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guco45

Frustrated with Remodeling/Addition costs

guco45
7 years ago

We live in a high living cost area in Southern California and are looking to add about 250 sq ft to our house. We want do the addition by converting the back porch into the kitchen and bathroom (IKEA is fine!). Then shuffle the layout of the existing space (old kitchen into more living space). Then, we hope to put new continuous flooring in and re-paint.


I get that we need to basically tear down and build the whole addition from ground up. The old back porch was on a different roof line. A couple contractors have told us that changing the roof line on the existing roof will eat up most of the budget. We are open to a separate roof line on the addition to reduce the cost.

However, the estimates that we have received is still over $150K. WHY??? I don't understand this at all! If I drive two hours inland, $150K is the more than half the cost of a brand new house. What am I doing wrong?

Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

Comments (136)

  • andyscott
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    When we started to plan out kitchen remodel in January, I called the designer (not architect) who we used in 1999 to design our 600 square feet addition. He has so much business now in Silicon Valley that after a short conversation in our kitchen, he told us that he was very busy, could be the GC, and we'd have to spend $1000 for the plans and $50K for the entire project.

    We wanted to discuss lower cost alternatives, but he wanted the entire job, wasn't interested in working on those plans, so we dropped him. I then paid a structural engineer $300 for a home visit to get his opinion on the feasibility and approximate cost impact of the structural modifications we wanted and ended up doing the basic plan drawings myself, making sure our city planning department was OK with them. The structural engineer of course provided his drawings/calculations for the beams/footings required to go along with my plan for an additional fee. Even to find a structural engineer who was willing to charge a reasonable fee took some time.

    As I mentioned earlier, after getting the city permit, it was a long journey to find qualified people in this crazy market willing to do our job for a sensible cost. In the end it was worth $$$$$ to us. If you have the time and inclination, you may be able to get your project done for a good chunk less than $150K.

    guco45 thanked andyscott
  • xedos
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    guco - you're wrong on this account. The fact is that the contractor does not take into account YOUR return on investment when figuring up what to charge you for a particular renovation.

    The price extended to you is materials + labor + overhead + profit - and it is whatever it is. Assessing VALUE of that trade for your money is then up to you . A contract/spend on your part of $150k has no guarantee of adding $150k of value to your property - and whether it does ,or does not, is inconsequential to the contractor. He's not working for free or a reduced fee just because you can't recoup the renovation cost should you need to sell the week after the reno is completed.

    Now, some might argue that no one would undertake any renovation in which they weren't guaranteed a loss for their $$$ spent. But, the same thing is done every day when people buy a new car or invest in a stock that goes belly up. Same with remodeling - you aren't likely to add $150k to the asking price of your house and get it in the real market simply because you spent $150k. It just doesn't work like that.

    Again - greed and risk.

    I understand your math and value calculation as it relates to your property and sensibilities. But that doesn't change the value of a particular contractor's time and effort nor his price to you for a project with particular parameters. It's also ok to not want to spend YOUR money on something that you don't deem valuable - that's just a tenet of economics. It's also ok to shop around and no one should blame you for trying to find the other contractor from my last example - the one who will do a good job for $25/hr instead of $100. You'd be silly not to. Again, that greed thing !

    guco45 thanked xedos
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  • _sophiewheeler
    7 years ago

    Too much HGTV on board here and not enough reality. Renovating never ''makes'' you money. It costs you money. The only person making money renovating is a flipper, and they make their money off of getting a low enough price in the beginning to get some profit after some slapdash paint. They aren't really doing ''renovations'' or they'd lose money too.

    People who renovate their homes do so for the enjoyment of those renovations, or to bring the home up to the neighborhood standard so that they don't lose even more money when they sell. If the project is brand new, then you might get 70% of that back as added value to the home. But, you still lose 30% of that 60K kitchen renovation just to say that you have a ''new'' kitchen when you go to sell it next month. Selling in 6 years? You're back to ground zero, with nothing being new anymore.

