Are you among the growing number of home owners who would prefer to remodel than try to purchase a new property? If so, you’ll soon learn that even simple remodels can cost a significant amount of money. With that type of investment on the line, it’s important to find a contractor you can trust.
As the home building and remodeling industry celebrates National Home Remodeling Month in May, here are the top five tips to ensure you make the right decisions when you find, evaluate and hire a remodeler.
Utilize a Directory. A simple Google search will provide you with seemingly endless pages of remodelers. To help narrow down your search to find a qualified remodeler, utilize a directory from a professional organization like HBRAMA. A professional remodeler will uphold the industry’s highest professional and ethical standards. These sources can also help you find a remodeler who specializes in a specific type of remodeling if you need it, such as a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) to help modify your home to suit you better as you age.
Narrow Down Your List. Once you’ve generated a list of professional remodelers, closely examine their services. The best place to start is by visiting the company website or social media accounts to see photos of their work. Home renovation websites like HomeAdvisor or Houzz also have pictures and reviews of remodeling companies. When reading online reviews, take the good with the bad. Try to focus on the descriptions of experiences and qualities that are most important to you as a customer. Another avenue is to ask for referrals from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and others who have had remodeling work done on comparable homes under similar schedules.
Conduct Background Research. Once you have a list of potential home remodelers for your project, do some background research to verify that they are appropriately licensed and have a good business track record. Look them up with your local or state office of consumer protection. Verify that the remodeler has the appropriate licenses and registrations.
Make a List of Interview Questions. When you begin meeting with remodelers, you want to find out information such as:
- How long they have been in business in your community? Can they provide references from customers and suppliers they work with?
- Do they carry insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries? Ask for a copy of the insurance certificates.
- What is their working knowledge of the many types and ages of homes in the area, and what issues could arise?
- Do they arrange for the building permit? (The person who obtains the permit is the contractor of record and, therefore liable for the work)
- Do they provide a written estimate before beginning the work, and a detailed contract that spells out the work that will and will not be performed, protects both of you, provides a fair payment schedule contract and complies with local, state, and federal laws?
Verifying smart business practices and remodeling expertise will ensure your home remodel is completed successfully.
Trust Your Instincts. Make sure you are compatible with the contractor you select. Beginning your project with mutual expectations will go a long way toward a smooth remodel. You’ll spend a significant amount of time with your remodeler, so having a good rapport and trust in them is essential.
For more detailed checklists for finding, evaluating and working with a remodeler and other information about remodeling your home, visit your local association, here.