In-Home Estimates: Do I Need One for a Home Addition?

Do I need an in-home estimate?

An in-home estimate is when a contractor comes to your home to take a look at the project you want them to work on and give you an estimate for the cost of the project. This can be helpful if you're trying to get a ballpark figure from several contractors to be able to compare their prices, and gives the contractor a chance to convince you how their service will benefit you, regardless of whether or not you choose to have an in-home estimate.

Best approach to an in-home estimate

When it comes to hiring the right contractor for a job, the first step is prescreening a few to get answers to all of your questions – no matter how mundane you might think they are. You should always screen your contractors before scheduling a meeting. If they are unwilling to answer questions, are not accommodating, not customer service oriented, or seem like they do not know what they are talking about, then it is best to move on and look for someone else. After vetting several contractors with a simple phone interview, you then may want to invite the one that make the best fit for your needs to your home, or meet with them in person at their office, to get a better feel for them face-to-face. If you are closer to getting the ball rolling, the contractor will be happy to take time from his day to meet with you. The more time you spend developing a relationship with the right home addition contractor, the more comfortable you will feel that you’ve made the right choice in hiring them.

Pros and Cons of an In-Home Estimate

One benefit of an in-home estimate is the contractor can accurately assess the existing conditions to see what needs to be addressed. This can help them to provide a more accurate estimate. The contractor can also get a a better understanding of the owner’s conditions and requirements, which can help them to make better recommendations according to their expertise as a home addition contractor. A con of an in-home estimate is that it can be disruptive to the homeowner’s day. The contractor will need to move around the home and use tools which can be disruptive. Another con is that the homeowner may feel pressured to make a decision on the spot. Some of the best reasons to get an in-home estimate are because you can get a more accurate estimate and you are able to ask specific questions about the project. However, it is very time-consuming and requires the homeowner and the contractor to schedule time from their day. In-home estimates can be very inconvenient, especially when you have a busy schedule and responsibilities like finding someone to watch the kids, straightening up, or finding a place to put the dog. On top of that, the travel time and expense can be wasteful if you and the contractor are not a fit, and the meeting could have been avoided with a 5-minute phone call. Depending on your schedule, you may want to avoid scheduling to many in-home estimates until you are certain that the contractor you invite is a good fit for what you need.

Using an Online Home Addition Cost Calculator

Using an Online Home Cost Calculator can be a great way to get an estimate, but it all depends on where you’re at in the process. By using an online cost calculator, you remove all the unnecessary scheduling of appointments, and the constant back and forth calls that go on during the process. It's convenient, quick, more time effective, and it's easier to use as well. You also receive more frequent updates that are constantly changing and important in the current market. An online home cost calculator can be a convenient and accurate way to get an estimated cost for your home improvement or home addition. 

Pros and Cons of an Online Home Addition Cost Calculator

Many homeowners worry that they won't be able to get an accurate estimate for their home addition without meeting with a contractor in person. While it might not be possible to get an exact price without seeing your existing home, you can at least get a fairly accurate estimate from an online estimator, as well as detailed information on every aspect of your home additions. There are a few pros and cons to using an online home cost calculator. On the plus side, a well designed online calculator can give you a fairly accurate estimate of the total cost of your home addition. This can be helpful in making sure that you stay within your budget. On the downside, the results of an online calculator are only as accurate as the information that you input into it. This means that if you make a mistake when inputting your data, the results of your calculation will be inaccurate. There are many different cost calculators available, and not all of them are created equal. 

The Long and the Short of It

If you're just looking for a quick and easy estimate, then an online tool from a local builder or remodeler that offers such a feature on their website such as is probably your best bet. They can help with the vetting process or give you a general idea of what to expect for a budget. Ultimately, you will need to have a professional take a look at a property to get a final cost that goes on an agreement, but that's not an estimate. By embracing both free online tools and leveraging an expert’s assessment of your property through a screening call, you can quickly get an idea of their knowledge and a good idea of how much they would charge for you home addition. 

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