Adding a second bathroom to our 1200 sq ft 3/1 home has been a dream of ours since closing day back in 2011. It was a little scary getting started on a project this large (notice the 7 year delay?) especially since it would be our first time working with a builder. We met with 5 different builders of the course of 2 years before finally taking the plunge (unintentional pun there). Now, I wouldn't say our whole process was flawless or perfect but a) we didn't have to fire our contractor and b) he didn't run off with our money and c) he finished the job. Any project that comes to total completion at the agreed upon budget is a WIN in my book. Now, if we had the money we would have used one of the more well-known builders in our community. You know...the big name companies with the stunning Instagram feeds. But unfortunately, those guys have a waiting list and a big price tag. If you were like us and are forced to shop around and find a builder with less overhead then here are some tips for you!
(Disclaimer-we did all the design work ourselves because thankfully Jarrod has experience in this department. I definitely recommend hiring a designer to help lay out your space. It's so much more than picking finishes, it takes a TON of planning & attention to detail!)
Don't be afraid to meet with several builders and collect several quotes. Pay attention to how detailed and professional their quotes are. One builder sent us an email 24 hours later with nothing listed but the price. NOTHING. Just a number. And it was twice as high as the last guy. He obviously didn't want our business, so obviously we would not be using his.
Notice how they communicate during the quoting process. Are they hard to get in touch with? Do they answer texts, calls, emails? This was one of the main things that attracted us to our builder. He was easy to get in touch with, he had a partner who was also easy to access and he kept the ball rolling with communication.
Find a builder who works on a payment system. Don't EVER EVER EVER EVER pay a contractor for the entire job up front. Our builder split the total price into 4 installments and we didn't pay the last installment until the punch list was complete. This encourages and motivates the builder to finish the project quickly and efficiently.
Ask for references and images of previous projects. A builder that is known for not completing jobs is not going to want to give you references. If they are willing to showcase their work and offer references, this is good sign.
Lay your expectations on the table before you begin the project. When we met, we discussed the things that were most important to us - design and cost. We wanted to purchase the finishes ourselves. It gave us freedom to find better deals and better designs. We could not limit ourselves to items in stock at the big box hardware stores. We gave grace on the timeline because we wanted things done correctly. We had waited 6 years for this bathroom so what's 4 months more? And since it was an addition, it wasn't happening in a part of the house where we frequented...therefore it didn't affect our daily lives.
Thanks for reading! I'll be doing a couple more posts on this bathroom space - like how we chose our West Elm accent lighting and a post dedicated to all our IKEA hacks (the floating shelves and waterfall counter are remnant pieces from our countertops!). For now, I'll leave you with links to a few of the items we used in our space!
Vanity Countertops & floating shelves: IKEA Karlby kitchen countertop in oak
Cabinet Pulls: IKEA OSTERNAS leather handle
Vanity Pendants: West Elm Sculptural Glass Globe Pendant
Sink Faucet: Delta Trinsic in Matte Black
Shower Trim: Delta Trinsic in Matte Black