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Consumers Advantage

As an owner/builder, you've got the consumer's advantage.

You're doing just one project whether it be remodeling or new construction … and, it's your own home!


Often a building professional whether it be a lender, realtor, architect, builder, or supplier will be doing multiple projects simultaneously.

You've got a keen interest in your own project … and, you can focus on every aspect of that project. You've got the consumer's advantage.

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"NKBA" with Guest Doris LaCroix

Tom interviews Doris LaCroix, Director of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Ms. LaCroix suggests ways in which consumers can best utilize NKBA services as well as consumer advantages at the NKBA web site.

 Visit Down Home Radio for the entire audio archive

You can set a budget for the entire design/build process. You'll want to know how much you can afford for residential architectural services as well as cost of construction. You can pre-qualify with a lender before you contact either an architect or builder. Taking into consideration both hard and soft costs creates a better understanding of expenditures for your project. You've got the consumer's advantage.

You can determine whether your potential or existing site is buildable to your satisfaction. You can require the seller show proof or you can pre-determine whether the site conforms to all rules and regulations required for the issuance of a building permit. Here's the point: if the site is very difficult to develop, decide what problems exist before you make an offer or initiate the home building project. Whether or not the site is buildable to your satisfaction will make or break your project. You've got the consumer's advantage.

You can plan and organize the details of your project. You can effectively communicate your expectations to either an architect, designer or stock plan provider prior to proceeding. Establishing the level of service you require and the cost range in which you intend to build will set standards for their performance. It's their opportunity to show you projects they've completed similar to the one your proposing. You've got the consumer's advantage.

You can establish a time frame for when key activities will occur. You can create a schedule based on both pre-construction and construction activities, encompassing the entire design/build process.There's no "best way" to complete a project so you'll want to consider the range of possibilities. By asking questions and doing research before attending meetings with both architecture and construction professionals, you'll be able to ask them good questions and identify key activities in the proper sequence of events. You've got the consumer's advantage.

You can protect your investment by getting written proposals from architects, contractors and suppliers in advance of their work and before your proceed. It'll be to your advantage to get multiple proposals from different businesses for each phase of the design/build process. Describing issues like terms of payment, completion of work, standards of performance, and warrantees are crucial to negotiation regarding the unique circumstances of your project. You've got the consumer's advantage.

You can insist on a comprehensive contract. You'll want a thorough description of your relationship with the architect, contractors, and suppliers prior to beginning work with any of them. Pay no money as a down payment! All contract provisions are open to negotiation. Don't use their boilerplate documents without first considering all issues which are important to you. Consult with an attorney familiar with construction contract law. Remember: This is your money and lifestyle. You've got the consumer's advantage.

You can maintain open and honest communication. When communication is random or sporadic, it can lead to misunderstanding and confusion. You'll want to personally know the players of your project team and why their skills and abilities are crucial during both preconstruction and construction activities. Creating reliable drawings, specifications, and conditions documents for your project takes the mystery out of the unknowns and minimizes risk. You've got the consumer's advantage.

You can clarify whether you have what it takes to be an OBS Newsletter Signup owner/builder. This means not only staying current on the latest information prior to construction but also maintaining a clean job site during construction. Yes … contractors will be responsible for removing debris from their phase of work, but you'll need to monitor the messy construction process on a daily basis to be sure everyone does their house cleaning job.

Ask yourself these questions: Do I have time in my life? Am I aggressive? Can I make reliable decisions? Do I have confidence in my choices? Am I organized?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you've got the consumer's advantage.

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