Whether you’re moving into a fixer-upper, getting your place ready to sell, or updating the old homestead, there are things you need to do before the first tool comes out of the box. Some of these help the project to stay on time and on budget. Others can prevent it from becoming a disaster. Here are some things to consider:
Keep it Legal and Friendly
It’s your property, so you can do with it what you want, right? Not necessarily. There are rules and regulations for about everything these days, and if you don’t pay attention to them, you might find yourself having to do things over or have your project shut down altogether. Be sure to check—
- Zoning restrictions—Depending on where your property is located, you may be limited in what you can do. Buildings in historic districts may have to conform to guidelines on everything from colors and window styles to additions and modifications. Zoning regulations may restrict building heights, setbacks, easements or the number of people who can occupy the building. Your local zoning department can help you avoid trouble before you start.
- Building codes—Codes are in place to keep things safe. They vary from place to place, and some can be quite restrictive, especially when it comes to what sort of permits and inspections are required. If a curious building inspector sees work being done at your place, you may find your project shut down for permit or code violations. Check with your local building department and play by the rules. You can’t beat City Hall, so don’t try. Code violations and shoddy workmanship can really hurt the resale value of your property, too.
- Homeowner associations and neighborhood groups—If your property is governed by one of these groups, what you can and can’t do may be restricted even further than what your zoning and building departments allow. Disputes can get nasty and expensive. Avoid them by knowing your covenants and observing them. These are your neighbors, after all.
Be Businesslike and Professional
Whether yours is a DIY project or you work with architects and contractors, have a plan and a budget. Be realistic in assessing what you can do on your own and what will require a pro. Structural, electrical and plumbing changes are outside most DIYers’ level of competency. Hiring professionals to do the work may sound expensive until you consider the cost of doing things wrong. Here are some tips on hiring the right pros:
- Know what you want—Even the best can’t provide accurate costs and schedules if they don’t have a clear understanding of what needs to be done.
- Check references— Are they licensed, bonded, insured? If you know people they’ve done work for, ask about them. If you’re using an architect or designer, ask for recommendations. Third-party references can be helpful (BBB, etc.), but first-hand experience is best.
- Listen to their advice—Pros will know what works and what doesn’t. They’re a great resource, so use them to your advantage.
- Set up progress and payment schedules—Discuss payment plans and tie them to progress of the job. It gives contractors extra incentive to stay on schedule and protects you. Get things in writing. Don’t be afraid to offend them. If they’re real pros, they’ll understand. It protects them, too.
- Be prepared for contingencies—Contractors can’t see through walls or predict delays caused by weather or late inspections or deliveries.
Plan Ahead and Anticipate Upgrade Projects with the Pros
Good planning leads to successful results. Make anticipating electrical issues and solving them part of your remodeling process. It’s always easier (and usually cheaper) to do electrical work as part of your upgrade than having to deal with it later.
Why risk annoying problems and costly remodeling mistakes? Call Allstar Electrical for a thorough, professional assessment of your home’s wiring condition and needs. Allstar Electrical has served the Colorado Front Range for 15 years and is top-rated by the BBB and Angie’s List. We offer homeowners reliable construction, remodeling and repair work that is safe and up to code.
Visit our website for complete details about our services as well as timely articles about remodeling and the latest developments in the ever-changing world of electronics. Then give us a call at (303) 399-7420 or use our handy on-line forms to request an estimate or set up an appointment.