General Contractor & Home Addition FAQs

What does a general contractor do?

General contractors wear a lot of different hats over the course of a home improvement project.  Before taking on a home improvement project on your own consider some of these responsibilities that a contractor could take care of for you.

  • They act as the central contact on a project for many different professionals.  

    A general contractor does not generally have a staff that performs renovations, they usually call in multiple contracted professionals who are specialists in their trade. The general contractor acts as the communication point between you and all the contractors, allowing your time to be used to make design decisions instead of communicating with several different parties.

  • They ensure you are getting the best value for your money in what can be an unfamiliar industry.

    Despite watching hours of HGTV, most of us are not experts in the home renovation industry.  A general contractor is the expert.  They know how to get materials at the best cost, they know the best contractors to pull in for particular work, they have experience acquiring building permits.

  • They help acquire necessary permits.  

    Permitting can become a huge headache when building or renovating any home, older homes in particular.  General contractors have the knowledge about what permits are required for your job and the experience to get them as quickly as possible.

  • They keep the project on schedule and moving forward.

    This may be the most important thing that general contractors do.  General contractors are the conductors of your renovation, they create the schedule for the entire project.  They make sure permits, materials and workers all come in on time and on budget.  They smooth over small problems that arise during the course of the project.  Most of all they give you peace of mind that the job is being done on time, on budget, and is being done to the highest quality possible.

What should I consider when hiring a general contractor in Raleigh?

There are so many options for general contractors in the Raleigh area, but how do you know if they are going to be the best option for your project? Here are a few things to think about before hiring a general contractor.

  • Does the contractor have a credible reputation and online presence?

    Check review sites and personal testimonials from previous customers. Be sure to look for examples of previous work, including photos, of projects similar to yours.

  • What is the size/scale of your project?

    You will want a general contractor on most projects that involve multiple contractors or take more than two weeks to complete.

  • Is the general contractor licensed and insured to work in your area?  

    Working with an insured contractor in Raleigh ensures that you are protected in case of an accident or property damage.  Without a licensed contractor the homeowner may be liable for those costs out of pocket.

  • Does the contractor specialize in any particular area or project type?

    Specialization in and experience with your specific project type is a big plus in a general contractor.  It means they know exactly what it takes to execute a project and often for the best price; from the best contract workers to hire, to the best deals on materials.

  • How much does the contractor cost?

    When it comes to general contractors, price can sometimes reflect quality.  However, be wary and don’t be fooled by a very low or very high price tag.  At Old Oak we take the time to talk to each of our clients about their project and work on a custom quote based on how much they are comfortable investing in a remodel.

  • Do you connect on a personal level?

    You will be working very closely with the general contractor, so it is important to communicate smoothly and be able to trust them to execute your vision.

Should I get a home addition in Raleigh?

When considering a home addition there are so many factors to weigh, both personal and economical. Here are a few considerations to add to your list.

  • Additional Value

    Adding to your current home allows you to stay in your familiar area and increase the value of your home.

  • Current Property Value

    Are you currently located in an established Raleigh neighborhood like Glenwood South, Five Points, Oakwood, Hayes Barton Historic District or Boylan Heights?  These neighborhoods all have high property values and are in high demand.  The phrase “location, location, location” is often heard in real estate and it rings true in home renovations as well.  You can always add on to a property that is located in a prime neighborhood.

  • Time & Expense

    Consider time and expenses associated with moving versus the relative ease of adding to your existing home.  Old Oak construction can complete a home addition in as little as 8 weeks depending on the size and complexity of the addition.  

  • Project Type   

    Is this a ground floor or second-floor addition? Could the space be added as a standalone structure? Are you adding a sunroom or a fully functional kitchen?  These projects are all priced differently and come with different complications. Determining the scope of your project should be one of the first things you think about when considering a home addition.

What to consider when remodeling an older or historic home in Raleigh?

  • What technology and materials will need to be updated or replaced?  

    Updating older technology and building materials can be costly.  Always make sure to have a home inspection to check for common faults due to age such as deteriorating roofing, lead paint, electrical wiring problems, asbestos and more.

  • Can you salvage the bones?

    Look for structural bones that can be restored beautifully but would be costly to build new.  This includes hardwood flooring, original fixtures, and craftsman finishes.  

  • What modern updates do you need to make?

    Modern updates can be costly.  For example, many old homes are not equipped with a standing shower or a large farmhouse sink.  Determine if those upgraded fixtures are important to you and make sure to account for them in your budget.

  • What is the value of the character of the building?

    The character and charm that comes with hand-crafted work can be hard to find in even the most expensive new builds, especially in the Raleigh area.  It is much easier to restore the original beauty to a well-built, charming older home than it is to try to instill a craftsman feeling in a new build.

  • What is the community like?

    Many times older Raleigh homes are located in an established community with all the benefits that come with time such as established landscaping, good schools and active community programs. These bonuses can make a remodel well worth the time and money.

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