We standardize and automate the process so your remodel, addition or custom home experience will be amazing

Designing and building an addition, remodel or custom home is a complicated process that involves one to two years of planning and then 45+ people to do the actual construction.

At New Avenue our qualified and proven local professionals can design and build your project.  We supplement the talented pros with a project management software that we built.  Combined, proven people and the best of class project management software makes the design/build process easier and fun.

Using our experience working with hundreds of clients and spent years perfecting the design/build process.   The features on our platform now provide the most efficient way to design and build any project. We’ve proven this on projects ranging from $50,000 to $2,500,000.

The following features in our system automatically includes the industry’s best practices in every project using New Avenue.

Goals & Ideas Questionnaire


Every project has a Goals & Ideas Questionnaire. You can spend 5 minutes or 30 minutes answering 30 questions.  These questions are based on countless client meetings, thousands of proposals, bids,changes.  By asking you the right questions at the start you can make faster and better decisions. This improves the efficiency of your entire team.

 

Timeline

You can use your free project timeline to communicate with your team. When you receive a notification, you can reply by email and your message will automatically appear in your timeline. This keeps you, your spouse, your architect and your contractor on the same page.  This squashes headaches and mistakes before they happen.  As far as we’re concerned, it’s magic.

One Click Accept a Design Proposal

You can use our free budget tool to collect Design Proposals from architects.  Our team of proven and vetted architects are able to provide a proposal.  You can also invite your own architect.  Just tell them “I am using New Avenue to keep my budget organized”

A good Design Proposal will tell you the 20-30 steps required to design and permit your project.  It will also show you the estimated hours of work needed for each step.   To accept a Design Proposal you simply click “approve” and you automatically have a Design Agreement that insures your project follows the best practices in the industry.

Timesheet - Invoice

New Avenue’s invoicing system is the first system built to help owners keep their entire project organized.  With New Avenue your proposal, budget and your invoices are all in one standardized format.  There’s no need to try to reconcile a word document proposal with a list of hours worked.  To pay you simply click approve and that authorized New Avenue’s system to request payment from your bank so you can pay by direct deposit – the same way your employer probably pays you.

 

What does it cost to design and build a remodel, addition, or custom home?

Many people interested in designing and building a custom project start with the question: “How much will it cost to build?” When people hear the answer, their next question is, “Why? I thought it would be less expensive.”

Then come the following thoughts:

1. “My friend told me that projects can be built for $200 per square foot”
For years people have heard a general rule of thumb that houses can be built for $200 per square foot. They think that if a 3000 square feet house costs $600,000 to build, then a 500 square feet remodel or guest house should cost  500 square feet X $200 per foot = $100,000. But this just isn’t true.

The $200/sqft number can be accurate, but the size of the house has to be large enough to take advantage of economies of scale. Generally, the bigger the house is, the less expensive the per square foot cost can be. The smaller a house is, the more expensive it is to build per square foot. You’re going to have to build a 2500+ square foot house to be able to hit that $200/sqft number.

Also, when a builder says they can build a house for $100 per square foot, they are talking about the costs to build in a subdivision in some place like Atlanta. They not factoring in design, engineering or permitting costs. These costs alone are often over 20% of the project. They are not factoring in quality construction you’d expect in almost any coastal or metropolitan area.  In many place costs of $500-$1,000 per square foot are not only common but spending that much makes sense as that is the cost of a quality and finish level that owners expect.

And finally, the cost per square foot can change dramatically based on the location of the project. For example, costs to build in a coastal city can be as low as $200/sqft but modern projects in Dwell Magazine are easily in the $500 per square foot or even $1,000 per square foot cost.  As home prices continue to increase around the country, the cost of building increases as well.

2. “I just want a simple house.”
That’s great. But even a simple house is a complex feat of permitting, engineering and back breaking labor.  These things take time and money.

As an owner, it is helpful to know that all projects are built using the same process:
a) Figure out what you can build, including permit requirements in your city or county, if you do that kind of thing 😉
b) Work with an architect or designer to draw up the size, look, and shape in a “schematic” design.
c) Submit the design to the planning department to get planning permits.
d) Once you have the planning permit, have the architect draw up construction documents for a building permit. This often requires two or three engineers such as structural, soils and civil.
e) Determine all the “finishes” which include appliances, faucets and fixtures, materials, tile, paint colors, landscaping, utilities etc..
f) Work with builders to get bids, select one, sign a construction agreement, prepare the land, pour a foundation, frame the house, enclose the house, hook up water/electric/sewer, and install finishes.

Whether you build something that is 500 square feet or 5000 square feet, all of these steps are taken.

