A recent article written by one of our San Diego Remodeling competitors states that if a company offers a free design, you will get what you pay for, and also claims that the fees are hidden in the overall cost. This makes no sense, since many design/build contractors have their own licensed architect on staff, the homeowner is under no obligation, and a firm price including all fees is quoted up front.
In the same article, this San Diego Home Remodeling company claims that they provide specific costs for six different concepts at the first meeting with clients. It is obvious that the homeowner pays for that in the price of construction. Do you really need 6 different designs? If the contractor listens to your needs and budget, a well developed plan will be presented to you the first time. You will also have the opportunity to actively contribute to any modifications
San Diego Home Remodeling companies that charge for a design, do so in order to take the buyer off the street by collecting a sizable non-refundable fee. Typically the retainer agreement states that the design is property of the contractor. This gives the builder all the leverage because if the price comes in too high, and the homeowner decides not to complete the project, they lose considerable time and/or their investment.
Paying for design work gives you no guarantee that your budgetary goals will be met nor does it prevent the contractor from increasing the price by issuing change orders as the plans and scope of work is developed or during construction.
Frequently homeowners tell us they paid a design fee, and the price escalated out of affordability. Even though they paid a fee, the design remained in the hands of the contractor.
For home remodeling in San Diego, I recommend choosing a company that will provide you a no cost design and an accurate quote. The company should have a licensed architect on staff to further develop the space plan, elevations, structural and construction details. You are an active participant in this process, and approve every step.