Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

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Dogbreath650
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Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by Dogbreath650 »

Will be retiring the end of this year and I have budgeted about $100K of my 401K savings for home remodeling. I had originally planned to do several stages or phases as to allow me to keep a better handle on expenditures (and tax strategy) and it would allow me to focus on a bite size project rather than get overwhelmed with a larger one. I had planned to do first the kitchen, followed by bathrooms and then flooring and paint for the rest of the house. Although I would feel more comfortable going this direction I'm wondering if I would be wasting money going this direction as opposed to contracting the entire project out at once.

My plan is to hire an architect to design the entire project all at once and then contract out the phases at my leisure with the chosen remodeling contractor. Does this make sense? Any thoughts and suggestions welcome.

Thanks...
J295
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by J295 »

All at once. That way your electrician, plumber, painter, etc. isn't starting and stopping as you start and stop portions of the project (and remember, in most places getting a sub to project on a timely basis can be a challenge, so once they are on your job you want them to dig in and do as much as they can at that time).

And, since you will be living in the home during the remodel (not a fun experience for most) you should be able to get back to "normal" sooner than if you did the job in stages.
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Watty
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by Watty »

Dogbreath650 wrote:I had planned to do first the kitchen, followed by bathrooms and then flooring and paint for the rest of the house. .......

My plan is to hire an architect to design the entire project

Unless you are making major changes like moving lots of walls around I don't think you would need an architect for that type of work.

Some of the work may generate a lot of dust, especially when they taking out the old kitchen, bathroom, or flooring. Doing all the tearouts at the same time would minimize this.

Doing it all at once would likely minimize the amount of time that you would need to move out of the house or live in a construction zone.
123
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by 123 »

The only advantage I can see for doing it in stages is if you want be to maximize the number of strangers in your house over the longest period of time.
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tomd37
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by tomd37 »

We did a similar major renovation five years ago. My recommendation would be to have a very good, experienced general contractor (GC) in charge and do everything as one whole project. That way you only have the mess once, and there will be a big mess! Your GC will have his own sub-contractors on call and they can and usually respond to the GCs needs as they arise thus reducing down time. A good CG will be onsite daily to check on the subs progress and to keep you up to date. You will pay well for the GC but his/her services are well worth the expenditure. Our renovation started on July 5th and ended four plus months and a big bill later. :moneybag
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CAsage
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by CAsage »

I think it depends on whether you can move out or not. If you want or need to stay in your house, you absolutely need to keep one bathroom functional while the other is being redone. Having done a kitchen and a bath separately at my house recently, I can say doing a bathroom is much faster, primarily because of the lead time on things like cabinets (ages) and counter (two weeks from the time counters are done to allow for measure and manufacture granite). With bathrooms, you can get everything (fixtures, all plumbing, tile) in the garage before you tear out, and it can be done in two weeks. Well, maybe longer if you put granite there, too, I did not.
You could easily put flooring and paint off until last (and/or separate), since all the hard stuff needs to be done first! I would highly recommend you get all your shopping and choices/design done before they tear out a single tile.
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ClevrChico
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by ClevrChico »

I would only do stages if you were doing a significant part of it yourself. (You only have so much free time.)

Otherwise, have a GC get it all done at once.
Dilbydog
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by Dilbydog »

All at once. Youll tend to get more favorable pricing if the project is larger. In addition, contractors tend to mark up small jobs more in order to make it "worth their while."
Rodc
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by Rodc »

No need or even much use for an architect for something like this.

Might want to use a kitchen design place for the kitchen. Perhaps the bath.

I would be inclined to do at once if you have the money to do so. I have done this in stages as that was how I could finance it (over 10 years or so).

But it would depend on the tax considerations and you have not provided those details.
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Dogbreath650
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by Dogbreath650 »

The kitchen remodel would involve removing a wall between the kitchen and dining room to make a larger eat-in kitchen. Is this something a kitchen remodel center can handle or would I need a separate architect?

As to taxes - I plan on utilizing a HELOC with a 10 year payback period with no penalty for early payoff. This would allow me to evaluate tax situation at the end of each year and pay down quickly without crossing into higher tax bracket.
btenny
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by btenny »

Removing a wall may need a structural engineer more than a architect. You need someone to do a load analysis to see how to redo that area to make sure the remaining walls are adequate or if they need added beams. But if that is all you are moving you probably do not need a architect. IMO, just a good builder. But watch off for other changes after you start building. Builders love to have things changed in the middle so they can add costs and then forget the schedule and budget.

