Starting basement remodel process-Help with some q's please!

vdinliMarch 18, 2011

We are starting to get estimates for our basement remodel. As this is our first remodel, we are still learning things as we go. After reading many posts here, this is what I think the process should be like:-

Make a floor plan and list of requirements.

Ask for referrals, look up ratings, select contractors

Interview them on a common list of questions on their prior experience, current standing, payment schedule, references etc.

Get rough estimates.

Choose one(or more?) contractors who satisfy our requirements.

Come up with detailed plans-for flooring, electrical, plumbing, appliances, heating.

Ask for detailed line by line Bid

Compare bids and pick one.

Sign contract with line by line price.

Get plans approved by town.

Start handing over checks.

Am I missing something till we get to this stage? I know the important part of overseeing the work and communicating any changes will follow with the work.

Does anyone have a list of questions to ask the GC at first meeting handy? Are there model bid forms and contract forms that I can look at to get an idea?

From what I understand in this area, home owners just go by what the GC says. I, unfortunately am the type who will research every little bit of work. I don't want to be anal about it and get in their way but at the same time, I also want make sure the contractors are doing what is right. How do I balance this? Having everything in writing beforehand?

Do you wait till you pick a GC and find the store he likes to go to before ordering fixtures( We are talking of mainly bathroom fixtures-shower, toilet, vanity, faucets etc).

We haven't yet decided on the exact style and colors for the tile. By when do you have to have the choices factored in? by the bid stage? As I am sure the numbers can vary quite a bit on what we choose.

Any other suggestions for us?

Sorry this is so long

Thanks in advance

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You need to pick a budget number that you expect to spend and then do a little research on what that number might be able to get you in your area. Don't be shocked if it gets you MUCH less than you expect. Your scope of work is most limited by that budget. Pretty much no one has an unlimited budget and there are needs, wants, and like to haves in every project. So you need to priortize the items you hope to accomplish using need, want, and like to have.

Plumbing and electrical are needs and are usually the most expensive of the labor. They're the most hidden by the final finish work that homeowners over emphasize. But the hidden stuff is actually more important than the surface finishes. Surface finishes can be upgraded later. Decide you want to spend your money on the permanant unchangeable and invisible needs of the remodel as a priority. Those are the things that can cost you twice if you have to reopen walls later to add them.

One example of a now/later choice is your bathroom. If there is no existing roughout for that bathroom, the plumbing to be able to create that bathroom is going to be pretty spendy. So installing a $100 big box toilet now can help you with meeting your budget. And you can replace that with a $700 specialty toilet at a later point.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 1:23PM
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Thanks, live_wire_oak! I think we have a rough idea as to what it will cost-hopefully we won't be too surprised by the estimates.
We are definitely finding out what our wants and needs are-over the weekend we visited a high-end plumbing supply company and I almost fell down looking at the prices of some of the items! I am sure I am going to be doing a lot of internet hunting.
Any other suggestions?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 7:27PM
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