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Frequently Asked Questions

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What differentiates Renovations by Starr Homes from a standard remodeling contractor?
  • There are a lot of contractors and start up companies out there to choose from, however our depth of understanding and years of both building and remodeling expertise will enhance your entire experience. 
  • Our attention to detail is very important to us and really sets us apart from what is standard and accepted by many homeowners and contractors.
  • Unlike many contractors and builders, you will find that our process and presentation starting from the initial sense of cost all the way through the project is highly organized, very transparent, easy to understand what you are getting and what we are doing for you.
  • We excel at anticipating our clients’ needs and knowing what it takes to achieve complete designs and pricing which is very important to avoid costly changes down the road.  For example, we have heard from other peoples bad experiences that “I wish that contractor would have had the experience and the know how to inform
    me sooner of what that was going to cost, because I would have done it differently”.  Or, “I wish someone would have informed me that my design idea wasn’t going to work…look bad, unplanned, cost a fortune, etc”  Our ability to recognize and solve these challenges puts us in a better position to help you.
  • We have established long term relationships with high quality vendors.
  • Our years of established work history and the security of knowing that we will be around for years to come.
  • Many of our clients view us as their “Builder for Life”.  We have several repeat clients and have developed many friendships and close bonds with the community.
Is my project too big or too small?
  • Every project is unique, and we are capable of building and constructing just about anything you can imagine or have seen. 
  • We enjoy a challenge and welcome large-scale projects with the ability to finish in any level of detail. 
  • We probably are not your best fit if you are only looking to re-face your powder bath cabinets, or just remodel a small space, however we would love to know what you are considering doing to your property and if we may be a good fit for each other.
How long does the design process typically take?
  • We want every process to feel efficient and timely for your experience.
  • In most cases with the client committing time for design, we can typically design and price a large-scale renovation in about 1-2 months--that is, if the architecture is complete, most selections are made, and bids are locked in with our family of vendors.
  • A client’s time and decision making is a factor.  Many clients are busy with occupation, family, etc, so access to you is key to timeliness.
  • Design can sometimes take a bit longer depending on the level of detail requested by the client or the level of complexity involved.
  • Changes and revisions will be the number one reason for taking more time than typical. Sometimes couples need help aligning their separate ideas into one design that works.
How long will my project take to complete?
  • Once the project is figured out, most whole home remodels/additions take 4-6 months. 
  • Smaller projects such as kitchens, master baths or basement finishes can take less time, however complexity and level of detail are always a factor.
  • Most interior remodeling is predictable, however exterior elements are always subject to the weather conditions.
  • The primary cause of delays or increased timelines are changes in scope of work – It is very normal to change your mind on something as it is being built and you start to see it come together.  However, each item that is changed or designed differently after the project starts directly impacts your schedule.
  • We do our best to show you the timeline upfront with a construction calendar.  However, not every project is cut and dry and may involve a lot of complexity, so there
    are times where the construction calendar may be a bit more fluid.
  • We dedicate ample time to wrap up all the final details so that you don’t have to move into a job site with workers doing punch lists for weeks, ruining your experience. 
    We want your entire experience to be great!
How do we avoid budget overages?
  • The key way to stay on track with a budget is working with an experienced interior designer. Often you can achieve similar looks with very different price points to get there.  Interior designers know where to shop and often help value engineer your selections when you have a budget in mind.
  • Changes in scope after we start is the number one reason for budget increases.
  • The more you have designed and detailed prior to starting a project is an assured way to not have budget surprises later.
  • Go with a contractor that knows what they are doing can also help!
Can the cost go up after we start?
  • Yes, the project cost can always go up for several reasons.
  • The single biggest increase is historically caused by allowance overages or changes in scope after we start.  For example, a client may decide to add other areas into the project.
  • Weather can be a factor at times, especially with outdoor projects.
  • Materials are subject to increases periodically as construction materials historically follow the inflation rate.
  • At times during deconstruction of areas, we can find structural/cosmetic issues or deterioration that need to be resolved.
Can we bring in our own architect?
  • Sure! 
  • We work with many architectural firms and welcome new ones. 
  • We do suggest having us as a partner in the design process, particularly when you have a budget number in mind. 
  • Many clients have us recommend an architect that we work with frequently. 
What if I prefer to design it myself without an interior designer’s assistance?
  • Some clients in the past have successfully designed and decorated their own project.  There are a lot of risks that come with designing it alone. 
  • Most clients who attempt to do this often regret their selection choices after everything is said and done. 
  • We recommend having an interior designer to assist you in making selections.  Interior design is one of the most critical and valuable investments to any remodeling project. 
  • Interior designers are key to keeping the project running smoothly. Their ideas may help to control cost at times and get the look you are wanting.
  • Although it seems easy to pick this and that, bringing the whole project together can be more time consuming and challenging then most people bargain for, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle.
Can we start the project without blueprints or interior designs?
  • One of the worst mistakes a contractor or a client can do in a remodel project is start demolishing and removing things without a plan. 
  • It is possible to start sooner as long as key selections and designs are finalized such as cabinets, appliances, plumbing fixtures and fireplaces.  However, you will find that many design elements even influence framing.  It is much better to have more complete designs before starting.
  • When you start without designs somewhat finalized, there is no way to predict what your budget will be.
  • A remodeling permit can only be issued with approved plans and engineering if applicable.