    The exception is if your renovation creates more square footage, or a better design for the home. If all of the kitchens in your neighborhood are small and awkward, and you've cmbined the breakfast room with the kitchen to create better flow, and then opened it up to the dining room with wide french doors, then you've done something with some staying power that sets your home apart from the rest of the neighborhood. On the other hand, if everyone else in the neighborhood has already done that project, then you've just brought the home up to standard. Your bar is set higher to differentiate youself from the rest.

    Read Cost vs Value for your area. Then get back to us. With those measurements.



  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    7 years ago

    Oh, these poor people in their million-dollar houses! They'll never be able to afford to live there what with contractors expecting to send their kids to college and drive decent vehicles. It's terrible.

  • guco45
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Thank you everyone for your advice and suggestions. After talking it over with DH, we are going to try to get many more bids after the architect is done. Also, we are talking about doing some DIY to bring the costs down (like tear down and kitchen cabinets). We will find a way to get this done. We will also get some measurements on a graph paper this weekend so stay tune for that on a different thread!

  • melle_sacto
    7 years ago

    I don't understand why you'd compare your location to one 2 hours inland; location is a huge deal. You don't live there so it's irrelevant. I don't call contractors from lower COL areas and expect a lower quote since their COL is less.

    What do you think the addition should cost? Ask your bidding contractors what they could do to get closer to your #.

    For your neighbor, did they do exactly the kind of remodel/addition that you are planning? If not, how can you even compare the work. You are adding a new kitchen and a new bathroom which are the most expensive rooms in the house.



  • practigal
    7 years ago

    Sophie, the contractor lives in a nicer house in a nicer neighborhood on a bigger a lot then I will ever be able to afford, he owns a harley, owns a nice F150, drives a better car, owns a toy hauler or a weekend cabin, has a swimming pool, kids in or who will be in college and if I'm unlucky and there is an accident, he hopefully will have a decent insurance policy. Appropriate insurance is not first on the contractor's list, in fact, they moan that they are required to carry any at all. You are clearly not living in California scam artist land.

  • Suzi AKA DesertDance So CA Zone 9b
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We live in Southern California and did a full house remodel. We did not change the floorplan and there were no additions. We kept the kitchen tile floor and all the bathroom tiled counters. We redid the kitchen completely and had to completely redo many rotting decks. So far the costs are over $150,000, and that does not include the putting green or solar. I would make sure your contractor has workman's comp insurance and that his subs also have it. Be sure to get lien releases for any work done prior to final payments. Our biggest mistake was dragging a previous contractor 2 hours from his territory in San Diego. Everything took a lot longer and he wasn't able to be around as much. Go local with whoever you hire.

  • practigal
    7 years ago

    A non-second floor addition should not cost that much more than new construction, some argue it should cost less. New construction is reportedly costing between $150 and $300 a square foot. Really nice or artsy stuff can definitely go higher. At $600 a square foot this ought to be absolutely amazing. And I am sure it is not.

  • 1929Spanish-GW
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    @practigal. Two questions. What does his wife do for work (I know many who are the primary bread winners)? Why can't a contractor be successful and spend his money on toys?

    I thought I was done posting, but why do we not value tradespeople? Why can't a very good contractor have success equal or greater than ours? I come from generations of highly educated people and some of them can't paint a wall to save their own life.

    So these people automatically deserve to make more than the very qualified, hardworking contractor that has done three jobs at my house? Smells to me like something else is going on here.

    @guco45 whatever you do, don't spend money that you don't have, even if it's $50k and don't over improve for the area. At some point you might be better off renting in an area with better schools.

    edited to add comments to guco

  • PRO
    Sombreuil
    7 years ago

    Quote:

    "$150,000 for a 250-sf addition is $600 psf. $400 psf for a new build
    would not be at all unusual in this part of the country. I assume the
    incremental amount is due to 1) supply and demand, and 2) the fact that
    this is an addition and NOT just a new build."

    No. A kitchen addition is not comparable to a new build of an entire house, no more than a bathroom would be. They are the most costly parts of a whole house. You have to tease out the details. A bedroom does not have the same costs.

