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The Process

  • How long does a remodel take?

    Some steps of the remodeling process are consistent regardless of your project, others are dependent upon the scale and scope of the remodel or addition.

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    • Design Phase

      Design: 2-3 months
      The first step in any remodel is to define the project. This stage involves working through design concepts and determining what best suits your needs and your budget. This time period may be longer or shorter depending on how you align with your designer.

    • Architecture, Permits & Procurement

      Architecture, Permits & Procurement: 2-3 months
      The blueprint, permitting, and product purchasing phase is next, which is when all the details of your project are finalized. In this phase, you’ll review blueprints for your remodel or home addition and make finish selections. This time period has the potential to be extended by the permitting process, which is largely dependent on the capacity of your village’s building and zoning department.

    • Construction

      Construction: 2-6 months
      Construction is when it all becomes real. To minimize as much time in your home as possible, materials are ordered prior to the beginning of demolition, and a timeline of construction will give you a good sense of when your remodel will be completed. Daily communication from your Superintendent will keep you informed on the progress of your remodel.

  • What are the steps in the process? How do I buy a remodel?

    Most people only undertake a major remodel once or twice in their lives, so it’s understandable that it gets a bit fuzzy when you try to uncover what actually happens when you decide to remodel. The remodeling process can be broken down into three distinct phases: Design, Planning & Approval, and Construction.

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    • Design:

      The conceptual design phase is when you work out what you envision for your home and how it works with your budget. This phase involves several meetings with a designer to work through potential design revisions or options until you find a solution that checks all the boxes.

    • Planning & Approval:

      After a design has been created, it’s time to finalize your colors, products, and materials so we can draw up blueprints and submit them for permits. You will meet with your designer at one of Normandy’s Design Studios to make your selections, as well as have an additional meeting to review the final blueprints. Normandy will handle all the purchasing of materials and submittal of permits.

    • Construction:

      Once materials have been ordered and your permit is approved, you will meet with your construction Superintendent to get ready to begin construction. Your Superintendent will provide you with a construction timeline to give you a general sense of how construction may progress. Skilled tradespeople will come into your home to methodically and carefully create your new space. Your Superintendent will be in contact with you every day to keep you updated on the progress of construction and answer any questions you may have.

  • What is Livable Remodeling?

    We know that living through a remodel can be a challenge, after all your home is being ripped apart and put back together again while you live there. At Normandy, we don’t build new homes or do commercial work, we work exclusively in people’s homes to remodel them—most of the time, while people are still living there during construction. We’ve learned a few ways to make that experience easier on our customers and we’ve got a big focus on creating a “Livable Remodeling” experience for our customers.

    Our job site is your home, something we strive to never lose sight of. We know that you have better things to do than to babysit your remodel, which is why we’ve put several processes in place to simplify your life as your home is being transformed.

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    • Plastic walls/temporary doors

      Living in a work zone can be a challenge, especially if you have children or pets in the house. We do our best to divide the workspace with physical barriers such as plastic walls and temporary doors, to minimize the dust and disruption to the rest of your home.

    • Daily emails

      Knowledge is power, and with the uncertainty that most people feel while living through a remodel, there is a heft amount of comfort that you can gain from a simple email. Every weekday evening once construction has begun, you’ll receive an email from your Superintendent, with a recap of what’s happened, and what you can expect in the coming days. Even if you’re away from the home during the day, it helps keep you abreast of changes and progress, which can be very helpful during phases when things don’t appear to be visually changed, but many important small milestones are being reached.

    • Lockbox

      There will be many skilled tradespeople who will lend their talents to make your project a successful remodel, sometimes they will arrive in the morning, other times they will not be in your home until the afternoon. The last thing we want for our customers is to feel that they need to be at home at all times to let people in or get them settled, so we use a lockbox on your job site to make it simpler for the right person to get in to do their work, without disrupting your schedule.

    • Build Clean

      Dust is an inevitable result of remodeling, and we do all we can to minimize its impact. Barrier walls and blocking vents can go a long way from keeping the dust from invading the rest of your home, but a Build Clean Air Scrubber actually does the work of removing dust particles from the air. With HEPA filtration, these machines are onsite whenever dust is being created. While you’ll never eliminate all the dust in your home from a remodel, an air scrubber goes a long way in minimizing its effects.

    • Blocking off heat vents

      Whether it’s during the chilly days of winter or the scorching days of summer, we rely on our heating and cooling systems to keep our homes comfortable. But in forced-air systems, it’s also an opportunity for dust to travel from the work zone throughout the rest of your home. To minimize the invasion of dust throughout the rest of your house, we block both the heat and return air vents in the workspace, which helps keep the dust from circulating through your furnace and into other rooms of your home.