I did my remodel in pieces over years and this was OK but caused some pros and cons. We were able to live in the house and enjoy it for all but a week the whole time. We paid for it as we went and only spent about $5K per year. We did some stuff before we moved in like painting the whole house and fixing some walls. We redid the landscaping and driveway the next year. Then we redid one AC unit two years later. Then we fixed the roof one year. Then a few years later we did a kitchen redo with new countertops and a new stove. Then we redid one bathroom one year and the other the next year. One year we redid the back windows and the next year we redid the front windows. This continued for years, one fix here and one there. Last year we completely redid all the floors and for the first time we moved out for a week to get everything done.

We did not do anything big by doing it this way. We never moved a wall. We never completely remodeled the kitchen cabinets although my wife sort of wanted to. We did not raise the kitchen ceilings. We did not put in celestial windows in the family room.

But doing it this ways was easy to live with. We always paid for it out of current monies. We never had the design go "out of date" as we did it gradually. We like the final results. Yes if we had done a big major remodel all at once I am sure we would have done more changes. But we would have spent a ton more $$. And we would still have had to do some things like new windows and new roof and new AC units as well over the years. So again a lot more $$$ in total and I am not sure we would like it any better. In fact I bet we still need to make other changes now. Styles change and wants and needs change. Just thinking.

Hope this helps. Good Luck.
Rodc
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by Rodc »

btenny wrote:Removing a wall may need a structural engineer more than a architect. You need someone to do a load analysis to see how to redo that area to make sure the remaining walls are adequate or if they need added beams. But if that is all you are moving you probably do not need a architect. IMO, just a good builder. But watch off for other changes after you start building. Builders love to have things changed in the middle so they can add costs and then forget the schedule and budget.

I did my remodel in pieces over years and this was OK but caused some pros and cons. We were able to live in the house and enjoy it for all but a week the whole time. We paid for it as we went and only spent about $5K per year. We did some stuff before we moved in like painting the whole house and fixing some walls. We redid the landscaping and driveway the next year. Then we redid one AC unit two years later. Then we fixed the roof one year. Then a few years later we did a kitchen redo with new countertops and a new stove. Then we redid one bathroom one year and the other the next year. One year we redid the back windows and the next year we redid the front windows. This continued for years, one fix here and one there. Last year we completely redid all the floors and for the first time we moved out for a week to get everything done.

We did not do anything big by doing it this way. We never moved a wall. We never completely remodeled the kitchen cabinets although my wife sort of wanted to. We did not raise the kitchen ceilings. We did not put in celestial windows in the family room.

But doing it this ways was easy to live with. We always paid for it out of current monies. We never had the design go "out of date" as we did it gradually. We like the final results. Yes if we had done a big major remodel all at once I am sure we would have done more changes. But we would have spent a ton more $$. And we would still have had to do some things like new windows and new roof and new AC units as well over the years. So again a lot more $$$ in total and I am not sure we would like it any better. In fact I bet we still need to make other changes now. Styles change and wants and needs change. Just thinking.

Hope this helps. Good Luck.
I did move some walls, including part of a major load bearing wall, builder knew what he was doing having done this many times, made a plan, had an engineer review and sign off. Builders know if you need a load bearing span of X feet what size beam and support code calls for. This is not rocket science.

FWIW: In separate projects we removed the roof/attic and put on a second floor with three bedrooms and two room bathroom suite, as well as new electrical service, AC, siding and some other odds and ends. Did that just before getting married - would not want to do that with a family in the house; I have never lived in such dust and general mess. Then we added a kitchen/dining room bump out three years later. Then I did a complete kitchen remodel (full custom cabinets made in my basement shop). Complete gut and replacement of the first floor bathroom another three years later; I did all the finish work but a contractor did the gut, drywall and rough in, shower. Somewhere in there did a major landscaping effort. Various painting jobs where worked in as needed - those hardly count as they fall into the category of basis home maintenance. Something like 10 years before we got to just ongoing repair/replace/repaint type work that all houses need.

