Home Remodeling Process FAQ

Most Frequently Asked Questions About Home Remodeling

Please see separate section for the home remodeling process


  1. How much will it cost?
    • That depends on you.
      • How much work will it take change the existing home to meet your wants/needs?
      • How fancy do you want it?
      • How much of the existing structure can we re-use and how much needs to be renovated, added to or replaced?
    • Once we have our initial meeting with you, we may be able to give you a “ballpark” idea of what it will cost for your remodeling project based on similar projects we have done in the past.
    • There is no way to give a reliable cost per square foot for a remodeling project because every job is unique. However, if the scope of work is mainly in adding space it will be less expensive than interior remodeling.
    • The more existing structural elements such as windows, doors, stairs, etc. we are able to keep in the new plan the less expensive it will be.
    • In the past few years our remodeling projects have ranged from $80,000 for a simple kitchen to over $1 million dollars for remodel of an entire home.
  2. How long does it take?
    • That depends on you (again).
    • How big is the project?
    • How fancy is the finishing?
    • How much do we have to tear out before we start and how much do we have to replace?
    • Do you plan on staying in the home for all or part of the remodeling?
    • What is our access to the remodeling area?
    • Are you going to make your selections on time?
    • General Timing:
    • If we are doing the design then once a design agreement is signed, we complete the drawings of the existing home in about 2 weeks. These are called “as-builts.”
    • After the as-builts are done we can usually do the overlay of remodeling work in a week or two depending on the complexity of the project.
    • If we design in-house we can get the specifications done in a week or two once the scope of the job and the level of finishing are agreed upon with the client. If you are using a designer or architect it should be determined who is going to do the specifications. Without the specifications you cannot get a reasonable number on the cost of the project.
    • If you are using a designer or architect for your project, we recommend you get a written commitment as to how long it will take to perform the aforementioned tasks. If the start up date is important to you, then the design time should be resolved up front to insure your project’s success.
    • The time it takes to obtain permit approval by the County varies depending on the scope of work. A basement renovation is a walk through but an addition can take several weeks or more if a site plan is required.
    • If more than 2500 sq ft of land will be disturbed in the remodeling process, then a grading plan is required. The preparation of the plan takes 2-3 weeks after the footprint of the proposed project is agreed upon. If Chesapeake Bay storm water management design is required then another couple of weeks are needed to put the grading plan together. If new septic filed work is needed then several more weeks must be added.
    • If a grading plan is required then the grading plan approval can go on during the building plan review process but can take 4-6 weeks. Septic field plan approval can add 2-3 months to the approval process.
  3. Can we stay in the home while you do the remodeling?
    • Yes and no. The final answer depends on the size and scope of the project and the temperament of our clients.
    • If the job is properly designed and staged the disruption can be minimized. Still there may be times, when it is best not to be in the home due to noise, fumes, access to power, heat, etc.
    • When additions are constructed, we do everything we can to complete as much of addition as possible before we break through to the home.
    • Some projects are too massive to safely or economically keep the family in the home. In other cases, the family may be able to stay in the home until certain phases are so invasive that we will need access to the entire home to get the job done efficiently.
    • We are skilled in blocking the remodeled portion section of the home with the occupied area to keep the dust and disruption down to a minimum.
    • This is an important aspect of the project for some clients and we can have a discussion of what and when certain things will be done and if the family should stay in the home or not.
  4. Who are your clients?
    • We did not start out in 1976, to become a remodeling company. When our friends, neighbors, business associates and previous clients came to us to remodel their homes because they did not want just anyone working on their homes, we found ourselves in the remodeling business too.  As we did more and more remodeling projects, the word spread that we stay on budget, on schedule, and deliver a great product. Since 2000, we have done more remodeling projects than custom homes. Some of these projects were quite extensive with million dollar budgets and upper end finishing found in our custom homes. At the same time, we have done smaller kitchen remodels, finished basements, in-law suite additions, luxury bath updates, pool houses and detached garages.
    • Our typical client is a first time remodeling client or a client who has experienced a remodel that went badly because they selected a less experienced company the first time. Most of our remodeling clients have busy schedules and come to us with a general idea of what they want, but no idea on how to make it happen. They are willing to pay a reasonable price for good quality and want to be treated fairly and kept abreast of what is going on with their home.
