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Plan now, build later


Published: 07/23/2012


If you are considering having a major renovation or custom home built for you next year, now is the time to start. Planning now means you should be able to start your project by the spring.

The process begins with your initial concept of the renovation or new home. Talk to a few builders to get an idea of how much such a project might cost. You likely won't get a firm quote at this point but an experienced builder should be able to give you a rough estimate. Based on this you can decide whether or not to proceed.

If you decide that you are going to go ahead with the project, you will need proper working drawings produced by either an architect or an architectural technologist. The builders you've talked to should be able to help you with this. They may have someone in-house to do this part of the project or can recommend an independent company or individual.

The design process usually takes a least a few months. Before you schedule your initial meeting with the designer, you should arm yourself with a wish list of what you would like to see in the new home or renovation.

Create a folder or scrapbook of specifics that you would like to see. This is as simple as cutting out a bunch of pictures from various house and home magazines. In this way, the designer will be able to get a feeling of your tastes and the type of house or renovation that you desire.

The wish list should include the types and number of rooms and any specifics that you would like to see. These could include things such as skylights, corner tubs, main-floor or second-floor laundry, laundry chute, finished basement, types of railing and stair configurations, wood-burning or gas fireplace, hardwood flooring or carpet, or a cathedral-ceiling family room.

The time that the design process takes is usually dictated by how long it takes to finalize the details of what you're looking for. Once the designer has had a chance to look over your wish list file and come up with a plan, it's up to you to sit down and review the design in a timely fashion. Decide on any changes that you would like and reschedule an appointment with the designer.

Remember that as the homeowner, you have a responsibility to ensure an organized and timely finish to your project by working with the designer on this part of the project. The longer you wait to get your changes to the designer, the longer the whole project will take.


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