3. “I’m thinking a prefab house because it’s easier.”
This is possible but it really depends on your site,  existing home and personal goals. Blu Homes and Living Homes are the top of the line if you go this route.  Buying a home that is built somewhere else can reduce design fees, but it still needs to meet your city and county codes and then be permitted. Then it needs to be shipped to your location, and if that location is in an urban setting, you’re looking at significant costs to shut down streets and hire a crane to lift the unit into place. Once it arrives you will have paid for the same foundation and water/electric/sewer hookups that you would need with a stick-built home. By the time all of this adds up, you are looking at a similar price to building a custom house. And while you don’t have to spend time designing prefab, you still have to spend all the time getting permits.  Most importantly, a custom home allows you to design something specific to your needs and the lot in which it will reside.

4. “My uncle is a handyman or contractor and can build for me for cheap.”
The best way to save money is to do the work yourself. It will take you a long time and you will make mistakes, but it can be an amazing and fun experience. One of our favorite projects is this Normandy Style stone house in Upstate NY. The walls on this thing are 2′ thick stone!

Moriarty Farm House 1         Moriarty Farm House

The owner spent seven years getting to this point.  It is a $1,000,000 home that will cost less than half that and it is a work of art.  We’re not counting this husband/wife team’s 10,000 hours of labor in our costs though.

If you want to try a DIY project, just be really careful because construction is the definition of back-breaking labor.

The second best way to save money is to manage all the subs (electrician, foundation, framer, plumber, drywaller etc…) yourself.  The most skilled subs prefer not to work for inexperienced clients.  They are concerned that your inexperience will require too much of their time as you make decisions, that you will call them back repeatedly and they will end up making very little money due to the extra time.  So owner builders often get stuck with the second tier subs and that can be painful!

If you have a relative who is skilled and experienced and willing to work for free, jump on that and do it… but again, we’ve seen siblings stop talking to each other when the builder in the family is too slow or too expensive.

5. “A builder I know says he can build for $X.”
Be very careful with this scenario. When you get a bid from a builder, make sure they give you a price for every line item that will go into the house, from permitting, to design, to construction, to cleanup. Permits alone can cost $15,000-$100,000+. Architect and engineers are often 15% of the project’s total cost too. At New Avenue, our process requires that our partner builders review a 200+ line spec sheet with every single piece of building a house so no one can say the dreaded phrase, “We didn’t talk about having a (insert whatever you like here, such as “sewer line”) for the house. That will be an extra $5,000.”

6. “Where does New Avenue get information about building?”
After working with many architects and builders on over 500 projects, we have a very unique data set that shows exactly what every component of building a house costs. For example, we can easily pull up a project that we managed and show that the foundation for a home in a landslide zone with 12 piers going down 10′ each cost $40,000. Or we can pull up a sheet that shows a house with $7,000 allocated to Hardieboard siding and the fair change order (and totally a good idea) to change that to cedar shingles.

7. “Can you give me a sample breakdown of costs to build my project?”
This is our specialty. Let’s say you wanted to design and build a 1000 square foot project in the San Francisco Bay Area.  We would start by showing you what a similar, recent, project we completed cost. This would include every detail.  Then we adapt that budget to meet your needs.

Here is a shortened example of a small project:

– Initial Assessment and Permit Research: $400
– Design Fees: $5,880
– Construction Documents: $5,400
– Engineering: $4,500
– City Fees: $5,620
– Survey: $2,300
– Construction Administration: $3,400
Total Design and Permit Costs: $27,500

– Demolition: $2,100
– Site Prep: $7,100
– Foundation: $11,975
– Framing & Carpentry: $23,700
– Insulation & Moisture Protection: $3,500
– Windows & Doors: $6,489
– Finishes: $14,825
– Plumbing: $13,900
– Heating and Ventilation: $3,400
– Electrical: $5,300
– Contractor Overhead and Profit: $15,100
Total Construction: $107,389
Total Project Cost: $134,889

We can show you this for $100,000 projects and $2,000,000 homes and everything in between.

 8. “Can spending a ton of money  still give me a good return on investment?”
Absolutely. The financial return is often there and more so, the real return is usually so much more valuable than any cash you might collect in a future sale. A creative space, family room, home office, guest room or anything that increases the value you and your family get out of your home can make the investment well worth it.

Financially, many of our clients create something that is worth more than the cost of construction.  So their return is crystal clear.

Other clients spend $200,000 building a guest house that increases their mortgage payment by $1,200 per month. Often times they can offer that home to a child or parent who would be living somewhere else for many times the cost of the guest house.  Other people use this as a home office and create a new business from home.  Many people choose to downsize and move into their accessory dwelling while renting out their main house, bringing in even more rental income. Or by creating a second unit for your child or your parents you can avoid paying for many of the expenses of living separately such as rent to live elsewhere, maintenance and taxes of owning two homes, or the high costs of assisted living.

No matter what you are considering, the New Avenue platform is the easiest way to get organized, get bids, hire a team and manage your project.

You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.

