Are you planning a remodel for your home? Do you feel that when planning for a remodel you are carrying a large load on your back? Do you have the feeling of where do I start, who do I trust?
Where do you start? We all work hard for our money and we don’t want to waste it. Completing a remodel is an investment for your family and your home. This investment should be approached in the same manner and diligence as we approach our retirement investments and our investments for our children’s college funds.
Virtually all homeowners approach the professional remodeling contractor selection process with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Deciding to remodel your home is exciting, but it can also be a fearful because your dream home and thousands of dollars are at stake. Feeling confident that you'll choose the proper remodeling company to complete your remodel is difficult, when these mixed emotions are present. We prepared this remodeling series to help you effectively research and choose a remodeling company for your project.
Listed below are the simple tips for your search
• Learn to ask the questions that matter most
• Learn who to ask those questions and when to ask them
As you read this article you will notice we use the word contractor/remodeling company/remodeler interchangeably. For the sake of this article they are the same. In the future we can address the difference between a contractor and remodeling company.
Locating Happy/Satisfied Remodeling Veterans
If you're planning a remodeling project, begin your search for competent, reliable, and honest remodeling companies working in your own neighborhood. Take a drive to discover where remodeling jobs are underway. Most companies will post signs promoting their services in front of homes in which they are working. Also look for other clues such as contractor’s trucks or remodeling trailers. Good remodeling companies know that if they do a good job, they're usually guaranteed more work in that neighborhood. The best referrals come from happy homeowners (the great remodeling companies will work hard to leave a legacy of satisfied customers)!
Next ask trusted friends, colleagues, clubs peers, or from people in professional organizations you belong to who they would recommend. The more people you ask, the more names you'll be able to gather. Be sure the people giving you recommendations have personal experience with the company’s work.
When visiting with your neighbors, friends, and family about prospective remodeling companies, ask questions about their experience.
Below are a list of questions to consider.
1. Could they communicate well with the remodeler?
a. Did the remodeler listen to their concerns?
b. Did the remodeler respond quickly to their questions and requests?
c. Was the remodeler easy to speak with?
2. Were they pleased with the quality of the work?
3. Were they satisfied with the remodeling company’s business practices?
4. Did the contractor offer cost saving suggestions?
5. How close was the contractor’s preliminary estimate to the final contract price? Keep in mind that it is likely the preliminary estimate and the final contract price will be different.
• Probably the more important question:
o Why the final price was different from the preliminary estimate? Did it have to do with the homeowner making changes or selections that cost more money or change the scope of the work? Or did the contractor make price changes based on hidden problems or components they didn’t account for.
6. How did the remodeler and homeowner resolve any differences that arose during construction?
7. Did work crews show up on time? Was the homeowners comfortable with the trade contractors the builder used? Did the work crew clean up the jobsite daily?
8. Was the job completed on schedule?
If the job was not completed on time ask why?
• Did the scope of work change?
• Did the contractor remove the crew for another remodel?
• Did the remodel sit idle for an extended period of time?
9. Did the contractor fulfill his or her contract to the homeowner's expectations?
10. Did the contractor keep the homeowner informed during the project? Was the project manager on the job site on a regular basis? Was there adequate supervision?
11. Did the homeowner find the contractor easy to reach? Did the contractor return phone calls/emails?
12. Would you use this contractor again?
After talking with a few different people you should now have a list of contractors that you would like to peruse working with for your remodel. We suggest you should further look into three remodeling companies, since more than three can get confusing on price, scope of work being offered, and etc.
Next week we will post part 2 of 5 from the series which will cover your first contact with the prospective remodeling companies.