    We did a marble bathroom for some folks, it was $75K in the existing footprint. Came to about $750/sq ft. See, the entire house did not cost that much per foot; the highest concentration of costs would normally be averaged across the entire cost of the property with rooms that have no special finishes or hardware.

    The 1/2" supply lines are about the same whether feeding a $75 ikea faucet or a $2400 Herbeau.

    An addition no matter what size has irreducible minimum costs baked in. Economies of scale are not linear for additions.

    If you are drywalling a closet or a whole room, the tradesmen still are going to make four trips, set their tools up three times, and prepare three batches of mud. (fourth trip is the poor slob who sands drywall mud all day.)

    Someone (OP?) mentioned narrow, deep lot shape, which brings up the
    other huge issue, site access. Narrow lot is also going to mean limited
    on-street parking, and the difficulty of getting the tons of materials
    to the work area. Or getting the backhoe in to dig the footers. If you
    have to hand dig 50 lin ft of foundation trench, expect to pay for it.

    Working inside the existing footprint is always soooo much cheaper than adding on. Adding on "up" is often less than adding on "out".

    Casey


  • PRO
    Linda
    7 years ago

    Contractors and tradesmen are like many other professions. Some of them are overpaid at minimum wage while others would be underpaid at twice the price. A good contractor is the difference between a successful project and a grand fiasco and is worth every penny.

    There's no reason a good plumber shouldn't get as much money as a good programmer...after all, only one of them works with real sh...t, the other often works in large quantities of bullsh...t. Plus, try getting your toilet fixed by a plumber in India...even less successful than the outsourced computer work.

    I'm tired of people with a college degree who believe that those folks without even a high school diploma aren't as smart or as worthy as those with paper and initials (the more the better). I've met some very smart people who work in the trades; some just weren't able to tolerate our educational system while others have the fancy paperwork, just enjoy the challenges and physical accomplishments of the industry. Financial success is more indicative of ambition and hard work than of trickery and price gouging. Right now, the construction people are enjoying sunshine...if you can't afford the sunscreen, wait for the next cloudy day.


  • cpartist
    7 years ago

    Reminds me of the people who think because I'm an artist I shouldn't make a living wage.

  • agk2003
    7 years ago

    i'm not sure why we're looking at the contractor's lifestyle and COL when determining cost of a reno. does your employer look at lifestyle or COL when determining your wage or raise? does someone with kids get paid more than someone without? you're paying for a skillset, reputation, overhead, etc.

  • sjhockeyfan325
    7 years ago

    New construction is reportedly costing between $150 and $300 a square foot

    I don't know where in California you live practigal, but I live in San Francisco, and there's no such thing as new construction for $150 a square foot!

  • 1929Spanish-GW
    7 years ago

    SJ, I bet you can have a dog house built for that in SF! Heeheehe

  • sjhockeyfan325
    7 years ago

    Only if I do it myself!

  • xedos
    7 years ago

    Pearls of wisdom for the weekend: want less, or earn more.

    Practicalgal - are you certain your mythical contractor owns that hog, summer home , paid cash for the f150 and tuition ?

    -or-.

    Is it likely he's a payment slave like many others and leases the truck, has 52 more months on the motorcycle, had the kids get student loans for the reasonable community college tuition, and whose summer home is a fishing cabin with a bathroom you wouldn't dare step foot in ?

    And , why does it matter either way?

  • agk2003
    7 years ago

    i'm noticing a lot of generalities about cost of construction per square foot. doesn't that vary depending on what you're doing in the space? this is why i'm saying you need a detailed breakdown. when i needed someone to install my hood and duct, i had one guy ask for $900 to do it and one guy ask for $250. it was a 4 hour job for 2 guys. i went with the $250 guy and for that he also did some carpentry work i needed done. people can ask for whatever they want, doesn't mean that's what the job is worth.

  • xedos
    7 years ago

    Agk - youre right , and as long as the job was done correctly you'd be silly to pay $110 an hour instead of $31.