 

Should I create an addition, backyard cottage, or remodel?

New Avenue starts every project with our 30 questions. You can skim these questions and answer a few of them in five minutes or you can spend an hour.  We recommend you spend about 15 minutes.

These questions are based on thousands of past client meetings. We also collect feedback during construction changes and figure out what we have to ask early on in the process so we can avoid making the same costly mistakes in the future.

A client recently contacted us with some questions about what to do with their home. They are in their 60s and want to make a long term plan for how to use their home.

Here are a few of our questions and their answers.  Their full design proposal is below too:

Q: What do you want to do?

A: We would like to add a rental unit to our existing two story & 5 bedroom & 3.5 bath home.  We really do not know if we should do an addition or add a cottage/tiny house to the backyard, so we need help.

Q: What are you using this new space for?

A: We would like to rent it out either as a sublet or airbnb for extra income.

Q: If applicable, what is the 25-50 year plan for your project? For example, you may be renting out an inlaw unit and will eventually move in later.

A: We are not really sure. We could move into the new unit eventually.   We are in our 60’s so we hope it’s a 50 year plan. (:-)).

After reviewing all of the answers and questions they submitted in their Goals & Ideas questionnaire on www.newavenuehomes.com, one of our local designers met with them and provide this Design Proposal.

We’re excited that they quickly approved the proposal and design is beginning this summer.

To get this project started the owners:

  1. Filled out the Goals & Ideas survey on Newavenuehomes.com
  2. Set up a call with a New Avenue project admin to review the design/build process
  3. Paid $250 to have a Design Session with a vetted New Avenue designer
  4. Met with the designer
  5. Received a Design Proposal and clicked approve.

You can read or download the Design Proposal here: Cost of Oakland Basement Conversion to Accessory Dwelling Desig

 

Cost of an Addition in South San Francisco That Includes an Accessory Dwelling

We recently completed a 2 bedroom, one bath, kitchen and living room in 537 square foot addition.  This is for a 1,572 square foot home in South San Francisco.  Affectionately called “Grandma’s House”, this accessory dwelling is for the mother of the owners.

Below you can see the floor plans, site plans, and the budget for the entire project.

 

Project Attributes

Coverage of Lot

Addition in South San Francisco

Floor Plan

 

This budget is right before the final invoice. The “Budget” amount is the total cost of all design, engineering, and construction. You can see that the soft costs were approximately $35,000 before the project broke ground. The soft costs are mostly architecture time that we bill hourly. Budget for 537 Square Foot Addition in South San Francisco

You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.

Cost of Adding a Master Bedroom Suite and Accessory Dwelling

Below we have the full cost of an addition that is 536 square feet. This addition is an accessory dwelling or mother in law unit in Daly City, CA.

The home is a single family ranch home and this is a single story addition too.

You can review the full line item budget here: Cost of an Addition in Daly City

In this budget you can see:

  • Cost of the surveyor
  • Cost of the architecture
  • Cost of the planning permits and building permits
  • Cost to build

Here is the floor plan:

536 Square Foot Addition

Sign up at New Avenue to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Client Quotes and Referrals

We’ve been fortunate to receive a lot of nice feedback from the clients, architects and contractors that we work with.   We typically share this list when a potential client asks for a reference in order to verify a construction budget, construction schedule, building permit process or costs.

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

Here are several references:

Our son, AJ joined our little family last Tuesday. Thank you for surrounding us with a strong team during all of this,it’s good to know that New Avenue, Mick and Robert have the house project under control while we’re ramping up on this whole parent project thing.

– Robert K (San Rafael Remodel, Addition, new master bathroom, seismic, 5/6/2015, 7 days after AJ’s arrival)

The very nice thing about working with you is that I don’t need to worry about the process and oversight, and vetting people to do the work.  That is a huge value for me. Our architect is a pleasure to work with.  He is very easy and has been responsive and flexible and understands what we’re looking for.  And he certainly knows his business and how to work with the City. So that’s great.

– Marian M (Berkeley master bedroom and master bathroom remodel, client note from 5/2015)

The architect is designing such a nice cottage that I might just move in myself and rent out the main house!

– Ellen H (Albany, CA  client, detached music studio, guest house, landscaping, new bathroom)

Having a fully integrated way of controlling correspondence along with billing is nonexistent… this is really great

– Miklos, General Contractor (Alameda historic restoration, Berkeley accessory dwelling, San Francisco Addition, San Francisco remodel, Oakland guest house, Berkeley addition, El Cerrito accessory dwelling)

“You are rendering a very valuable service to the families and communities for which we have great appreciation”

-Vijai Sharma, PhD, Oakland addition

“New Avenue allows us to focus on what we enjoy doing the most – designing for clients.”

-Patrick, architect 

“Working with New Ave has been such a great experience! From the beginning, New Ave and Paks Builder have been cohesive partners and we look forward to working on many future projects together!”