    • Port-A-Potty

      It’s the kind of thing you may not think about until you’re in the middle of a remodel, but going through a renovation isn’t like hosting guests in your home. People are here to work, and you’re living your life side-by-side. To minimize the impact on your family’s daily lives, all job sites have a portable toilet temporarily installed outside, so that tradespeople have a space for themselves, and your family can keep your restrooms for your use only.

    • Professional cleaning

      The end of your remodel is so sweet, and after the long days of waiting for it to be finished, you’re anxious to get into your new space and start enjoying. To make that transition easier and more enjoyable for you, we have a professional cleaning crew come through and do a thorough cleaning of your new space at the end of the project. There’s nothing left for you to do but to move in and enjoy.

  • Is someone working at my home every day?

    It is so exciting to finally have your long-awaited remodel underway. You can’t wait until it’s completed so you can enjoy your new space. In order to provide you with the best quality remodel, we work with skilled tradespeople that are specialists in their field. The electricians, plumbers, tile setters, and carpenters that will be in your home are some of the best in the business, and because of that, there are times we may need to wait a day or two for them to be available. Additionally, there are times when one step must be completed before another can begin, which can cause delays. For example, countertops are not measured and ordered until cabinetry is installed. This is an expected period of time when nobody else will be working on your project, and it has been factored into your timeline. Waiting for a custom item to be fabricated, or for the right tradesperson to complete a project, is almost always in your best interest. While work may not be happening in front of you at your home, that doesn’t mean that your job is idle. Normandy works almost exclusively in homes where people are living through a remodel, so we are always doing everything we can to keep your remodel moving along as quickly and skillfully as possible.

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Your Project Team

  • Do I pick a designer? How?

    With so many talented people on the Normandy Design team, it can seem like finding the right Designer is just one more hurdle standing between you and your remodel. Fortunately, we are able to help you find a great match with a designer who is knowledgeable about the project you’re considering and who is likely to be a good fit for you. All it takes is a brief conversation when setting up your appointment. With a few skilled questions, we’ll be able to help you make your perfect match. If you’re someone who prefers to take matters into your own hands, you’re more than welcome to review the bios of the different members of our design team to find someone with whom you think you would work well. Many of the designers are also active on social media with links on their bio pages, and we’re certain you’ll be able to find someone that’s a great fit.

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  • What about tradespeople?

    There is something truly fantastic about working with people who are skilled in their craft and take pride in their work. We feel it is so important that the right people do the right projects for your remodel, which is why we rely on the talents of specialists for your renovation. The Electricians, Plumbers, Tile Setters, Carpenters, and so many others who lend their talents to your remodel are what set your home apart from the rest and give us the confidence to stand behind the work with a 5-year warranty. The relationships we cultivate with these tradespeople are built slowly over time, but they’re strong and long-lasting. It takes a thorough vetting process with close supervision to become a Normandy-associated Tradesperson. Once we’ve found someone who is not only good at what they do but is also delightful to work with and cares about the work they create, it’s a partnership that lasts decades. Some companies work with the lowest bidder to remodel or build, but we wouldn’t dream of it. Loyal, long-lasting relationships have been the cornerstone of our business for over 40 years, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Payments and Financing

  • How much does it cost?

    It is arguably the most common question we encounter when people are contemplating a remodel—how much will it cost? Unlike many of the other things you can purchase these days, remodeling doesn’t lend itself to being easily comparison shopped, and seemingly small changes can have a big impact on the price. While we can’t give you a firm price without actually working through a design with you, we can give you some tips that might help you figure out which ballpark you’ll find yourself in for your addition or remodel:

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    • How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?

      The price of a kitchen remodel varies substantially based on the size of the kitchen, age of your home, and the finishes you choose. It’s possible then to have a very expensive small kitchen, or a very affordable large kitchen. There are some useful resources that can be helpful in determining a possible cost range for your kitchen. Remodeling Magazine provides some useful insight by surveying remodelers across the country, then providing specific regional data for how much a kitchen might cost. Their annual Cost vs Value report is cited often by national media outlets, with current cost ranges for a kitchen remodel tending to be somewhere between $80,000 and $100,000.

    • How much does it cost to remodel a bathroom?

      Bathroom remodels will consistently surprise you with their price. Since they are small in scale, there’s an expectation that the cost would be proportional to the size of the room. But, given that much of the expense of a remodel lies in the labor cost, the only true savings for the size is often in the tile floor or perhaps the cabinetry. In fact, a bathroom remodel requires just as many skilled tradespeople as a kitchen and has expensive fixtures and elements in the space. According to the national survey done by Remodeling Magazine in their Cost vs Value report, it’s not uncommon for a primary bathroom (previously referred to as the master bathroom) in the Chicago area to cost in the neighborhood of $92,000 to remodel.