    Doesnt mean the $900 guy was gouging you though. It's like many things - prices vary and its up to you to decide whether a $5 hamburger is warranted or maybe the $15 would better suit you.

    Perspective is a funny thing. I usually choose the $15 one , but occasionally go to a place with a $22 half-o-cow, while my mother really despises paying $15 , but acknowledges its pretty good. Granddad wouldn't set foot in any of the three places- his rational being we're crazy cause everyone knows a hamburger only costs 99 cents at Wendy's. Ability to pay doesn't figure into any of our decesions, but the way we each compute value does.

    Up the stakes to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars and ability to pay does start to weigh in for most people and further complicates decesions.

  • Lavender Lass
    7 years ago

    I do not understand this repeated theme about GCs making too much. Whether the work is good, the quality, the timely arrival of subs, etc. Yes, that would be a topic I could see discussing. But the amount a GC earns?


    Seriously? Since when (in a capitalist economy) is it a crime to make a profit and have a good standard of living? Maybe if a public official is making a crazy amount of money....then he/she should be held accountable by the taxpayers. But you don't have to pay a certain contractor. You can shop around. Just like any other good or service.


    Can we move on to something else? I am not a contractor, but I do believe in a free market economy.

    guco45 thanked Lavender Lass
  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    7 years ago

    "After talking it over with DH, we are going to try to get many more bids after the architect is done."

    guco45:

    This is not a good strategy. As a contractor, I've honed an ability to sniff out time wasting potential customers who are "trying to get many more bids". I can't make any money "giving bids." We will meet face to face and I will sell you my services or I won't. You will never see my proposal in a stack waiting to be evaluated by husband and wife after dinner. There's nothing for me in the stack.

    Having an architect before a budget is setting money on fire as the first few posters on this thread demonstrate. If your architect doesn't have his finger on the pulse of local constructions costs, he's a pencil pushing air conditioned hack and should not be hired in the first place. Those guys can and will draw anything as long as someone is paying them to do so.

    1. Determine your budget. 2. Find three local reputable GCs and get a proposal. 3. Pull the trigger. Or not.

    guco45 thanked Joseph Corlett, LLC
  • xedos
    7 years ago

    Joe - you kinda lay out a chicken or egg first ? scenario. With an unobtainable goal for guco if all contractors operate like you .

    Most architects that do residential have little clue what a house or assembly ACTUALLY costs . Contrary to your assessment .

    Especially in a volitle market like now. They can give an "idea" or "ballpark" or tell you historically whT a similar project has cost , but they just aren't in the trenches pricing out LVLs, shingles , or concrete. And , they aren't paying plumbers and sparkies every month to see that rates have spiked 20% this year.

    Sure , they know slate shingles cost a lot more than asphalt ones, copper gutters more than alum ones ect......

    So , a contractor is in a much better position to give a more accurate guess on a project . No sense having an architect draw something you won't build because you just can't afford a drink . Some projects aren't beer budget champagne tastes - they are water please budgets . But how is one to know if price isn't disclosed ?


    guco45 thanked xedos
  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    7 years ago

    xedos:

    How is my operating as I do making guco45's goal unobtainable? You didn't say.

    I don't care if most or a small percentage of residential architects don't know what the things they draw cost. A professional architect will make it his business to find out. If he's successful, it should just be a phone call to the GC who built his last several projects.


    You are correct in it being senseless to commission an architect to draw something that you cannot afford to build. That's why a responsible architect won't put pencil to paper until he's fairly certain the result will be somewhat within the budget he was given. That's why his knowledge of local construction costs are as critical as an ability to read a span table.

  • xedos
    7 years ago

    "You will never see my proposal in a stack waiting to be evaluated"

    Thats how.

    Listen, I'm not dumping on you. We don't give out bids , or anything really tangible (stuff that requires man hours ) without having secured a retainer first . But we're not catering to the price sensitive crowd , either.

