Why You Don’t Really Need 3 Home Addition Estimates

By Nick Matteo | April 17, 2016

Quantity does not equal quality.

Less is more. Quantity does not equal quality. These familiar adages operate on the same principle; a principle that seems to go out the window when we start talking about getting home addition estimates. Websites, like this homeguide for sfgate.com, often counsel that you get at least 3 bids before making your decision.

Home-Addition-EstimatesDon’t get me wrong; competition is a great motivator. However, if that competition happens to be centered around “give me a number I like and I’ll hire you,” it should come as no surprise that some contractors are more than willing to under-estimate home additions, just to get the job. Why do you think it’s so common for the final project to actually cost a whole lot more than the original bid would suggest? Once a contractor has a job he’s obtained by under-bidding, there’s no doubt he’ll have no qualms about over-charging. That’s the problem with having contractors compete against each other to produce the lowest home addition estimate.

Fortunately, there’s a better way.

How To Get Accurate Home Addition Estimates On The First Try

  • Be Prepared
    This piece of advice is fitting in any context, but especially in the context of getting home addition estimates. If you bring a builder and an architect onto a project that has not been thought through, you’re going to end up wasting time as you try to make your general vision come into focus with more people in the mix. 

    Sit down in the beginning and take your time to consider what you want, the budget you’d like to set, and then your non-negotiables. If you want a teak deck, find out how much those materials cost. If you want something that looks teak but you’re willing to settle for a composite, note that down. Once you have your non-negotiables nailed down, your builder can proceed confidently.

  • Build in a 30% Cushion
    While home additions have an ROI of 60%-70%, experienced builders can tell you to build in a 30% budget cushion. That means if your budget is $30,000, then you want to actually aim for an estimate around $21,000. There’s just no way to foresee structural problems or underground foundational issues, but building your budget in this way ensures that you’ll never exceed your target number.
  • Ask Questions
    When you think of a question to ask your builder, write it down and keep it in one place. Most luxury home addition builders are more than happy to answer all of your questions. This is the crucial step to avoiding warring bidding/under-bidding. When you find a builder and present them with your visions, your budget, and your questions, it becomes easy to eliminate a poor fit and recognize a great one.

In the end, you’re not just looking for some contractor. You’re looking for a builder who cares about your home addition ideas and will apply themselves 100% to making those dreams a reality.

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