If you have a four to five month timeline, you can talk to friends on who they used and look at Angie’s List reviews on their performance,” said Kermit Baker, project director at the Harvard remodeling program. “You can do your due diligence as you prepare to get the project ready.”
Once you decide on what work needs to be done and when to do it, be sure to put your order in right away. “If you wait until September to place your order, [contractors will] have five months of orders in front of you.
Here are some other factors you can consider ahead of time during this lull:
Budgeting and Financing in Renovation Work
Probably the best thing you can do is not get too caught up in the aesthetics but to invest considerable time concentrating on the logistics.
“Every home improvement and renovation project will cost more than you think it will and will take more time than you planned,” Bob Harkson, chief financial planner at Phase 2 Wealth Advisors in Gig Harbor, Wash., told The Post in May 2019. Harkson said the biggest problem he sees with his financial-planning clients is that they haven’t budgeted enough.
The tricky thing about home improvement is maximizing your return on investment. You want to spend money that will yield a return when you sell your home, but not overspend way beyond what a buyer would be willing to pay you. So how do you find the sweet spot?
Experts say that kitchen and bathroom renovations are among the projects that provide homeowners the best yields. According to Remodeling magazine, kitchens recouped 62.1 percent and bathrooms 67.2 percent. Others include: 70.8 percent for windows; 75.6 percent for siding; 68.2 percent for roof; and 75.6 percent for deck. Dan DiClerico, a smart-home expert for HomeAdvisor, a New York-based home improvement platform, offered this rule of thumb: “You should spend about 5 to 15 percent of your home value on kitchen renovation,” DiClerico told The Post in May 2019. “So, if your home is worth $300,000, you should spend $15,000 to $45,000 on the kitchen. A bathroom renovation should cost about 3 to 7 percent of your home value.”
If you’re into analytics, Home Advisor’s State of Home Spending offers data and charts to help you determine whether your budget is in line with what other homeowners pursuing similar projects paid. Another useful source is the Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, which offers searchable databases to compare renovation costs by Zip code.
“The more thorough you are in the planning stages, the more likely you are to come in on budget for your project,” DiClerico said.
A major component of planning involves accounting for surprises. Sonu Mittal, head of retail mortgage lending for Citizens Bank in Plano, Tex., said you should budget an extra 10 percent for unforeseen expenses.
So how do you pay for a home improvement project? There is no shortage of methods. Here are a few:
Before embarking on a major renovation, you should take some time to determine the best approach given your budget, timeline, patience and willingness and ability to do some of the work yourself. Here are seven methods:
- Design-build firm: These firms, which include designers and architects, can manage the project from beginning to end and oversee all the subcontractors. The downside is that they can be costly.
- Kitchen designer: These firms specialize in kitchens and can often provide a more custom look for your project.
- General contractor: A general contractor is best for people who know what they want but need someone to manage the project. Because of their relationships with vendors, general contractors often can get discounts on supplies.
- Specialty kitchen store: These retailers offer discounts on kitchen components and fixtures and custom services.
- High-end design firm: This is for homeowners who want the best of the best, and don’t mind paying for it.
- Big-box store: Stores such as Home Depot and Ikea can often get special discounts on labor and can generally offer their services at prices lower than general contractors.
- DIY: For people who would like to save a ton of money, but are also handy.
If you’re pursuing a bathroom renovation, for example, keep in mind that 50 to 75 percent of the project’s cost will be labor. So it’s important to educate yourself on how to negotiate labor costs or hire a contractor who can do so.
If you’re looking to start off small to get your feet wet, indoslab offers some suggestions on lower-cost construction and renovation projects that can give you a bigger bang for your buck. For instance, indoslab says spending $3,000 on outdoor “curb appeal” projects such as paint and landscaping can yield $3,500 when selling.
indoslab also recommends that when renovating to sell that you try to incorporate the latest design trends into your home.
When trying to prioritize limited Budget, Indoslab recommends that you simply ignore the basement. Basement projects, according to Indoslab, yield only 50 cents on the dollar even when a bathroom is added.
Justin Pierce, a real estate investor and real estate agent, suggests that homeowners opting to manage their own projects should use a construction journal to stay on top of the project and to give them a record with contractors when something goes awry.
Pierce said the journal should include: the start date, major milestones, inspection dates, subcontractor work schedule and change orders.