    That said , I'm fully aware that the majority of the market can't operate that way, and the average customer doesn't have a factory girl's chance of guesstimating or researching cost on a remodeling project with any specificity. I also recognize that most people aren't going to operate on blind faith either.

    re: your successful architect comeback - sure he'd call the contractor , but then that contractor would need to produce something a bit more meaty than pricing ala Carnac the Magnificent for the prospective client to decide if they could move forward and pay for design/plans.

    Under your and my no real pricing for free practice - the whole endeavor is dead in the water. " I'm not giving a price without plans and a contract" or "Well , I'm not paying for plans without knowing how much it"ll cost." Chicken -or- egg ?

    Most people on most projects aren't comfortable with an open ended arrangement, so that leaves soliciting pricing , even crude ones, to help decide if a project is even feasible. And that can't really happen if contractors don't give out bids for consideration.

    There's a contractor and client out there for everyone. Clients shouldn't feel obligated to use the first offer or even five that they get, nor should contractors alter their systems to fit the masses if they don't want to.

  • practigal
    7 years ago

    I value tradespeople and am happy to pay good money for good service. "make too much" is a tough one, you can charge whatever you want, there just may be no buyers. I don't begrudge them their profit, but I resent profit based on poor quality and deceit and that seems to go hand-in-hand with many of these guys as only some deliver...

    Xedoes I don't doubt that the contractor is buying the toys on the installment plan, that's his choice. Same with the bid he wants to offer and the subs he wants to hire...and my choice to keep looking when I don't like what is on offer.

    I have never seen an architect put pen to paper without a firm budget and a signed contract.... I like their contracts form the best as the form is put out by their professional association and it is completely clear as to what is supposed to happen.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    7 years ago

    "I have never seen an architect put pen to paper without a firm budget and a signed contract..."

    Really?

  • xedos
    7 years ago

    Hey gal, if you really mean what you say then why bring up that a mythical contractor has a bike, new truck and a larger home than you do in the first place ???

    Im assuming in this scenario that your doctor has a larger home and nicer car than you do too? Does that eliminate doctors from being scam artists, screwing up procedures or charging more than a peer with better skills does or lacking the ability to deliver value for the price charged?

    Nope !

    No one likes being taken advantage of , but contractors don't have a corner on the market for shady dealings. That can be found in all professions. Everyone thought Madoff was a genteel , affable , genius that was worth every cent of the fees he charged ................until he wasn't. And he had a LOT of nice stuff.

    Being jealous of someone's possessions publically isn't very constructive to the discussion in my view. But, you're certainly entitled to your opinion and feelings.


    guco45 thanked xedos
  • beachem
    7 years ago

    I think we're going way off tangents about the OPs question on why it's so expensive in San Gabriel Valley vs Inland Empire.

    It's mainly demand and the contractors can charge that price because people don't shop.

    My insurance company had a database that determined average price for basic tile floor installation in Orange County is $4/SF. When I did flooring quotes the lowest was $5.50/sf. After being told that, the insurance company said, sorry we only go by the average and you will get charged more simply because of your city. What they actually paid out was .$75/SF because that's what their licensed contractor supposedly will do to replace. I paid full market out of pocket to my own licensed contractor to insure a quality install.

    For those of us in CA, we see a lot of illegal immigrant labor. My electrician charged $1800 for one day's work and he was there six hours with an assistant who is paid $10/hr.

    I have no problem paying fair prices but if I'm getting illegals, I question why I'm being charged for a qualified tradesman. Everyone I use is licensed and highly recommended. Who they hire, I can't vouch for.

    4 of the neighbors on my street are doing full gut reno due to flood like I am. Our street is swamped with workers every day for the past 4 months and no matter what the trade is from electrical, plumbing to framing, there hasn't been a single non Mexican and/or English speaking worker except some of the GCs, my plumber, my electrician and the moulding guy next door.

    That's seven people out of 200. I'm not sure that every one of those workers were licensed or paid a full journeyman's wage but we're being charged as if they were. For example, my plumber's breakdown charges $75/hr for his assistant.

    guco45 thanked beachem
  • practigal
    7 years ago

    Xedos see beachem's post above. S/he has a grip on what I am seeing and you might take delivery better from beachem.

