Want that remodeling project finished by Memorial Day? Better start planning now.

Posted Feb. 19, 2015 Building Advice.

Many Cape Cod homeowners like to plan building or remodeling projects over the winter while they have some free time. Exploring design ideas and inspiration at places like Houzz or Pinterest is great, but make sure you're also planning a timeline for your project.

Start with the end in mind.

Knowing your end goal will help you and your contractor plan backwards from there. For example, we often are asked to have a project completed by a certain date, such as Memorial Day. (After all, you want to enjoy Cape Cod in the summer time, not have your home be a construction zone.) With this in mind, we can plan our schedule accordingly and make sure we're staying on track.

Be realistic.

We've had occasionally to tell clients that we simply can't meet their deadline. Projects take time to do properly, and there can be many dependencies such as obtaining permits, getting any special order products. Keep in mind that you will have this investment for the next 30 years or more, so it's worth the wait. Rushing through it now will only lead to problems and unmet expectations.

Ask your contractor the right questions.

It's easy for a builder to say "sure we can get it done." But actually delivering projects on time and on budget is what really matters. Ask your builder about similar projects they've done and references from past clients. Do your homework now and choose the right builder to ensure a successful project.

Some important questions that you can ask:

  • Are you fully licensed and insured?
  • Who will be doing the actual work, your employees or subcontractors?
  • Do you have references from past clients? 
  • Can I see examples of your work?  

Know what you're getting into.

Is you project a flat-fee or cost plus? Are you responsible for obtaining permits or is your builder? Will you be picking out things like hardware, appliances, fixtures, etc? Knowing who's responsible for what will save you a lot of headaches and misunderstandings. And make sure you get it in writing: a written contract can save you and your builder a game of "he said / she said."

Remember to have fun.

Sure, remodeling projects can be stressful. But they can also be a lot of fun. Choosing paint colors, hardware, fixtures: these are all opportunities to create a space that reflects your personality and that you can enjoy for years to come.  So have fun doing it!