Guest Blogger: Diane Menke, VP/Operations Manager of Myers Constructs, Inc. Diane Menke (left) and Tamara Myers (right) are the co-owners and principals of Myers Constructs, Inc., an award-winning design to build firm serving the greater Philadelphia region. A certified Women Business Enterprise, Myers Constructs is also a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, NARI, and NKBA.
Advice For Contractors When Working With Home Buyers Considering Renovations
The Construction Pro: A Key Player in the Home-Buying Process
Most people who are in the market for buying a home that is in need of renovation are not home-construction experts — and they don't know what the various necessary upgrades will cost them. That's why it makes sense for them to reach out to a reputable local construction expert for information before they make a property purchase. We get calls from people in this position often.
This is the advice we give them:
- Their real estate agent should provide them with comparable values for the property they are considering. The agent should also tell them where that prospective property may be lacking, in terms of value and sale-ability. For example, does it have enough bathrooms? Does it have updated systems, finishes, and appliances? What other features should it have to compete with the highest priced comps in the area?
- Once they find a property they want to put a serious offer on, they should reach out to a building professional for some assistance in developing their renovation budget. That budget should be weighed against what the comps and the offer will be. If they do not yet have a relationship with that construction pro, they should expect to compensate them for their time. A good carpenter might bill them $70/hour; a design-build pro might run $120/hour or more. Small structural repairs and a bathroom refit with no design might be perfect for the carpenter, while a complicated project like a kitchen or addition require a design/build professional who has experience in those types of projects.
- Most property buyers do not need to have full plans and exact budgets to formulate their offer. If they come away from the discussions with a ballpark range of expected costs — with a 10-15% cushion added for contingencies that might be found once walls are opened up — they should be in good shape to make an offer.
- Once they close on a property purchase, we encourage them to reach out to those same construction pros and offer them the work on their new home. In this way, they will develop mutual trust with a valuable ally on their wealth-building team.