  • guco45
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Dear All, I think you've knocked the $150K is reasonable into me. As many of said, I was simply venting about the unexpected number. It was not an affordability question, it was a "OMG I didn't realize how much construction was". Hubby and I have done some measuring and hope to get some ideas and suggestions from you! I will post a new thread since this one is getting long.

  • sheloveslayouts
    7 years ago

    guco45 I think you're a champ sticking with this and posting a new thread :-)

  • desertsteph
    7 years ago

    I think posting on here is a great idea. Over the yrs many have posted their LOs from an architect or builder - most are terrible. Kitchen storage and work space on them is worthy of many eyerolls.

  • chispa
    7 years ago

    Also in the LA area, in a top ranked school town. We did a master bathroom total gut and remodel last year and came in at around $400/sq.ft with about half being labor. All high end finishes and tile. I got 3 quotes from contractors that came recommended by friends and all the quotes were very very close. I am having the same contractor do 3 more bathrooms this year and won't even bother with competitive bids ... knowing his can-do attitude and problem solving abilities, makes it an easy decision to pay his rates. In our area fixers are selling in the $550/sq.ft range and updated homes in the $670+/sq.ft range. Land is worth more than the structures on them.

  • dan1888
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    There are some solutions in this thread for reducing prices. Take the high cost people out of the equation.

    From Sophie Wheeler-

    If you want to reduce renovation costs, the ONLY way to do that is through personal involvement and DIY. That means you.

    And from weaver2-

    Oh good! I am glad my intent came thru. We did build it, but we DIY'd it with our own, simple plan. My husband is a mechanical engineer and was a handy guy. He is now an engineer and a very, very, very handy guy. I learned to use drills, saws, sanders. And I can now install a laminate flooring, sweat copper pipes, frame in windows and doors, etc etc.. The internet was great to answer questions (and make sure we were following code; plus our inspection dept is a good one, so yay!).

    Just because you currently don't know something it doesn't mean it's difficult to learn. And you said time in not important so you can pretty much be guaranteed success. You won't be stigmatized by gaining these admittedly basic skills. And instead of paying for a GC's toys or sending his kids to college you can pay for your own. Your project at 50k should be very possible. Start with plan drawing and begin price shopping for the materials. When the time is right visit job sites and talk directly with the guys doing the work(you may need Spanish) about doing work on your project on the weekends for cash. You can see what they can do right in front of you. You will have to know everything about the job and have all the materials ready to go.

    Commit to learning and doing things yourself. Everything is on YouTube or in the forums.

  • millworkman
    7 years ago

    This ought to be good now..........

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    7 years ago

    dan1888:


    Let's not make the mistake of assuming that there is no cost in DIY; there certainly is and it's the cost of your time. Some folks enjoy learning new things and working with their hands. If that's the case, DIY has more value because they get to have "fun" while improving their homes. If you're working 40 hours a week with an hour commute each way, you don't have much of a life if you ever expect a major project to be completed in any reasonable length of time.


    I've been doing construction for 40 years and I still sub out larger drywall projects. My rates are too high and those guys are too fast and good for me to do it myself.

  • Nothing Left to Say
    7 years ago

    I am looking forward to your new thread!

  • guco45
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Crl_, the new thread is up. Chispa, do you mind PMing your contractor?

  • guco45
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Joseph, the only DIY we would do is probably assemble the IKEA cabinets.

  • dan1888
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We found the crew for our 2500sq.ft. drywall project with 10' multi-feature ceilings by cruising smaller new construction subdivisions, not Toll Bros. Fair no GC pricing. No Harleys were injured in the making of this project. For larger parts get out there and talk directly to the guys who are doing the work. Worked for 12/12 45sq shingling labor. We supplied materials thru out by doing what is required to buy wholesale. Like getting a Sales Tax License.

