Hiring a home renovation contractor can be quite the undertaking, involve a lot of money and leave you with results you will have to live with for a long time. How can you ensure that you are hiring the right folks for the job and not committing to a team that will leave you high and dry (or with an ugly house)? Home Remedy has the top ten tips to make sure you are making the right call and aren’t stressed with your choice and ultimately pleased with the outcome!
Be upfront about your renovation budget. When you can be communicative and forthcoming with your contractor, this can save a lot of time and aggravation for all parties. This allows the contractor to quote your project accurately, ask questions about your needs and fine-tune their timeline. These discussions can also allow edits to the plan if the contractor is truly interested in earning your business, but your budget doesn’t quite fit your vision. This is also a great way to force them to showcase their communication skills if obstacles arise.
- Prepare your home for remodeling. Have colors in mind, review the tile and flooring materials you need to. Make room for the team of folks that will be coming in and out of your home and clean up and de-clutter as much as possible. Whatever you can put away to prevent breaking or dust accumulation, the better. A good contractor will also discuss with you other precautions you can take to prepare your home.
- Get educated on renovation requirements. Do you need any permits for fencing or patio coverings? Do you need approval from your HOA for an addition or do they have requirements for external facade colors? There can be hold-ups if the proper preparation hasn’t been completed, so make sure this is discussed.
- Note your contractors’ credentials. Are they certified to be able to complete the work you are asking them to do? Check out what all those acronyms on their website stand for and be ready with any questions. With electrical and plumbing requirements alone, the safety of your family and home is important so don’t hire just anyone off the street.
- Connect consistently with your contractor. When such a big undertaking is happening in your home, it is essential to have a contractor that is communicating regularly on progress, successes, obstacles, and questions they have. It’s also essential that they respond to YOU with answers in a timely manner. Be wary if you get a slew of excuses or no response at all.
- Get your contract in writing. Home renovation, remodeling, and repair can be very costly. Don’t move forward without a set price, timeline, permits, payment arrangements and project details. This is so both parties can keep track of what is to be done, for what cost and by what date. Be wary if your contractor isn’t interested in outlining this for you. This can mean they have too many jobs, will skip town with your money, or your project will go on forever, or never be completed. These legally binding documents hold you both accountable, for work and payment for work.
- You get what you pay for. Often times, we are looking for the best price while maybe sacrificing quality; we’ll go for the store-brand green beans over the Green Giant can. However, the lowest bid isn’t always the best bet when it comes to the safety and quality of items in your home. A good contractor will discuss the materials and labor they use when outlining the job so you can understand the quality of craftsmanship you are paying for. There may be wonderful ways to cut corners and save a few dollars, but caring contractors will let you know when you can skimp and what needs extra time or investment.
- Wait to start destroying things. The demolition process can be fun, but can also be messy and very inconveniencing. You don’t want to be busting windows out of your house until the new windows are there to replace them. Don’t go all “Office Space” on your appliances until something else has arrived on which to cook your dinner. Again, this is where you must have a communicative contractor.
- Be kind to your neighbors. A lot of strangers and machinery will be coming in and out of your home for the duration. Make sure you find a contractor that is willing to answer questions your neighbors have. Look for one that is clean and professional in that they don’t destroy neighbors’ yards with machinery, trucks or materials.
- Wait to sign off. Any contractor that wants you to scratch your check and sign off on their job before inspecting the final product is one to avoid. Meet in person and walk through the project together. Take photos if need be. Insist on a waiver or addendum to be added to the contract to record any liability-related concerns. Once everything is approved, you can make your final payment.
Follow these tips on your journey into home renovation and you’re guaranteed to have a happy experience from start to finish!