  5. Where do you build?
    • Home Builder Will Travel. We are not locked into any particular lots or area.
    • We build anywhere in Northern Virginia.
    • Most of our clients in the last two decades have been in McLean, Vienna, Falls Church, Great Falls and as far as Middleburg.
    • We will also build in close-by Maryland and the District of Columbia if the project is a good fit for our company and our client.
  6. What do you build?
    • If you can dream it – we can build it!
    • Since we are a small company, we can only do small projects (under $100,000) fairly close to our offices in Great Falls. However, we will look at any project anywhere and tell you if we can be of assistance.
    • Our projects have included remodeled bathrooms, kitchens, master suites, basements, whole house renovations, additions both attached and detached, pool houses and pool complexes.
    • We specialize in whole house remodeling jobs and “pop-tops” where a second story is added to an existing one-story home.
    • Most of our customers come to us because they want to work with a family owned company that they can trust with their home. They generally love the neighborhood where the existing home is but the home just no longer works for them. All our clients have a budget and want a builder that understands that and will stay within the agreed upon costs.
  7. We’ve never done a remodeling job before. How can we possibly figure out what we can do and how can we make all the decisions?
    • Many of our clients have never done either a small or large remodeling project before, so we know how to simplify a complicated process by going step by step.
    • Once we finish the project our customers consistently tell us that everything was a lot more fun, went more efficiently and the whole process was a lot simpler than they had anticipated.
    • Once you tell us what you want to accomplish with the existing home we will suggest different ways to accomplish your goals as well as the finishes that might be appropriate for your tastes, the neighborhood and your budget.
    • We have had customers zero in on the scope of the project within 2 weeks of our first meeting. We have had clients on larger more complex projects, make 95% of their selection decisions in 2 meetings. The time spent all depends on you.
  8. We know what does not work for us in our home and we know what we need but have no idea how to changes things and how much it will cost. How can you come up with a plan we will like?
    • We have over 30 years of design experience and we have learned how to carefully interview our clients, listen to their answers and quickly coming up with unique plans that fill their design needs and budget.
    • We can work with your plans or with your architect or designer to help in the design or value engineer a design that is already done to get you the most for your dollar.
    • We work with our clients on a one-on-one basis so we expect unique requests and have the willingness and skill to meet even the most unusual requests.
    • Once we have the existing home programmed into a CAD program we can investigate many different ways to accomplish your goals and how the different programs will affect the cost.
  9. Who will we be dealing with?
    • Throughout the process you will be working directly with the principals of the company from design, selection, pricing and construction.
  10. What happens if we have a question or a problem during construction?
    • We have a 24-hour fax line and recommend that you install one as well.
    • You will have the email addresses of every member of the Foley Team so you can contacts us at any time.
    • We will answer any question within 24 hours if possible.
    • You will have your superintendent’s number and a 24 hour a day cell phone numbers in case of emergencies.
  11. We’ve heard all remodeling projects go over budget and that “change orders” are to blame. How can we be assured this will not happen to us?
    • Change orders are not a bad thing. In fact they are a good thing, because they allow you the homeowner to change your mind about a material, design, system etc while construction is on-going.
    • Our contract will include a price to build the home as drawn and specified so that you have an understanding of what you are getting for the price.
    • If you don’t surprise us with a drastic deviation from your original decisions, then you will stay within your budget.
    • We give you a guaranteed price for your home and we will deliver for that price unless you choose to change it or some unforeseen condition is discovered such as bad ground, etc.
    • When you choose to make a change once construction starts (change order) we contractually guarantee that you will be charged the same rate that you paid for the rest of the home.
    • We do not discourage or penalize our clients for making changes in a timely fashion.
    • Our customers have an average of 20 to 30 change orders.
    • Most of our customers (even with 20 to 30 changes) stay within 2 to 3% of the initial contract price.
  12. Are you a green builder?
    • We are totally committed to being environmentally responsible in all our projects and are Green Certified builders. Please go to the “green” section of our web site for more information.
    • Contact us for our references, and feel free to ask these questions of our previous clients.