The Real Estate Browser Volume 10, Issue 4 | Page 10

10 — Say you saw it in The Real Estate Browser of Lynchburg — Volume 10 Number 4 Tips for Smooth Renovation By Drew Howard , President, HomePro, Inc. Planning is the key to any successful proj- ect. You also have to hire the right person for the job. I have performed hundreds of renovation projects, and it never fails that when it is all complete I wish I had done 1 thing different, or added 1 more upgrade. I always start with pen and paper in hand. I brainstorm ideas for several days. I write out the projected job cost, and estimated time of completion for each phase. I then categorize when each subcontractor will be brought into the job. After I have gotten all my thoughts, cost, and time frame on paper I start making calls to subcontractors. In most cases you will want to hire a General Contractor (GC) to complete your project. The GC should be licensed with the state of Virginia. There are 3 license classifications; A, B, and C. Class A contractors can perform any job. Class B are limited to jobs that do not exceed $120,000.00 in cost and Class C is under $10,000.00. In the Commonwealth of Virginia it is against the law for a contractor to ask for money up front. There are specialty items like kitchen cabinets that are allowed for money up front. Never give a contractor money up front to start a project. Always work with a written contract that spells out the work to be com- pleted, items that are to be purchased, and time of job from start to finish to include job clean up. If you are doing a construction loan you will want to set up a draw payment sched- ule. Most jobs should be complete within 6 months, and typically 3 to 5 draws will handle any job. If you are not using a loan, I always recommend hiring a third party to perform draw inspections to estimate the percentage of work that has been completed for each draw. This can also help make sure that both parties are satisfied with the quality, and time of work being performed. I recommend with any job establishing a contingency reserve to cover change orders, material overages, and hidden unknowns. The rule is 10-20% of the total cost. I like to use 15% for the renovations I perform. Last make sure your GC obtains all the proper permits for the job. Roofs, windows, siding, and changing a like system for a new like system do not require permits. Most all electrical, plumbing, moving, removing, or adding walls do require a permit. Also, retaining walls over 3 feet in height. It is best to let the GC hire all subs, and pay them. That way there are no surprise liens placed on the property. If you are about to remodel your kitchen, bathroom, or gut your house I hope you find my years of experience help- ful to you. If you have any questions or want to hire an independent 3rd party consultant for your next project give me a call. Drew Howard 434-660-3449