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There is a great resource that we point our clients to when trying to determine "how much things cost" in general. There are so many different variables that go in to a project that it is hard to really throw out a figure and say "Hey, a bathroom remodel is going to cost XXXX" without knowing the location of the project, how big the bathroom is, what level of finish, etc.....
Remodeling Magazine does a survey every year of 35 common remodeling projects, and what they actually cost across the nation. They publish these results, and categorize them by location. Their survey is really great because they actually give you an example of a project, and a laundry list of what goes in to it, and a typical price that would be associated with that remodeling project. We find that it is a really great resource for trying to determine ballpark figures and get a good idea of what things cost around you.
Here is the link to the 2014 report: http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2014/
This is a great question!
I think the most important aspect of staying in your neighbor's good graces is good communication. NEDC likes to have one of our team go around the neighborhood personally at the start of every project and hand out contact information for our company. We give our business card, a letter letting the neighborhood know about the project and how long we expect it to take, and a flyer about our company.
It helps both us and our client, because we get publicity and marketing out of letting your neighbors know (all of which are potential referrals), and you get increased awareness and good feelings about the amount of communication. Additionally, if your neighbors get complaints, they usually end up calling us rather than you.
I'd suggest to the company completing your project that they at least mail out a flyer to your neighbors. Obviously not every company is going to be able to devote a person to come out and knock on doors like we do, but a flyer shouldn't be too hard to communicate.
If they are resistant to that idea, I'd suggest sending out a letter yourself, just informing them of your intent. That way, they feel acknowledged right off the bat, and there are clear lines of communication going forward.
There are a couple of different ways that you can find a reliable architect, designer, or design-build firm to design your new home.
The best way to find someone that you trust is usually word-of-mouth. Talk to people that you know who have built their own home, and see what type of process they used. Ask them what they liked best and least about the process, and learn from their mistakes. If they loved their architect, design-build firm, or contractor, that's a great place to start.
Other ways to find local design solutions for your new home would include seeking out local trade associations like the AIA chapter (if you're choosing to complete this using the design-bid-build method) for your local area, or the local NARI (for other solutions like design-build, designers, or contractors) chapter for your area.
Additionally, websites like GuildQuality can point you towards local resources, as well as other social media-oriented sites like Houzz which feature projects from local professionals. Angie's List can be hit or miss, as can Yelp, although they might give you a few ideas.
Keep in mind design-build firms as an alternative to hiring just an architect!
First, figure out how you are going to use the space. What works about your current kitchen that you would like to maintain? What drives you nuts, and how can you solve that? How you use the space will influence the design of it.
Secondly, take a look at what you can reasonably afford. If you have a very low budget, DIY options may be the way to go. If you have a bit more disposable income, you might look in to hiring either an architect, designer, or design-build company to take a look at the project for you and give you a solid design to base your work upon.
These people will get to know you and your space, and will be able to tailor a layout or design based on your needs and your desires. Some professionals will also cater that design to your budget (design-build firms usually specialize in this type of approach).
It can be really overwhleming to choose a contractor to work on your kitchen because there are so many different facets for a home-owner to consider. Here are some helpful tips that we have compiled to assist you in choosing a contractor for your next remodeling project: Tips for Hiring a Contractor
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