I want to build a home, where do I start?

There are a few things that you would need to get together before you can even begin meeting with a contractor to start building your home.

First: you need to get in touch with your bank to see how much of a loan you can qualify for to build this new home.

Second: you need to get in touch with your realtor to find and purchase the land you want to build your home on. (If you already own the land you are 1 step ahead of the game).

Third: once you have the amount of money you qualify for, you need to determine your budget, do you want to have it be all that you qualify for or do you want to shoot for less than that.

Fourth: once you know your budget and have the land, meet with a designer to design the home you want that fits your budget. It would be a good idea to interview a few designers so you can pick the one that you feel you can best work with.

Lastly: once you have some general plans for your home, start interviewing some contractors. Again you want to pick one that you feel you can work the best with to build your dream home.

I am looking to remodel my home and I have a limited budget to work with…is it a good idea to share this number with my contractor?

From a contractor’s point of view, when the client is up front and honest with us it is much easier and it makes the entire process that much smoother. When we understand your budget from the beginning we take that into consideration and make recommendations to leave room for any unforeseen circumstances, changes to plans, etc.

Should any and all work I do with a contractor have a contract?

Yes. A contractor (or any professional) can offer you anything and everything and may only deliver a portion of that. There isn’t much you can do about it without a written agreement or contract. A contract helps both you, the customer, and the contractor understand what work is going to be completed and the conditions it will be completed in. Each contract should indicate the anticipated time frame, general materials needed to complete the job, cost, time needed, a ‘time and materials’ contract should be a project become more involved than first thought, and a termination clause. The contract should be signed by both contractor and customer before any work begins.

What kind of information should I receive from my contractor before starting my project?

First: What the schedule is, having a schedule that outlines the tasks and timing will give you an overall picture of the sequence of events and any deadlines (delivery of products, etc). It’s advised that you don’t start without a schedule that tells you what days and times workers will be on site.

Second: You should have a general idea of who will be at your house during each day. There may be just the crew from your contractor or possibly subs that are there. It is good to know who is going to be in and out of your house when.

Third: You should talk with your contractor on how they plan to ‘protect’ your property. This conversation is best to have prior to any demolition taking place. If they are going to be doing your kitchen, how are they going to contain the dust and debris, etc. Also what things of yours need to be moved, it is best for you to move it out of the way prior to any work being done as well.

Lastly: It is best to come to an understanding up front in regards to communication. How information about your project will be communicated to you. You may have a way that is preferred and your contractor may like that way and may not. Having the conversation up front about the most effective way to communicate with you will save you and your contractor a lot of hassle and frustration. Communication is key in case there is a change order, a decision needs to be made, a questions needs to be answered, an emergency/mishap happens during off hours, etc.

?I want to remodel my home and be the general contractor for the project to save some money, what are things I need to know?

Yes, being your own general could potentially save you money, but the main thing you need to understand is that being the general contractor is no an easy job. Being the general on a project is a full time job. Being the general contractor means that you are the boss of the entire project, you are responsible. When you hire out a general contract in definition this is what you are to receive.

A general contractor – is responsible for providing all of the material, labor, equipment (such as engineering, vehicles and tools) and services necessary for the construction of the project. The general contractor hires specialized subcontractors to perform all or portions of the construction work.

Things general contractors are responsible for….

  • A general contractor is responsible for all safety standards and the following of all safety procedures on the site
  • A general contractor is responsible for all budgeting, bill payment, sub contractor payment and change orders.
  • A general contractor is to make sure that all appropriate inspections by building officials are completed and approved.
  • A general contractor is responsible for quality of work and materials that are used by their sub contractors.
  • A general contractor is responsible for creating and adhering to a schedule weather, client and sub contractor permitting.
  • A general contractor is responsible for all warranties that need repairs after the projects has been completed.
  • A general contractor must be properly insured against any loss or damage that could occur.
  • A general contractor is responsible for getting and keeping any appropriate licensing or accreditation that is required to construct the building project. For example; to build new homes you have to be a licensed new home builder in certain parts of North America.

If you decide to take this on for yourself, please research and understand what you are doing before you “sign on the dotted line” so to speak. Remember, you would be getting all the necessary materials and equipment for the job. You would be organizing the day to day activities and hiring all of the subcontractors to do the work they would need to do (contractors, electricians, plumbers, etc).  You would be scheduling everyones time for when they need to be on the job, when their work needs to be complete for another person to start their tasks, etc.

Being a general contractor may sound like a great way to save,  but in the end it could also end up costing you a lot of time and money.