Perfect Time to Remodel
If you have to stay home during the pandemic, there is no place like home!
As a professional landscape designer and contractor, I am a strong proponent that investing money on the outside, if done correctly, can add substantial equity similar to remodeling the kitchen or bath. Returns on that type of remodel I would imagine would be slightly higher, but my 40 years’ experience in construction & real estate supports my claim.
Unless you are living in a very upscale community where you are trying to keep up with the Jones’s, most homes here in an average Arizona community, people would drive by without even turning their head. Don’t let your home be one of the average! There are of course exceptions and those homes for sale have a tendency to sell faster because of their great curb appeal. Usually those people who care so much about their own curb appeal have done an equally impressive job with their backyard. They have not only added nice equity by doing so but have substantially increased their living space.
Thinking about a landscape remodel? First place to start is hiring a quality landscape contractor with design experience that can create a master plan. Even if you are doing things in phases, one should always have a master plan!!! With that plan, your contractor should give you an itemized list of the costs, which will help identify and “reel in” the budget. If you are like most, here’s what happens…you find out quickly (if you don’t already know) that you have champagne taste and a beer budget…welcome to the club. Nine out of ten people I see every month have a wish list greater than their budget. The majority of those people are not familiar with how much things cost and often are “sticker shocked” when they see how much their wish list really costs, which leads me to my next point…
DISCUSS YOUR BUDGET WITH YOUR CONTRACTOR! You are going to spend the money anyway, so to get the biggest bang for your buck, discuss how much you would like to invest in your remodel. Ask the designer/contractor what are the best ways to spend those dollars and the one that gives you the most solid advice while listening to your needs…well…he’s your man! I tell client’s every day, it doesn’t matter whether you have a $10,000 or $100,000 budget, I just want to make sure the money they have to invest in their remodel is spent as wisely as possible.
Let’s say you are getting three bids and you have a $20,000 budget. If all three bids are within 10 percent of one another, then the ONLY thing that should make the decision for you at that point is who you trust the most to do a good job for you. Throw the numbers out of the decision equation. Who was on time for every appointment? Who gave you the best ideas? Who had the best follow up? Who had good references or a solid contracting record with the Registrar of Contractors (ROC)? These are the questions you need to ask yourself when bids are fairly close. In landscape construction, like most other forms of construction, you get what you pay for. Once in a great while, the low bidder can do a good job for you… BUT BUYER BEWARE! Often times low bidders cut corners, which has a direct effect on the overall quality and finished product. Also, don’t forget warranty…many low bidders have what we call a “tail light” warranty. In other words, once they’re off the job and they drive away…good luck ever seeing them again if something goes wrong.
After you have nailed down the budget, the next step is to do a design based on that budget. The full master plan can and should still be drawn even though you may not be able to afford your entire wish list. Simply execute that portion of the plan with the money you have now, and you can always do other things later in phase two. A good designer thinks fast on his feet and can roll with customer changes with little difficulty. They also have an eye for detail and project management. Most installs require several crews all of whom have their own area of expertise. This needs to be scheduled one after the other like a well-choreographed dance for maximum results.
Now is a great time to upgrade what you have, add some nice equity, and enjoy to the fullest this new living space you and your designer have just created. If you have to self-quarantine during the pandemic, there is no place like home! If you have questions or would like a free consultation, please call the experts at outsidelivingconcepts.com