So what really can happen to a very nice young couple with their own remodeling plan….
One of our clients,”Buffy”, had grand plans of being the Designer and General Contractor to remodel their newly purchased home while Hubby worked to pay for it all. It was large house, (with six baths), for a steal of a deal, that had to be completely remodeled to be liveable for them.
Buffy spent the first six months of construction loan interest playing with her own design program. After finally realizing you don’t spend that kind of remodeling money on something you designed yourself, (when you were educated to be a lawyer), they then found us. We designed modifications and additions that made the house work properly for the family, and increased the value of the home with proper layouts, budget conscious parameters, quality construction techniques, and architectural interest. We gave them everything they insisted on in their wish list in a full proposal for all the work, (labor and materials), which came out to be much higher in costs than Buffy and Buddy wanted to spend.
They wanted to keep everything for the project per our proposal, but still believed they could save mega bucks doing most of it themselves. So Buffy and Buddy decided that if we performed the construction though framing to be ready for the subcontractors, then Buffy could takeover and become the General Contractor. We will always work with Owners to accomodate their needs, but we sincerely tell them to hire us or someone on as remodeling consultants when they are planning to be a General Contractor, for good reasons…
Buffy selected exquisite, expensive plumbing fixtures, on her own. When her plumbers roughed in, according to the plan, Buffy found out the non-refundable materials she ordered on her own were not going to fit. The logical answer would be to redesign and re-frame to fit the new fixtures, and for her to retain us to consult throughout the project to prevent further mishaps.
But Buffy had a new plan, she now decided she could sell her non-refundable items on the internet, and then save even more money buying the correct plumbing fixtures and other items on internet bargains for the entire house and all six bathrooms. Months go by again as the project is at a standstill, while the clock is still ticking on the construction loan. Buffy has saved at least 40-50% on all her purchases, (through internet sites not noted for their reliability). For the Master Bath tub faucet, she got a great deal at half of the normal retail price since the “Big Box” store was selling off their inventory of a major brand, so she snapped it up right away, non-refundable. She then searches to buy matching shower and sink faucets. Perplexed that she cannot find them, she calls the manufacturer and asks why the “Daisy” model is not for sale anywhere. It is then that she finds out about proprietary lines for the Big Box stores, and that once they are gone, they are gone forever. Since she now can’t match all the fixtures in the Master Bath, the “Daisy” products go into her pile of “for sale stuff” and poor Buffy starts all over again with this bathroom. Materials start to arrive. You guessed it, not exactly what she expected. Cabinets were scratched, stains colors were inconsistent, parts were broken. Electrical fixtures were missing crystals, others were not very good quality, even though the pictures looked great. Plumbing fixtures had parts missing, blah, blah, blah…
We got a call from Buddy to please take over the whole remodeling project, all the subcontractors are annoyed and charging by the hour now to work with not only these materials, but with Buffy. Bills are skyrocketing and the job is crawling along at a snails pace. There is no Critical Path because Buffy didn’t know what that is, and both money and time are out of control. It is a difficult position for us to now be responsible for what Buffy has put in place. We agree that there are gray areas to be dealt with, and there is one exception. Buffy wants to do the tile installation Herself! She is going to a one day tiling school! Buddy apparently can’t refuse her since her pride has been damaged. We advise, but in remodeling, we know to tread gently between spouses. There is already plenty of stress. Tiling installation comes, and stays for a verrryyy long time. When tiling was complete, Buddy gave Buffy a vacation to Europe for her efforts. We ripped up all her tiling and reinstalled all new tile in her absence. In the end, with their mishaps and loan delays, they spent almost twice as much as our original proposal. But Buffy and Buddy wound up not only happy with their home, but happy with us for accommodating them by saving the remodeling project, and maybe a marriage.