– Robert P – General Contractor

“You certainly make it waay better than business-as-usual.  No doubt.”

– Prasad, Client

“I’m tired of trolling Yelp and banging my head against the wall.  I just want someone to show up”

– Bryndis T

Sign up to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Additions, Remodels, and Custom Homes – Phase I

This is a guest post by David Locicero, a Partner Architect in the New Avenue Design/Build Network.

David has successfully uses the New Avenue platform to design, permit and build projects around the San Francisco Bay Area.  To read more about the platform click here: New Avenue

There are five phases to a typical architectural project:

Pre-design, schematic design, design development, construction documents, and construction.

Today let us look at the Pre-design work that creates your Program.

Architects do not simply jump directly into construction documents. It takes a little bit of time to get to that point.

Pre-design is the first step and consists of working with you to find out not just what you want, but what you need. We will also determine what the budget will be.

We also assess the site. For most of my projects, that means measuring the house and property and creating drawings of what is already built.

We will also meet with the jurisdiction and determine what the planning and zoning rules and regulations are.

All of this is work that has to be done before we even start designing. That is why it is called Pre-design. By gathering all the pertinent information at the beginning, it helps us focus on the real challenges without getting side tracked.

The New Avenue Design Agreement spells out the deliverables in this phase.

Get Started here to access the Design Agreement that delivers the best practices in the industry and the best local architects and contractors.

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call from our founder, Kevin Casey, just click here and tell us when to call you.

San Rafael Remodel: Transforming a Home for Raising a Family in Marin

Brooke and Rob are two young professionals working in San Francisco who bought a three bedroom, two and a half bath home in San Rafael. The home is 1,675 square feet and was used as a duplex when they bought it.

Brooke and Rob had a baby on the way when they completed a major transformation to their home.  Their project restored their home to a single family home and improved it for raising a family there.

They added a space for an au pair suite, added a master bedroom and master bath, remodeled two bedrooms and made one a nursery.  They maintained much of the kitchen while adding a new entry and bath near the kitchen door.

Additionally, behind their home is a 500-square foot detached structure that served as an office. They are thinking of converting this extra space into an accessory dwelling afterwards. The young couple had their first child during the project, and this remodel gives the growing family plenty of room for activities.

The design, project planning and permitting process lasted 9 months.  Construction lasted eight months from start to finish.

This is the existing floor plan:


Existing Floor Plan San Rafael Addition Remodel

Proposed/New Plan.  You can see the master bedroom, master bath and walk in closet on the right then up a half flight of stairs are two bedrooms and a shared bath.

Proposed Floor Plan San Rafael Addition Remodel

This link has the full cost of the completed project in San Rafael. All costs are broken down by line item.  This budget includes architecture, engineering, permits and construction costs.

Budget for a 2 bed 2 bath addition plus kitchen remodel:addition

After the project, and just one week after their son was born, the client, Rob noted:

“Our son, AJ joined our little family last Tuesday. Thank you for surrounding us with a strong team during all of this, it’s good to know that New Avenue, the team has the house project under control while we’re ramping up on this whole parent project thing.”

For copies of the plans or additional details please contact us at New Avenue.  You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

 

 

 

Cost of a family room, master bed and master bath addition in a Northern California bungalow

This is part of a series of posts on real project costs.  New Avenue is the leading national design/build network.  Our architect and contractor partners use our online platform to provided their bids and process their invoices.  As such we get a unique collection of project costs.  We share these costs to help inform owners, architects and contractors. 

Many of our communities across the country are full of small bungalows the are around 100 years old and they measure just over 1,000 square feet. Some were cottages that were slapped together when silicon valley was just farms. Other were world class craftsman bungalows.  Regardless of the original home, many owners are adding on to make room for families, offices, master bedrooms and master baths.

One common way to add on is a big “box on a box” to the back of a home. This can range from an architecturally significant project to a rather straightforward or simple addition.  This is the budget and the plan for a 900 square foot simple design.

Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 3.34.50 PM Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 3.34.02 PM Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 3.33.56 PM

The full project budget including all architecture, engineering, permits and construction is here: 900 Square Foot Master Bath Bed and Family Room Addition

Sign up to see more example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

 

$21,400 Cost of Architect for an 800 square foot addition in Fremont

The following budget shows the cost of a custom architect and all of the services he has to provide to design and permit an 800 square foot, two story remodel and addition in Fremont, CA.   This addition will include an accessory dwelling which is a full apartment with a kitchen and bathroom.

You can study the line items that are part of the design process here:

Cost of Architecture Custom Project Fremont

All projects vary in time and cost.  Custom homes, additions and remodels have design fees that range from as low as $6,500 to more than $200,000.  This is a guide for one particular project.

Sign up at New Avenue to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started