In our last blog post of the series we will be discussing the topic of making your final choice. After you've narrowed your candidate list to one name, you are ready to choose your remodeler. If you're confident your remodeler is committed to fulfilling your remodeling project wants and needs, you are ready to move forward.
A design contract often is the first step. Most design/build firms, and many remodeling companies charge design fees for the preparation of remodeling documents. For now, that commitment is the limit of your obligation. This step represents a significant commitment for both you and the remodeler. Until you sign a construction contract with a remodeling company, you have not made a legal construction commitment.
Your communication with both your remodeler and architect/designer, should be clear and easy, similar to talking with a good friend. They should also show a general attention and attentiveness to detail. When making design revisions you should receive the exact changes you asked for, and the revisions should come back to you within a time frame the remodeler agrees to.
Choosing Your Remodeler
Next comes choosing your remodeler to work with. More often than not homeowners like to receive two to three proposals for the remodel they are planning. This is ok, however it will be confusing…..trust us when we say it will be confusing.
You might wonder why we say looking at multiple proposals be confusing? Well, the short answer is no two proposals will be the same. In a previous blog we discussed looking at allowance item costs, what labor is included, the scope of the work, and what materials are included. The best way to start this process is take the proposal from the company you want to work with. Compare this proposal to the other proposals line by line to what is included or is not included in the proposal.
You may notice that the company you originally had chosen to work with was the lowest price. After comparing the proposals you may find that this company had not accounted for allowance items, allowed less money for the allowance items, did not account for the same scope of work as other proposals. If this is the case, call this company, ask for an updated proposal. Get this updated proposal in writing. Get everything in writing!
On the opposite spectrum the company you may like the best might have had the highest proposal. After taking the time to review the proposal you might find that this company accounted for the scope of work as discussed in previous meetings, accounted for all allowance items, maybe they allowed for higher costs on the allowance items than the other proposal. So, in reality this proposal was not the highest, it was the accurate proposal.
We have all heard the stories of hard working individuals being taken advantage of by the “not so honest” contractor. As sad as these stories are, generally all parties involved are in part to blame, both contractor and homeowner. Did the homeowner take the time to review contractors as mentioned above in this article? Was the contractor license in good standing with the state and was the contractor insured? Was there a contract signed by both parties? Was the down payment fair and progress payments fair to both parties?
In some cases, the only agenda of the client when choosing these contractors was cost. The initial bid for the remodeling work is low because many of the associated remodeling costs were left out. These associated costs add up quickly and the cost of the remodeling project can quickly get out of hand.
For homeowners looking to complete a remodel and comparing proposals there are some myth’s about pricing. These myths’ have been around for years, and are not exactly accurate, as with all myths.
Some myths in the remodeling industry about how fair proposals are:
- The high bid is always inaccurate and unfair, no matter what.
- The low bid is always more accurate than the high bid.
- The low bid is always more accurate than the high bid, unless it is lower than your budget by a greater margin than the high bid is higher than your budget, in which case it is less accurate, but more fair. I know this one is a little confusing!
- The accuracy and fairness to any of the bids in the middle depends on where they are in relation to the high and low bids and to your budget.
We do not know why these myths exist, but they do, and they could not be farther from the truth.
You now have all the information you need to choose an excellent remodeler. The process can be a simple one when done properly. Ask questions. Keep asking questions until you're satisfied you have what you want. The process could take a week or it could take 6 months. Don't rush the process. And again, we can’t stress enough, make sure you get answers to all your questions. Your decision will then be an easy one.
In most cases you will know who you would like to work with on your remodel from the first phone call and the first meeting. We hope this information will guide you as you verify your initial thoughts.