How To Determine Basement Renovation Estimates And Avoid Cost Overruns

Exceptional Basement Renovation

Exceptional Basement Renovation

Anyone who is planning a basement renovation needs to understand the estimated costs, potential issues and probable hazards. As such, research is a major requirement! As with any home remodel or renovation project, you will need to acutely aware of all of the possible scenarios. For starters, the end cost is determined by who completes the work. Your options are:

(a). DIY Do It Yourself
(b). Hire a General Contractor
(c). Become a General Contractor and hire Sub Contractors
(d). Use a combination of any of the above


The pros of going DIY? It goes without saying, if you opt for the DIY, you will definitely save on labor costs. The cons? You will have to not only take the time to carry out the work, you must be prepared to tackle: carpentry, painting, framing, plumbing, electrical wiring, cabling, telephony, moisture barriers, obtaining permits and a host of other issues that come with this type of project. Are you prepared for such a tall set of responsibilities? Keep in mind, if you decide to go the DIY route, all of the issues, problems and potential hazards are going to fall squarely on your shoulders.

Hiring a General Contractor

If you take this route, you liberate yourself of all of the aforementioned responsibilities Do It Yourselfers must take on. The issue? This option comes with a considerable price tag. Employing a General Contractor, you can anticipate spending anywhere from $15k to $100k plus! In contrast, if you took the DIY route, the same project may price out at around $8k to $35k. Duly note, although these estimates are typical of the industry, they depend on who’s performing the renovation as well as how elaborate your plans are.

Becoming a General Contractor

Only certain individuals are qualified to go this route. People who decide to become their own General Contractor have a grasp of all of the trades required to complete such a project. As a General Contractor, you will be hiring and possibly firing sub contractors. You will be the one responsible for insuring their work is up to specs. Consequently, it is not advisable to go this route unless you are actually qualified. You must be able to interview and vet sub contractors. You must be able to determine who can carry out your renovation plans on time and within budget. Hiring shoddy sub contractors can cause you to have migraine headaches. That is why the responsibilities of being a General Contractor demands that you have more than a general grasp of all the trades.

Combining The Responsibilities

Another option is mixing or combining the responsibilities. You can hire a General Contractor and then perform some of the work yourself as a subcontractor, if you have the skills, time and tools. You can also become a Co-General Contractor and bring in a partner to handle the areas you are lacking in. There are an untold number of options if you decide to go this route.

Renovating Costs

There are many factors that come into play when estimating costs. These factors are going to vary based upon your region and location. The local market conditions for construction are going to determine the type of bids you receive, the type of wages tradesmen will demand, material costs, equipment rental costs as well as the availability of skilled tradesmen. The final variance would be the time of the year, you start your project. If you start during the peak season for tradesmen, you will pay more. Conversely, if you plan accordingly and start your renovation/remodel during the off season, you will pay less.

The Renovation Process From Start To Finish

Duly note; this is an oversimplification of this process. When it comes to renovating your basement, first things must come first! For starters, you need to develop your renovation plans. This process entails figuring out how you want to utilize your basement and then tailoring a plan to fit that vision. Once you have your plans in hand, you will need to establish your basement renovation cost estimates. After deciding on if you are going the DIY route or the contracting out route, you will take those plans together with the cost estimates and present them to your local building inspector.

You need to take that step in order to acquire your building permit. Do not attempt a basement renovation without obtaining the required building permits. After that step, you can start the process of seeking contractors to bid on your renovation project. In this phase you are interviewing contractors for the purpose of comparing skill sets, experience, schedules, their proposals and overall bids.

Additionally, you’ll want to perform a comparative analysis that includes, but is not limited to checking their references, performing a criminal background check and making sure that each contractor meets all of the state licensing and bonding requirements for their trade. Next, you want to make sure that they are insured. You don’t want contractors working on your property who are not properly insured.

Next, is asking and answering the all important question, “Do they have any consumer complaints filed against them?” You can start your investigative process by checking with the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, ViewPoints and the RipOffReport. You also want to check with your state’s Consumer Protection or Consumer Affairs division. Equally important, check the court records to see if the potential contractors are being sued by previous customers. You don’t want to find out this information the hard way!

By taking all of the above steps, one can reasonably avoid cost overruns, and all of the other harrowing issues that pop up when engaging in a basement renovation.