    • How much does a home addition cost?

      The varied price for a home addition is perhaps one of the most understandable to be difficult to pin down. Aside from the size of the addition, it matters what will be going in that new space. For example, a new bathroom or enlarged kitchen will cost more than just expanding a family room, simply because there are more materials in the room that’s being built. If your addition will include a kitchen or a bathroom, you may want to consider the prices we’ve shared for how much it costs for a kitchen or a bathroom remodel, to be used as a starting point. Some spaces are so commonly chosen as home additions though, that our friends at Remodeling Magazine cover them in their annual Cost vs Value report. They suggest that a midrange primary suite addition that includes a bedroom, bathroom and closet may cost $202,757.

  • How do I pay for a remodel?
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    • Cash

      Arguably the most straightforward of all the payment options, paying for your remodel with cash—or a check—means you’ve saved up to cover the cost of the renovation. You simply make payments at the various milestones as your project is completed.

    • HELOC

      A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is very similar to a Home Equity Loan. A bank will evaluate the amount you still owe on your mortgage, compared to your home’s value. They typically will allow you to borrow 80-90% of your home’s value, less than what’s owed for your existing mortgage, and the difference will be your available Home Equity Line of Credit. For example, let’s say your home is valued at $500,000 and you owe $250,000 on your mortgage. If you take 80% of your home’s value ($500,000 * 80%) that gives you a total amount available to leverage of $400,000. Subtract the remaining mortgage balance ($400,000 - $250,000) and you find that your total available Home Equity Line of Credit is up to $150,000. HELOC’s are typically a 10-year term and you only are required to pay the interest during that term, and only for the funds you have drawn from the line. At the end of 10 years, you can either pay off the entire balance, roll it into a refinance, or re-apply for another line of credit. Your financial provider can give you more details about this option, but this general overview can help you create some back-of-the-napkin math to figure out how much you might have available for financing a remodel.

    • Cash-Out Refi

      A Cash-Out Refinance allows you to leverage the equity you’ve built up in your home and create a new mortgage at a higher dollar figure, receiving a check for the difference between your old mortgage balance due and the new one. This is similar to a HELOC, except in this example, the cash is paid out all at once and you get a new single mortgage rather than a secondary loan in addition to your mortgage. You also pay interest on the entire amount right away. You can typically create your new mortgage up to 80% of your home’s value, similar to other types of loans. So, for example, let’s say your home is worth $500,000. If you opted for this type of refinancing, you could refinance and get a new mortgage up to 80% of that value, or $400,000. If your prior mortgage balance was $300,000, then the bank would give you a check for $100,000 and your new mortgage would be in place.

    • Construction Loan

      Of all the financing options, the Construction Loan is the only one that takes into account the future value of your project when determining the funds available to borrow. Construction loans allow you to take the current value of your existing home, plus the likely value of your home after the improvements, and borrow according to the likely future value. This makes construction loans a good fit for projects that add square footage, or bedrooms or bathrooms, since these will tend to increase your home’s value directly more than say, updating your kitchen. Let’s do an example to illustrate the point. If your home is worth $500,000 today and you owe $400,000 on your mortgage, you would likely not be able to refinance above that 80% threshold to gain funding for an addition. However, if you are considering an addition that will likely make your newly remodeled home worth $700,000, choosing a Construction Loan may create opportunities for borrowing funds that would otherwise be unavailable. At a new home value of $700,000, you could likely create a mortgage at 80% loan to value which means you could borrow $560,000 ($700,000 * 80%). If you subtract your existing mortgage from that total ($560,000 - $400,000) that would leave you with up to $160,000 in funds available to pay for the addition. While it likely would not cover the entire expense of the addition, it certainly creates options for covering the cost that would not have otherwise been available. Construction loans are a bit more complex than other types of lending options, so it’s important to talk with your lender to make sure you explore all the facets of your financing options before choosing a loan that’s right for you and your project.

    • When do I pay you?

      Payments are due when we reach milestones in your project. As we progress through design and construction, payments are made accordingly. Most of our projects go through the conceptual design phase with no fees, and, for the handful that require additional diligence, we charge a 1-2% design fee of the anticipated project cost. Once you are satisfied with the designs, we ask for a 5% deposit at the time you sign construction documents, less any design fee that you’ve paid previously. This low cost is our way of showing good faith to you and making sure that you feel comfortable with the process. The next payment is due once the blueprints are completed, and then during construction milestones such as when concrete is completed (when applicable), cabinets are in place, and mechanicals are finished. You hold back the remaining 10% of your fee until the project is completed.

