Homeowners New Project Checklist

Thinking about building a custom home or upgrading your current home?

Here are a few things to think about before you get started:

Location: different governments and regulations govern the building codes in different areas, see which ones apply to you.
What is the zoning where you want to do the work?
Will the project require a permit? (Almost everything does!)
Will you need a drawing? Who will do it, an architect or contractor? The more complex the project and detailed the drawing, the more it will cost but the more accurate and complete the bids will be.
Who will do the work? You really will want a licensed contractor. Two excellent websites are those of the City of San Diego (http://www.sandiego.gov/development-services.com) and the State of California Contractors License Bureau (http://www.clsb.ca.gov). The information on these two sites is exceptional. You can even look up the specific contractor to make certain he or she is licensed for the type of project you need.
You really want three bids. IF your drawings are complete, and IF you make NO changes, there will be NO surprises. The project should come in on budget.
Do not pay the full project in advance! State law provides for a maximum of a 10% deposit, if required, in advance. And, always hold back approximately 10% until after the inspector (city or county) signs off the project. Once the project is signed off, pay the final balance.
Whether you live in the City of San Diego or not, use their website as a guide for your building and remodeling project. It is thorough, it is good, and it is free. The State of California site demonstrates and explains the necessary written agreements which you must have, and allows you to look up the individual contractors by name or license. Make certain they are qualified for the type of project you need.