    The OP has no time constraints in their search for a price they are comfortable with. This is a realistic way forward. I haven't said it doesn't involve time, new learning and effort. There are other benefits. You have complete control of the quality of every component of the work. It shows for years after everything is over. You can now afford the higher quality stuff.

    guco45 Right now without any effort you can do one thing. You appear ready to learn how to measure, draw plans and ask for forum help with design. If you make the effort to take more steps like weaver2 pointed out, next time you won't be saying anything like that.

  • xedos
    7 years ago

    dan , I think you're not not being practical for most people.

    While I don't disagree with you in principle, the reality is most people can't make it work. Too much time, effort and risk involved .

    What happens when your DIY oversight results in crappy footings which then dominos into problems with he framing , then drywall, then trim, then tile work ? Your YouTube buddies aren't going to teach you what to look for , nor how to correct the problem.

    You've also left out a crucial factor in this - darling spouse. How long do think your other half is going to be on board having no roof or a plastic wall on the back of their house whole you bone up on how to frame and interview crews and then actually get them to show up ? I think you underestimate the capacity of your migratory workforce's ability to work on your place on weekends. In this hot market they are busy with their regular client base then too. No heat or A/C and rail pouring in the end wall of your house while you wait til next Saturday for the bargain brothers to show up will get old fast.

    You also don't mention or are in denial about the caliber of worker you can get under this scenario. Professionals - those that don't need much supervision (by you) aren't as available on Saturdays as your drive by crowd , nor are they looking to work for less than scale on their day off. So, while what you propose is possible - I wouldn't count on it turning out well.

    Poaching trades off of some of the jobs we work on will get bounced out of the neighborhood with your drawers a bit damp, but I'm not sure how it goes in your hamlet.

  • guco45
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Everyone, my house plans are up. Please go take a look. We are going forward with an addition!

    http://ths.gardenweb.com/discussions/3318000/kitchen-and-dining-room-layout-help-needed?n=11

  • Nothing Left to Say
    7 years ago

    I would caution that warranties on things like roofing often are contingent on certified installers.

  • beachem
    7 years ago

    You also need to take into account liability and that your city requires certification that you did all the work yourself or hired LICENSED people.

    I saved money on flooring by sealing and grouting myself. Anything technical goes straight to a licensed person.

    DYI also has additional cost in equipment. Do you have miter saw, circular saw, tile saw, jigsaw, etc. those are the basics that you will need.

    There are also tricks of the trade that YouTube videos don't tell you.

    Years ago I installed cedar tongue and groove for my closet. I borrowed the equipment and the Container Store made it seem easy. Well, no one told me a house isn't level. I started from the bottom up and by eye level, the boards are at 35 degree slant. I just lived with it. Later a carpenter friend told me that you're supposed to start from eye level out.


  • dan1888
    7 years ago

    "What happens when your DIY oversight results in crappy footings which then dominos into problems with he framing , then drywall, then trim, then tile work ?"

    This is a variation of the illogicalness of possibility vs probability. Just because a calamity is possible doesn't mean you have to consider it if it isn't also probable. It's a two step analyses with may naysayers only offering the first step.

    What happens when you are driving to work every day and you get hit by a meteor like the one in Russia?

    Don't let these kinds of illogical 'possibilities' keep you from accomplishing things. Do your homework, use the same intelligence that got you into your profession. This is how you control the probability. Many avenues are out there to help you succeed.

  • xedos
    7 years ago

    dan - you're the one being illogical now.

    your foundation being screwed up is quite high if you hire the grunts to do your weekend work. El Jefe is the one who knows how to use the transit, order the the correct sized rebar, locate the sill bolts correctly, square the thing to the existing house, determine if your soil is sound , epoxy that rebar into the old foundation, ect.... Your cut rate crew isn't going yo do all that stuff or do it properly without expert supervision. And you honestly think you can research and YouTube your way to a recipe and checklist that will allow for success ? Sure , you can with enough time and effort , but you vastly underestimate how long that is going to take and there it's hard to quantify the risk you assume with this scenario. Multiply that by 17 different disciplines on a build and you'll be in the years timeframe, which you spouse isn't likely to tolerate . What'd you leave off of your checklist cause you couldn't find it online.

