Choosing to remodel your home can be one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make as a homeowner.
The process takes time, careful planning, money, and patience. Whether your goal is to have just your kitchen or bath remodeled or to undertake an entire house renovation, education and communication are the keys to understanding the home construction process. Having a clear understanding of how the process works will help you to establish a much higher level of satisfaction with your contractor and your project.
As you embark on your remodeling journey, the first step is to find the right contractor for you and your project. Important questions to ask as you interview potential candidates include:
- Are you properly licensed and insured?
Verifying that your contractor is licensed and insured is essential. This will protect both you and your contractor in the long run and requires that your contractor pay a fee, complete continuing education, pass a written business and technical test, provide Worker’s Compensation
- What does the contract include?
Whether the contractor works on a fixed-pricing or cost-plus pricing schedule, understating the exact inclusions of the written contract will provide you with the most peace of mind. Your contract details should most definitely include the contractor’s license and insurance details, permit obligations, start and completion dates with milestone timelines, payment schedule details, materials to be used, a full description of the work to be done (including specifications, plans, and any additional requirements), clean up arrangements, change order policies, and a statement of your right to cancel the contract within a certain period of time.
- What type of experience do you have?
Not only are you making a financial investment when remodeling your home, but you’re also making an emotional investment. Finding the right contractor for you, your home, and your project from the very beginning will alleviate an incredible amount of undue and unnecessary stress, and will also save you a great deal of money over the long-haul. Hiring a contractor with valid and well-spoken, reputable experience who you trust to meet your needs 100% will result in your overall satisfaction both in your pocketbook and in your heart and soul.
- Do you have references?
Once you feel like you trust your contractor, it’s still very important to obtain references, ensuring a job well done. On top of the references the contractor provides, make sure those recommendations are based on similar projects to yours. Nine exceptional bathroom remodels do not necessarily equate to the quality you’re looking for in your kitchen renovation. Again, make sure you choose a contractor who is right for your job and for you.
- How many projects do you have in progress at one time?
The number of projects and renovations a company has in progress reflects the size of the company, and sometimes the reputation. Contracting companies with a few projects to juggle may be a little bit easier to trust, in terms of market experience. However, you still want to ensure they have the capacity to successfully manage your project, and provide you with the attention you need and deserve.
- What is your communication process?
Communication is key when it comes to the home remodeling process. It’s important to understand your contractor’s policy, procedure, and process when it comes to communicating about your project. Many companies offer open and daily communication, which eases anxiety for certain homeowners. Other, often larger contractors, work with many subcontractors and prefer more independence on a project and less contact. That may be okay for you, but you need to make sure you choose a company whose style of work best fits your personality and preference.
- What about pricing?
Finally, pricing is important, of course. You certainly want your project to allow for a great return on investment, but also to fit into your budget. One important thing to keep in mind when considering the different pricing ranges offered among contractors is that the lowest price doesn’t always equate to the best option. Drastically lower pricing estimates can sometimes mean the contractor lacks experience, they may not fully understand the scope of your project, they may plan to use inferior materials, or they may hire inexperienced subcontractors. Never sacrifice cost for quality.
A highly professional and qualified contractor with years of experience, garnered from successful work and client relationships will be one who shares with you that expertise, knowledge, and concept solutions. And, the best companies out there will not be afraid to communicate and answer all your questions. Make sure you come to the planning table with plenty to ask and walk away feeling satisfied.