  • Without complete designs, there is no way to predict how long your project will take.  We hesitate to get involved in projects where we design on the fly
    because of the stress and fire drills that come from operating on a reaction basis vs. proactively executing a good game plan.  Plus, it is a recipe for delays that impact
    our profitability and, in the end, cost you more.
  • The biggest problem that can arise, is assuming what a project will cost, then be surprised and run out of money by the time everyone figures it out!  Then what?
Are we able to live in the home during the renovation?
  • In many cases, you can however there are many things to consider. 
  • Health, allergies and asthma are things to consider as it relates to dust or fumes.  Toxic materials such as paint, enamel and flooring finish occur at various times throughout the project. There is no way to occupy a remodeled home 100% of the time, risk free of health hazards.
  • We take multiple steps in containing dust; however, it is impractical to expect 100% containment of all dust.  For example, we use air scrubbers, filter fabric on the intake ducts to avoid allowing unnecessary dust into your HVAC system.  And we regularly replace the furnace filters on the main HVAC units. This helps; however, some fine dust will still get into occupied areas of the home, in which case we prefer you have your own cleaner take care of areas that are occupied.
  • The noise of construction can be bothersome to everyone including pets and children, and many tradesmen start early and work into the evening.  Most communities allow 7am-7pm work hours Monday through Saturday. However, typical workdays for us are Monday-Friday 8am-5pm.
  • Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC can be shut off periodically during construction as areas are re-worked in the home.
  • We prefer to install temporary walls for security and dust containment in situations where clients reside in the home during the remodel.
  • Most clients who we have spoken to that have endured living through a remodel with other contractors swear they’ll never do it again.  We try to make the process as
    painless as possible!  Our clients greatly appreciate our level of care and thoughtfulness in the way we communicate and treat their home during the process.  It is most ideal in a whole home remodel to vacate the property and move back into the newly remodeled home.
Can we supply our own materials, fixtures, trades or self-perform work during the remodel?
  • Yes, we are happy to work with new vendors and materials you would like to incorporate into the project. 
  • We have made many successful relationships with new vendors over the years through clients who brought a good vendor into the project.
  • In some rare cases, we have had clients perform some of the construction items of their own project, however typically this is few and far between.  Even if someone is
    a gifted artisan, they typically are busy and would rather relax and watch it all come together.  How much is your time worth?
  • There are some precautions to consider when you bring in your own vendor or perform work.  We can only ensure our work and trades we have verified, trusted
    relationships with. 
  • If a trade you bring into the project doesn’t pay their supplier, you could be responsible for liens a supplier could impose on your property.  And if a subcontractor
    you bring into the project damages something on the job or injures someone, you could be responsible as well.  Time delays and added scope could develop in some cases due to a vendor that we have not developed a time-tested relationship with working on your project.
  • If one of your vendors fail to maintain proper insurance and licensing, there could be draw backs you could be liable for as well.
  • We charge a contracting fee on all improvements to the property including items and work from vendors you may bring to the table because we are ultimately responsible for the final product.
  • Our preference is to use our trusted vendors 100% of the time, however we are flexible.
What if I direct trades or subcontractors myself vs. the project manager?
  • You’ll find many of our tradesmen to be friendly and helpful and will likely interact with them throughout the project. However, when it comes to directing trades, our team should be the one to communicate the message. 
  • If something is communicated or mis-communicated to a trades person that we are unaware of, then we cannot effectively manage that activity.  And at times information can be misconstrued, or things get constructed out of sequence or incorrectly as a result. To avoid mistakes, re-work and frustration for everyone involved, we recommend that anything that needs communicated with our vendors is delivered by us.  That’s why you hired us!
How is Renovations by Starr Homes compensated?
  • We typically use Cost Plus contracts meaning that we add a fee to any job costs.  The contracting fee is our primary source of revenue and how we stay in business.  As the general contractor and the person ultimately responsible for the final product, we add our fee to every item on the project.  As a general contractor we inherit all the risk if something gets damaged.
  • One of the ways we benefit you as a cost-plus contractor is by extending our contractor discounts to you as a client.  As a custom home builder and remodeling
    contractor, our volume discounts can be substantial, and in some cases equalize or greatly reduce the amount of contractor fee we charge.  Likely, you will pay more if you use a smaller contractor or shop retail prices. 
When can you start?
  • We have several clients in design phase which helps us balance our workload with our team. 
  • Projects that are designed and ready to go receive the highest priority.
  • We will plan on a start date that makes sense for both of us when we establish a contract.
How can I accelerate the timeline and get my project done quicker?
  • There could be several factors driving this question.  Perhaps an upcoming holiday, life circumstances or simply wanting it done fast. 
  • The more detailed and complete your selections are, the better your project will stay on schedule.
  • High levels of complexity and finishes take more time than standard finishes or what you typically see in homes. If a standard remodel takes 6 months to complete, adding high levels of complexity and finishes may extend the project by several months.
  • We benefit the most if we can finish your project without any delays, therefore we are motivated to finish your project quickly without sacrificing quality. 
  • We take a lot of pride in our finish quality and sometimes if the project moves too quickly, the quality can start to diminish.  So, our best advice is to not expect things to be done like an extreme home make over.  TV programs can be exciting to watch when you see everything move at lightning speed, however much of that is clever editing and not realistic among the remodeling community.  With our level of quality, and the quality you likely will expect, our craftsmen and artisans need their time in there to do it right. 
  • One way to speed up a project is for Renovations by Starr Homes to commit more management to the project which is an increased expense.  However, you can’t rush paint or finishes on their cure times, so there are phases that take time.