    Whats your profession ? How long did it take you to become educated and seasoned enough to be considered worthy of hiring by discerning clients?

    - or -

    did you take an internet course or online degree at flybynitedotcom U and watch a bunch of YouTube programming , and faked it til you maked it ? And why should anyone even hire you today if you attended the Ivy league, and apprenticed at top drawer inc. ? I mean, 75% or more of your industry works for less $$$ , and I bet I can have amazon deliver a book on your field to me today from which I could skim the basics this evening and have a go at it for free tomorrow.

    Just about everyone can do every job for themselves, I could cut my own hair, cook my own gourmet meals, drive myself cross country, and grow/raise my own food. But I chose to go to a salon, eat out at five star food halls, fly on a plane , and shop at grocery stores when I "could" source all of this CHEAPER than the cash flow I burn through obtaining this stuff from others.

    Why ? Because stuff is generally better and more efficient when provided by people and places who specialize in doing it everyday .

    Like I said, possible. Just not practical for most people. You also seem to heavily discount the risk this path exposes to most people's largest asset.

    I do appreciate your everything is possible and it'll all turn out fine and dandy attitude though. Reminds me of all the shills on the remodeling porn shows who are full of energy, and get it spirit . Ever wonder why there's never a follow up show for any of those projects ?

    Cause 99.9% of all that stuff is crap and needs to be re done in less than five years and you never get close enough to see the wavy tile planes, paint bleed through, crooked lines, and caddy whomped doors that don't close .

    Any of that happens on a GWers job and there a three threads about why is my shower leaking, would you accept this granite seam, and help , my new jetsons toilet is leaking to which the usual suspects reply that no, it sucks and you hired a hack.

  • PRO
    Joseph Corlett, LLC
    7 years ago

    "You have complete control of the quality of every component of the work."


    This is common DIY myth.


    Let's say homeowner hires a sub directly. Two days in, a GC that hands him 100K in work every year calls with an emergency. Let's say you're that sub and you've got a choice. Trash your reputation with one homeowner by quitting a $10,000.00 job or spit in the face of a guy who gives you 100K in work every year. We know what you're going to do.


    Don't like the quality of the sub you hired? Most subs are very suspicious when called to pick up after someone else has been fired. When the new sub starts asking questions, you'd better have truthful explanations. I just met with a nice young couple with a host of half finished projects and I'm touching none of them; trouble written all over.


    A DIY may have "quality control" over their subs, but they have very little leverage. A lever can be a very useful tool.

  • xedos
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Joe, who needs a lever when you can push a "play" button, or click the left mouse button ?

    And there's always legal zoom for when you need to put a bit of stick about on those poorly performing subs you hired.

  • PRO
    Linda
    7 years ago

    @ Dan1888...if you want to know why to hire a professional, just try to tape drywall. There is nothing like sanding drywall mud, coat after coat to convince you that the professional is worth their money. It's like Playdoh for grownups...and many of the creations have the same finesse as your average kindergartener's sculpture. That's one of those tasks that's really easy...just watch how quickly and easily the pro manages to get a smooth surface. My partner is a professional painter and is very skilled at taping drywall and fixing problem spots. However, when he gets past about 10 sheets of drywall, he's calling around to see if any of the professional tapers he knows are looking for a bit of extra work. Their results are no better, but it gets him finished with the project more quickly and on to better uses of his time.

    From my experience, some DIY projects are fantastic workmanship...a homeowner isn't paying by the hour so has time to invest in getting all the details just right and being just as much of a perfectionist as he can stand. For many projects, a good craftsman can do a very respectable job, even if the particular skill isn't his forte. However, it may require him double, triple or even more time than a professional would require.

    A good painter, or electrician or car mechanic can often make more money by working a few more hours and hiring someone to do the work he can't do quickly. If someone can make $250, he's better off doing that and paying someone else $50/hour to do the needed work in two hours instead of spending 8 hours to avoid paying someone else $100.

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