A Guide to Successful Additions and Large Remodeling Projects in Northern Virginia

March 18, 2015

Last week, we shared some elements of our kitchen and bath eBook. This week we’d like to take you through the process of completing a large remodeling project, such as an addition or whole house remodel. This is just a short preview of what our e-book has to offer and you can get all of the information by clicking here to download. Don't miss out on insider knowledge of what to expect throughout the remodeling process, written by the owner of Lensis Builders.

Homeowner Goals

Here are a few essential goals you should keep in mind when planning a remodeling/building project. As a homeowner, it is wise to aim to:

  • Hire someone who listens to your needs and works with you to design the ideal solution for your home. Your goals for the final results should include beauty, function and the often missed important element: comfort.

  • Have your project completed on time and within budget.

  • Minimize aggravation during the process.

The Remodeling and Building Process

1. Gathering Information

In 2014, Houzz surveyed 200,000 of their members in order to learn more about their home improvement goals. When asked which of the following factors drove their decision to remodel, homeowners participating in the survey indicated that they wanted to improve the look and feel of their space, increase their home’s value, and improve organization and storage, among other things.

Talk to your family about their thoughts and ideas for the project. Look at magazines, Houzz, Pinterest, and other internet resources. Start a scrapbook of ideas of pictures, room layouts, and designs you like (virtual or hands on!).

2. Selecting the Right Contractor

The same 2014 Houzz survey asked homeowners what hiring criteria they used when selecting a professional for their project. Their top five priorities were:

    • 83% wanted a contractor with good reviews and recommendations

    • 70% wanted someone who’s an expert in their field

    • 60% wanted someone who has a personality I can work with

    • 53% wanted someone who has completed projects in a style similar to mine

    • 7% wanted someone who is the least expensive option

It’s a priority to find a contractor that has a solid reputation. Consult their websites, past projects, and talk with their references. Also, be sure that you choose someone that you’re comfortable with, and be sure that you feel that you can speak openly with them. A positive working relationship yields a smooth, positive remodeling project.

3. Project Planning, Design and Permits

Comparing pricing on custom remodeling work can often be very difficult because there is no real way to compare the quality of one contractor’s labor, subcontractors, and materials to another. One excellent source for information about common remodeling projects, average job costs, and resale value is the “Cost Vs. Value Report” by Remodeling magazine. Use this link: http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2015/south-atlantic/washington-dc/

Keep in mind that an estimate is an educated guess as to what your project will cost. A proper construction proposal should be very specific, to include a detailed scope of work and a list of the materials used.

Some design elements to keep in mind include comfort, energy efficiency, aesthetic, and overall functionality.

4. Pre-Construction Planning and Materials

At this point in the process you have your design complete, your project materials selected, and you’re going through the permit process or actually have your building permit in hand. Another very important issue to address is the project schedule. It’s helpful that your contractor has a pre-set schedule of each type of project and estimated times to complete them. For example, there should be a general layout for a home addition that includes the process and timeline from start to finish.

5. The Work Starts!

At this point, your plan is being executed. For large scale projects, it’s important that your contractor helps you plan for temporary functional spaces if your current spaces are off limits. Additionally, it is more convenient if your contractor completes the majority of the new construction prior to breaking through to the existing home. Your site should be kept clean, organized, and neat throughout the project. Again, careful upfront planning, scheduling and material acquisition are critical for a smooth project.

6. Completing Your Project

Now that your project has passed the final inspection, it’s time to add your project to your homeowner’s insurance policy. Also, most good contractors will warranty their work for a minimum of one year and many will take care of items for considerable longer periods of time.

Remodeling Process: Northern Virginia Inspections

Each county has it's own specific concerns and requirements when it comes to the permit process and county inspections. It is crucial to hire a contractor who has years of experience dealing with government departments in Fairfax County, Prince William County, or Fauquier County, depending on where you live. However, it also important to be aware of the process yourself, as a homeowner. Staying informed will help you know what to expect of your contractor while protecting yourself and your home. We've written an entire chapter listing all of these different departments and their role within the process. Follow the link below to request your free download.



Planning a similar project?
We have the information you need.

Richard Lensis, the President of Lensis Builders, Inc., has written a free eBook for homeowners just like you. Learn the must-know "Six Steps to a Successful Addition or Large Remodel".

Click Here to Learn More



About Lensis Builders, Inc.

Lensis Builders, Inc. is a build/design firm proudly serving the Northern Virginia area. We specialize in kitchen and bath design and remodeling, additions, whole house remodels, home energy and comfort solutions, porches, garages, and more. Our firm works closely with you to design and build the house of your dreams. We are passionate about building and remodeling and have been helping homeowners “love where they live” for 20 years.

If you live in the Northern Virginia area and would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999.