As CCMI nears the end of our lengthy office remodel, we have been reflecting on what went well, what could have gone better, and what we could have done differently. We thought we’d share with you some lessons we learned during our remodel as they likely would apply to most home or office remodeling projects and perhaps these lessons will be helpful to you one day:
- Not every vendor moves at your pace. While our project did not face many delays, the delays in the process often were simply due to vendors not responding in a timely manner or not having things in stock when we needed them. Even if we had planned everything perfectly, delays that were beyond our control would still have occurred.
- Sometimes the delay is you (us). Some decisions are very hard to make and take time to consider, or you simply can’t make up your mind. These delays can have ripple effects throughout a project. While others might slow you down, know that you will likely also slow things down. It’s always better to take time to carefully consider important decisions than rush through them to meet an artificial deadline.
- The choices made during the planning stage may look and feel differently by the time they are fully constructed. Visualizing the space with an architect, selecting textures, colors and furniture is a painstaking process, but eventually you get to the point where you like how it all looks on the computer screen and on paper. However, there is something about seeing it in person and getting a real feel for a room or a piece of furniture that can’t be replicated in the design phase. This can lead to last minute changes that no one expected. While all plans can and do change, know that it is likely to happen in your project. Build potential for change into the budget and timeline from the beginning.
- As always, plan ahead. It is impossible to foresee every challenge that will emerge with a remodel, but planning ahead will pay off in the end. If you leave yourself with options and alternatives, you’ll find when the project slows down or when a new issue emerges, you’ll be able to adapt more easily. For example, knowing that our project could face delays, we made sure we had plenty of time available to be in our temporary office space, but we also built in an option to leave the temporary space early if delays didn’t materialize. Also, have multiple ways to continue working (or living) during a remodel. For us, this was the direct result of ensuring that our technology would allow us to work from any location: home or office during the entire remodel.
- Some decisions are final, others are not. In the flowchart of any major project, some decisions have long range impact while others do not. Knowing which decisions will have the greatest impact on your schedule will allow you identify potential problems before they arise and minimize delays. For example, a wall can always be repainted, but the location of light fixtures and power outlets are much harder to move as many other pieces of infrastructure are geared around those items being in their exact locations.
- Check in regularly to keep tabs on construction progress. No one knows your vision of the project better than you, so being onsite with the builders is always helpful. We tried to have eyes on our project every day, and almost every time we visited the space, we answered questions and clarified our vision for the space. Had we not been there, some of those questions may have never been asked or answered. Even though architectural plans are very thorough, they don’t address every single detail and there is no way to replace that direct interaction to achieve the vision without being onsite regularly.
- Communicate regularly with your builder. If there are questions, ask them early and often. Like all relationships, communication is key. We had excellent lines of communication with our builder and it allowed us and them to work very productively. Identify and agree upon the best ways to reach one another at the start of the project.
- It always helps to get multiple opinions. For those tough decisions, ask for help and get different perspectives on a decision. Someone else may offer a different viewpoint that allows you to turn a hard decision into an easy one. Or if all else fails, take a vote from multiple interested parties.
- If you have to talk yourself into it, it isn’t right choice. When making the many decisions that are required in a remodel project, you may find that you have to talk yourself into something. What we found is that we were talking ourselves into a few things that deep down we really wanted to change despite the extra time and effort it would require.
We hope that some of our lessons learned may be helpful to you as you approach your next home or office remodel. We are excited to share our new space with our wonderful clients!
CCMI provides personalized fee-only financial planning and investment management services to business owners, professionals, individuals and families in San Diego and throughout the country. CCMI has a team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professionals who act as fiduciaries, which means our clients’ interests always come first.
How can we help you?