Thursday, October 29, 2009

Remodeling or Building? The Time May Be Now.


It might not be a newsflash, but the construction industry is slow, and the Wall Street Journal points out that you might be able to get more for your renovation or construction dollar now.

The article includes some good tips for saving money on your renovation or build. While most of these ideas will save you money in any market, the current climate may yield especially low prices and high values:

  1. Get multiple bids
  2. Don't select on price alone, check with the Better Business Bureau and references, and be wary of bids that are "too low."
  3. Confirm that the builder has experience with your project type, i.e. compared to new construction, renovation is a different animal
  4. Ask for a discount, but be prepared for a "no"
  5. Apply for available tax credits, especially for energy efficient improvements

Be aware that the biggest hurdle your project will face in the current economy is financing. Determining a realistic budget upfront is paramount.

Despite the slowdown, the best designers and builders may not be discounting prices much or at all. This does not mean you are not getting a value from them at this time; think: exceptional quality and attention. During the boom, a firm might have tackled a dozen (or more) jobs at once, but now they may only have a couple. This means, when you call or ask questions, you will be heard.

If you are unsure of the steps you need to take, the best place to start might be to speak to an architect or designer. Their network and connections should help you navigate your project successfully.

For more information on available Energy Efficient Tax Credits: click here.

Andrew C. Wilson is an architect licensed in Illinois and New York, a LEED accredited professional, and principal of [1016] Architecture in Chicago.

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