DETERMINE A PRELIMINARY BUDGET
Be conservative: The final cost will be at least 10 or 15 percent higher than expected.
CHOOSE THE TYPES OF DESIGN, DETAILS, MATERIALS AND FINISHES YOU`D LIKE TO USE
Scour magazines and compile a folder of stuff you like; visit showrooms.
PLAN ALTERNATIVE LIVING ARRANGEMENTS
With renovations, consider living/working elsewhere; if this is impossible or the job is small, try to confine yourself to a manageable part of the building.
SELECT AN ARCHITECT
Ask about the fee-it should not be more than 10 to 15 percent of the job cost, including building department filing and engineering.
DEVELOP SCHEMATIC DESIGNS AND GENERAL SCOPES OF WORK WITH YOUR ARCHITECT
Keep your desires in mind, but remain open to new ideas-as long as they´re within your budget.
APPROVED DETAILED PLANS AND PROJECT SPECS. LET YOUR ARCHITECT SEND THEM OUT TO BID
Make sure you understand what the final plans and specs include; seek at least three bids from contractors recommended by your architect by your architect or experienced friends.
REVIEW BIDS FOR THE PRICE AND THE ITEMS INCLUDED
Interview every contractor before deciding, and work with the contractors to reduce the price if it is over your budget. Be skeptical of any contractor who lowers a bid by more than five percent without reducing the scope of work.
ACCEPT A BID AN CHOOSE A CONTRACTOR
Meet with the finalist and make sure you see things eye-to-eye.
SIGN A CONTRACT. ISSUE A DEPOSIT
First, have your architect review documents carefully to ensure that all desired work is included; then issue a deposit based on the advice of your architect -it shouldn´t exceed 30 percent of the total job cost.
APPLY FOR PERMITS
Let your contractor handle this; he or she know the ropes and will get it done ten times faster than you will.
LET THE DEMOLITION BEGIN
Explore the amazing changes taking place, to be sure to wear a dusk mask in work areas. Remember that this is the quick and easy part-you´ll never see this much progress in such a short time again.
GET SET FOR CONSTRUCTION… AND CONSTRUCTION AND CONSTRUCTION
Be patient, but don’t be a sucker: Request a detailed project schedule at the start of the job, and make sure that everybody is sticking to it throughout. Arrange weekly site meetings with your architect and contractor, and if things are falling behind, demand a plan to catching up.
A payment schedule will be outlined in the contract and based on the percentage of work completed; depend on your architect to approve any payments before you issue them; retain enough money at every stage so that you could finish the job with another company if you had to.
KEEP A PUNCH LIST
Maintain a running tally of items completed-and not completed.
DO A WALK-THROUGH
When the work is almost finished, walk through the job with your architect and make a thorough and final punch list of any items that are outstanding; give yourself at least a few hours to do this.
MAKE THE FINAL PAYMENT
Do not issue it until you are completely satisfied that all the work agreed upon has been done tp your approval.