Taking that unused attic space and turning it into a studio, a den, an extra bedroom or a family room, can greatly increase the value of your home. In fact, according to Remodeling Magazine, an attic conversion (including adding a bedroom, bathroom and closet space) has a national average cost versus value rate of 82%. But a large scale remodeling project like this can also take time and potentially disrupt the rest of your home and family schedule. Depending on the extent of your attic remodel, your project may take anywhere between several weeks to a few months. Keeping your renovations on a designated schedule is ideal as project delays often cost the homeowner money. Having any work done on your home, even in the attic, can be very disruptive. So what can you do to help move things along and get the attic remodel done quickly and successfully?
The first step is to set a budget for your attic remodel, as costs and payments will play a role in your timeline. The national average cost of a mid-range attic bedroom conversion project is $49,438. This average cost may be higher than your own budget, and your actual costs will depend upon all elements involved in your renovations, such as labor costs, lighting and electrical components, materials and permitting.
1. Contract elements
When you select an experienced, local remodeling contractor to do any home remodel project, signing a contract will help ensure that all the details of the contract with the building specialist are covered. The contract should contain start and end dates, as well as material shipment times and dates. But start and end dates are only the beginning. The contract should clearly indicate milestones or checkpoint dates when you and the contractor will meet briefly to discuss the progress of the project. This keeps the lines of communication open and keeps your contractor accountable; use this meeting to find opportunities to review the plan and offer to help move things along. Try to create an open environment in these meetings where everyone is free to be candid, but respectful. Your contract should also outline guarantees for the workmanship and warranties on the products used for your attic remodel. Having all contract elements in place and understood will help you and your hired professional stay on time with renovations throughout the entire project duration.
2. Hire smart, finish on time
As the timeline is important to completing your project, it should also be an important factor as you look for a contractor. During your initial consultation, discuss the full scope of the project and ask the contractor to review the “what ifs” that might affect the timeline. For example, does your project require a permit and if so, what is the current wait time? In some cities, wait times can be up to 6 weeks or longer. Does the contractor have many other jobs going on at the same time? Be aware of the fact that the contractor could have several crews working on different job sites at once, and it’s not unheard of for them to leave your job and move to another job. Are any of your requested materials difficult to source or typically take long lead times? Understanding what is time-sensitive for your project up front will allow you to plan for it. Hiring a reliable professional can make a difference in the success of your project as your contractor will respect your timetable, budget, and home. Check references and explore previous projects done by your professional to ensure he or she performs the level of quality work you’re looking for.
3. Know what you want
Before beginning any construction or building, decide what you want done in your attic remodel. When you have a clear picture, your contractor can estimate time, materials, and cost accurately. If you change your mind and decide to add things like a bathroom or additional storage space after your contract is signed, extra time, labor, and materials will be required. This will throw off your previously determined schedule. If being flexible and creative is more important to you, just know that it could cost you time and money. Think of yourself as a partner with your contractor in getting your attic remodel finished in a timely manner. Two heads are better than one, and you might be able to anticipate certain challenges to the schedule, which the contractor has no way of thinking of, and vice versa. Staying invested in the project with your mind as well as your money can help ensure the results you want, when you want them.
Top Image Credit: Hyde Evans Design