by Matt Goering of HomeAdvisor.com
Home addition estimates are tricky business. Truth be told, there are too many variables involved in a major remodeling project or room addition for any contractor to provide a specific square foot price ahead of time, and all free estimates should be considered just that: estimates. Not only must your contractor consider structural aspects, such as load-bearing walls, location of plumbing and wiring, and possible changes to the roof line, but estimating home remodeling costs also depends on what kind of materials you want: custom or pre-manufactured cabinets? Carpet, hardwood, or laminate floors? A whirlpool tub or an economy model? Contractors may be able to give you a ballpark bid based on what you think you want, but no one can give you a firm bid without working from a specific set of plans and specifications.
Talk to the Pros for Quality Home Addition Estimates
If you decide that you’d like something more precise than a general estimate, consider hiring a building designer, residential designer, or architect who specializes in residential remodels/additions to draw up plans for you. These specialists are trained to discuss your priorities and budget and to develop a detailed plan for your project that includes a detailed list of specifications and the materials you want (by brand name and model number if possible). They will also contact other professionals, such as structural engineers and subcontractors, as needed, to draw up plans that will meet building codes, and to figure out ahead of time which building permits are going to be necessary to obtain.
With Home Addition Estimates, Nothing Is Set in Stone
Even if you pay for design specifications up front, prepare to be flexible when it comes to the final cost of your addition. Estimating remodeling costs can never account for the unexpected, and the unexpected is the rule, not the exception, when it comes to major addition or remodeling projects. That being the case, it’s also a good idea to get at least three bids on your project from different contractors based on the plans you have drawn up. Talking to more than one contractor allows you to compare costs and services, and to weed out home addition estimates that are far higher, or lower, than the competition.
Don’t Take Their Word for It When Estimating Remodeling Costs
Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few contractors that you feel you can trust, and who claim they can keep your home addition project in line with your home addition estimates, it’s time to do a little extra homework. Ask for references and always check them! The only true way to evaluate a contractor’s work, trustworthiness, and ability to complete the job in a timely manner, is to talk with customers who have worked with them in the past. If your contractor shies away from providing you with current references, or if the references are hesitant to rubber stamp the contractor’s work, move on to another professional. Only someone who has proven themselves in the past is worth trusting with a project as big as a large scale home addition or remodel.