Would have been nice to do all at once, but did as funding was available.
Last edited by Rodc on Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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jf89
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by jf89 »

Dogbreath650 wrote:The kitchen remodel would involve removing a wall between the kitchen and dining room to make a larger eat-in kitchen. Is this something a kitchen remodel center can handle or would I need a separate architect?

As to taxes - I plan on utilizing a HELOC with a 10 year payback period with no penalty for early payoff. This would allow me to evaluate tax situation at the end of each year and pay down quickly without crossing into higher tax bracket.
Agree with others, you shouldn't need an architect for this. Your contractor will be able to identify load bearing walls and probably has an engineer they use regularly to verify if it is/isn't and draw up plans for removal of the wall and placement of a beam for permitting. From there it's just arrangement of the kitchen, which you should be able to do at any kitchen design center. Honestly, the contractor probably has a good idea of what would work, as well.

The only situation I could see needing an architect is if you wanted a full redesign of a few rooms or the entire floor, but it sounds like you know that all you want is a wall taken out and the kitchen merged into that room as an eat-in.
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Rodc
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by Rodc »

FWIW on architects.

I have a friend in a very interesting and unique house that cost millions (thanks to making a bundle when he sold his dot-com business before the Tech Wreck). That required an architect and many months of design work.

I have a basic house - nice, functional, but never going to be in Architectural Digest.

I did consult an architect in the design phase of for planning the work I describe above. I used a general contractor who was about 70 years old and who had built or renovated who knows how many houses. The architect was frankly worthless. Now that of course might just be that particular architect. Or it might just be that the job I needed to have done was really not appropriate for an architect. The builder on the other hand provided much valuable advice. We built pretty much what I designed in consultation with my wife2B, but he has some valuable tweaks, and especially when a few things ended up to not really quite come together as I had envisioned either for some fault of mine or because somethings just go funny when you work on a older home. He had one suggestion I did not take that in the fullness of time was a mistake - he suggested making the second floor a little larger for 4 bedrooms for hardly anymore money. But we decided not to go that route because we did not want the house to dominate our neighbors. Those houses were then torn down and replace with HUGE houses. Oh well!
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
Carefreeap
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by Carefreeap »

We did our remodel projects in stages. I acted as the GC (with training wheels). :wink:

I didn't use my architect for these projects but want to use her for our next which is redesigning our downstairs family room, laundry, bath and borrowing space from our oversized garage. Since we will be digging up our garage floor we want to turn her loose and let her be creative. She's really good, practical and inexpensive.

My DH and I are really blessed in that our 60 year old contractor and most of our subs all live within a mile of our house. They will fit in my relatively small jobs between their bigger ones. They also like the fact that we typically do our projects in January when things are slow. Plus they are indoors.

Like anything, there are pluses and minuses to each approach. I liked the high degree of control I had over the projects. I went absolutely nuts with the kitchen remodel we did in AZ when we turned things over to a GC starting with the fact that we discussed getting permits and they didn't. :oops: I was out of the country for part of this time and my husband was working. We didn't know from day to day who was at our house and when things were going to be done. I told my contractor (here in the SF Bay Area) that I really didn't appreciate how good he was until we went through the AZ experience.

He's guided me through the scheduling process and charges me time and materials. I think I paid $20k for the two bathrooms combined and about $30k for the kitchen remodel and we pretty much gutted everything. I walked the plans through our local building department and pulled the permits myself. Although the permits were expensive, the building department was surprisingly helpful.
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michaeljc70
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Re: Home remodel - all at once or in stages?

Post by michaeljc70 »

I think the advantage of doing it all at once is it will be quicker and maybe slightly cheaper.

The advantage of doing it in stages is you may learn things you want and forget and can include them in the next phases. If you have remodeled several times, then this is probably not an issue as you will have a pretty good idea what you want. As an example of what I mean is say you have 2 bathrooms to do. If you do one and get to use it for a while, you may discover other things you wish you had done and can in the 2nd one.
daveatca
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plan and plan some more

Post by daveatca »

Very smart to hire architect.
Been there, done that.
Once. Unless you are determined to do some work yourself.

Spend at least a year planning and spec everything. Down to drywall screws.
Buy 2+ year's worth of back issues of Fine Homebuilding.
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