LESLIE: Melissa in Virginia listens on WJFK and you’re thinking about doing some remodeling. How can we help?
MELISSA: Yes, we were looking to add on some additional rooms on our house and we were just wondering – we live in the Northern Virginia area; in Stafford, Virginia. What is a good price in a square footage – I guess square-footage rate? We got quoted $125 per square foot. I don’t know if that’s high, low, what average is for this area or …
TOM: Well, Melissa, it really depends on what you’re putting into that addition. You know, anywhere from $100 to $200 a square foot is not unusual but it depends on what you’re putting in that’s going to add up to those costs. What we would recommend is that you don’t simply deal directly with a contractor but that you get an architect involved to actually spec out the addition. This way …
LESLIE: Yeah, have you come up with a design plan for what this area is going to look like, where the windows are, how the heating is situated?
MELISSA: We do – actually the guy that’s overseeing is an architect and he’s working on getting all the contractors for us and orchestrating all that.
TOM: OK but Melissa, let’s talk about the order of events. You’re getting the architects to do the plans; that’s good. Those plans will also include a set of specifications in terms of what exactly is going in there. Once those are done, then you can go out and get contractors to bid on that set of plans. So, I’m glad that your architect is helping with this but I hope that the way he’s helping is getting several contractors to bid on this; not just working with one person.
LESLIE: Well, and I mean Melissa, you’ve hired the architect so, essentially, you own those plans and the schematics. So if you’re not happy with this contractor that he likes to work with, you know, you should clearly go and seek out others based on recommendations. And follow up with their references. Really call them up and ask did they finish on time, were they neat, how was the work; you know, [were there] (ph) weather conditions. Find out because you really need to do your research.
TOM: Yeah. And this way you can bid apples to apples because they’ll be bidding on the same set of plans. You follow us, Melissa?
TOM: No, there’s no reason that you can’t those plans and go out and get some bids on your own besides what your architect is getting and sort of cross check against them.
LESLIE: And you should.
TOM: And you absolutely should.