So you want to remodel your home?

As we continue to see sings of the economy recovering such as the unemployment rate beginning to slowly drop, real estate values leveling off, and sale activity slowly beginning to return, some of you may be thinking… “Hey maybe we should do that remodeling we had been thinking about.” Well I say, go for it! Of course I am biased, after all I make my living as an Architect. But all kidding aside, if you have the financial means, income stability, incredible intestinal fortitude and the patience of a Tibetan monk, you should seriously consider your dream remodeling project.

Interest rates are at all time low, cost of construction is just starting to creep back up but still historically low and building departments are not backlogged with tons of applications. The smart savvy home- owner would be wise to take advantage of a good thing while it lasts.

Some things to consider: 1. Budget 2. What is your goal (be realistic) 3. Did I mention budget already? Too often home- owners over-reach and plan on building more than they need and ultimately more than they can afford. My advice, set a budget and work your way backwards. And yes always be conservative with your calculations. I had an old boss that used to say the most accurate way to estimate the cost of a project was to figure out a number, multiply that by two, add 20% on top and pray for the best. But with good solid planning and realistic goals your remodeling project can be a success.

Next thing is, be flexible. This is not say flexibility implies “changes” but instead be ready to accept and respond to changes. All projects no matter how well planned will experience some changes. How well you plan can of course help limit those potential “changes” to minor ones. However no project has ever been completed without a “change”. After all this aint no Swiss watch were building here.

And finally get a good solid team you feel comfortable with. I personally have always preferred the design build approach. Maybe it is my years working on the job site wearing the hard hat and swinging a hammer. I have always found great success in my practice and for my clients in working very closely as a team with General Contractors that I have a history and good working relationship with. It is like in any business your track record speaks for itself.

So do your homework, ask your local chamber of commerce about professionals in your area, drive around and see who’s sign is up at construction sites in your neighborhood. And best of all ask friends who they recommend. This business is almost exclusively a word of mouth referral business. You can also contact the local AIA offices in your region to get a list of practicing Architects in your area.

Next time we will cover “How to train your Architect.”

For information, email Hector C. Fernandez at or call 786-315-6764

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