Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Lake Living Consultants and a Contractor?
Your project or you can choose which services you want to hire us for. Perhaps you just need help understanding local codes and DEP regulations-we can do that.
Perhaps you want that plus some design work, some permitting work, some hiring of sub-contractors, etc-we can do any and all of that, too. The bottom-line is, you hire us by the hour to complete the work/provide the services you need help with. We will do as much or as little as you need to make your project an enjoyable experience that results in the lake home you are dreaming of.
Now, a Contractor works differently. Most will require that they maintain control of the entire project, start to finish, and will quote one, all-encompassing price up front. That price will then likely increase once the project is underway, as “change-orders” add up. Unlike our consultant hourly rate approach, you will find yourself locked in to a contract and a price that will not give you much, if any, flexibility. If you go this route, be sure you have checked references and are compatible with your contractor-it’s going to be a long relationship.
What is more cost-effective, a contractor with a set price or a consultant at an hourly fee?
That depends. If the contractor puts each piece of the project out to bid for competitive pricing, if you, your family and friends are not planning on doing any of the work and if you don’t make too many changes to your original plans along the way, we’ll probably end up close on pricing. However, if you are looking for a more flexible approach, have some skilled labor ready to help and want the freedom to make changes as you go while managing expenses effectively, we are probably your better option.
What if I can do some of the work myself or have family and friends who can? Say, for example, I am a plumber and want to do that part of the project myself?
With Lake Living Consultants, you can do just that. If you can do the plumbing, your spouse is a painter and your best friend is a finish carpenter who owes you, that’s great-put everyone to work! We’re here to help with the rest.
If you hire a Contractor, however, this is not likely going to be an option. Most contractors are not going to allow or guarantee/warranty a project unless they are hiring the sub-contractors to do the work. This enables them to control the schedule and quality of work but it often means you may not be getting the best price (a contractor often uses the same sub-contractors, rarely putting them out to bid for best price) and that you are picking up the 15-25% markup on labor and materials to cover the contractor’s time and profit margin.
How do we get started with Lake Living Consultants?
It’s easy - we come to you. We’ll meet you at your site to walk the land and then to spend time with you. We want to know what you want and how you plan to utilize your new home. We’ll then show you some of our past projects, have you talk to some of our clients and discuss how their projects evolved.
If we like what we see, how do we move to the project phase?
If you like our approach, we’ll sign an engagement letter that includes an agreed upon hourly rate. After that, give us some calculations that will help you maximize the potential of your property and do our best to include everything you are looking for in terms of design and functionality.
How does your billing work and how do we know how those billed hours are spent?
You will receive documentation detailing all work done at agreed upon intervals (bi-weekly, monthly, etc) and, if applicable, pictures of work completed to date, along with our bill. Again, this is not a contract and you can choose to alter the work requested or stop altogether at any time, whether for financial or other reasons.
We don’t live in the area and really need someone local to be on point for our project.
Lake Living Consultants is here to help. For homeowners not in the area, it’s difficult to secure local and state permitting, to hire quality sub-contractors and to oversee the project from afar. We can do all of that for you and we’ll keep those pictures coming so that you see it all remotely.
We’re new to living on a lake and new to home building. How do we get tips on both?
You’ve come to the right place. Lake Living Consultants specializes in both and we’re here to give you suggestions up front and along the way. We are life-long lake residents and appreciate how unique it is to live in this environment.
We think about things like positioning your home and windows to maximize sunrise or sunset views and privacy. We’ll remind you to design to accommodate future visits from children and grandchildren. We talk to you about roughing in for future air conditioning needs, for running wires for music or security systems. We may suggest running electrical conduits and water lines under the basement floor into your yard for a future outdoor cooking area. It is always more cost-effective to rough in during construction than to try and add on after completion. We never want to hear “why didn’t we think of that?”, so we’re here to suggest it early.
What makes you qualified to specialize in building around the lakes?
In addition to our lifelong affiliation with lake living and how to maximize that experience, we are DEP certified and work in partnership with the Code Enforcement Officers who enforce the regulations that are unique to the watershed. We are able to make your dream lake house real while meeting all regulations and maintaining the quality and integrity of the lakes.
We are not sure when we can start our project and are not sure if we can afford it all at once. How do we proceed?
The biggest thing Lake Living Consultants offers is flexibility. If your design and permitting work is done and you want to start building in the spring with a goal of being in by July, we can do that. On the other hand, if you want to keep the cost down and do some of the work yourself (or call in favors from friends), take your time and do that just that. If it takes 2-3 years-and you’re okay with that-it’s fine with us.