  • Do you offer financing options?

    While we do not offer financing, we have partnerships with several lenders who are able to help you find the right financing solution for your project. Whether it be through a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit, a Construction Loan, or a Mortgage Refinance, we are able to help connect you with the resources you need to find the proper financing for your remodel or home addition.

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  • Do you work with banks for projects that are financed?

    Normandy works closely with a wide variety of banks for customers who have elected to use a Construction Loan to finance their remodel. There is some additional paperwork and some changes to payment timelines that are required in this method of payment, but it does not impact you or your project in any way. The majority of other bank financing options outside of a Construction Loan typically operate much like a cash model of payments, and also do not cause any issues for the progress of your remodel.

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Bonds & Permits

  • What is a bond?

    In some communities, the local village requires what is effectively an insurance policy against damage to public property, called a bond. The bond can be thousands of dollars and, provided that there is no damage to the streets, sidewalks, or the like, should be refunded at the end of the remodel. As the contractor, we feel it is our responsibility to cover the bond, as well as assure that no damage is done to public property while you’re remodeling. Not all remodeling companies cover the bond though, so if you’re considering a major remodel, it’s worth asking about bonds and permit fees, as you may need to incorporate those costs into your budget.

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  • Do I need a permit?

    There can be some hesitancy when it comes to getting a permit, with people often believing it will make their taxes go up or delay the process. In reality, a permit may be the best insurance policy you can get against poor workmanship or dangerous conditions for your remodel. As a general rule, anything built new (like an addition) or anything that involves plumbing or electricity will be required to get a permit. Many communities have policies in place that freeze your home’s assessed value for 3 years after your remodel to avoid a sudden increase in your tax bill and having an independent third party come out to inspect the work that’s being done is a benefit that will give you welcome peace of mind.

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Service and Warranty

  • Can I do an addition?

    There are a surprising number of restrictions that may have an outsized impact on what you can, or cannot, add on to your home. One of the best ways to assess the possible addition options is through your plat of survey, which we ask people to have available at their first appointment if they’re considering an addition. The plat of survey, along with some calculations and zoning work, will allow the designer to determine whether or not the addition you’re considering will be permitted by your village or city. Whether you already have too much lot coverage, you’re too close to an easement, or you’re looking to build on an existing structure that isn’t technically allowed, your designer can work through calculations and zoning code to determine whether or not an addition is an option for you.

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  • What’s NOT included in Normandy’s services?

    The Design Build experience takes you from your initial challenges with your home, all the way through to the final inspection and cleaning. Normandy takes care of design, blueprints, permits, product acquisition, construction, and inspections, but there are a handful of items that we do not include in our services:

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    • Painting

      We leave spaces primed and ready for you to paint, but as many of our customers have their own preferred painter, we find that they are most happy to use their existing source to apply that final color.

    • Decorative lighting

      There are so many sources and options available for decorative light fixtures, these items fall under the heading of decorating, rather than remodeling. We are happy to install the fixtures you select, and your designer will be sure to incorporate them into your plans.

    • Carpeting

      Normandy takes care of hardwood flooring, tile, and vinyl flooring, but carpeting is one of the few items that we allow our customers to select and install on their own. Your Superintendent will happily work with you to coordinate the installation so your carpet is installed before the final project is completed.

    • Landscaping

      Beyond the grading work needed from excavation or foundations, decorative landscaping is at the discretion of the homeowner.

    • Appliances

      There are few elements of home improvement that change more rapidly than the world of appliances. We may be specialists in lots of things, but we leave the selection and recommendation of appliances to the experts. Normandy partners with Abt Electronics, and are able to coordinate with their teams for installation during your remodel. Normandy customers are also able to get special discounts on particular lines through Abt, as well as an additional 1 year of warranty so ask your designer about getting started with an appliance specialist from Abt.

  • What’s included in your warranty?

    A warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it. At Normandy, we’ve been in business since 1979, and we know that the best way for our company to continue to grow and thrive is to take excellent care of our customers. While the details of the warranty are outlined in your agreement, you’ll notice that we’re not big on fine print or creating loopholes to avoid taking care of people. You can rest assured that the spirit and the intent of the warranty is to resolve any problems in your newly remodeled space due to our issues or errors for 5 years after your project is completed. Whether that means an unexpected faucet leak has arisen, or you find that a door just doesn’t close right anymore, we’re happy to send out one of our service technicians to evaluate the issue, and if Normandy’s work was the cause of the problem, we’ll be sure to make things right.

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