Remodeling a house has a number of advantages. It offers an investment that has a direct return when and if the home is ever put on the market. Besides financial gain, there’s the increased quality of living that comes from an extra bathroom or a finished basement that makes the renovation well worth the price to most people. Once the decision has been fretted over and the time has come to get the wheels rolling on a remodeling project, it’s time to contact the contractor.
Many people have a love / hate relationship with their remodeling expert. It’s important to remember that this person usually serves as the middle man/woman between the homeowner and the service providers. The homeowner wants work done at a certain schedule while the framers, drywallers, and painters encounter issues at the same time, causing the general contractor to paint a happy picture between the two. In actuality for all the horror stories that have been circulated about remodeling, the process really isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. Here’s what to expect when consulting a remodeling pro.
An Honest Timetable
Too often contractors fall into the trap of telling the client only what they want to hear, whether that be about the project price, timetable, process, etc. The contractor is then left to back pedal later on which only leads to stressing him or her out while growing the frustrations of the homeowner. Most homeowners would agree that they’d rather hear the truth up front rather than an excuse later (avoid the it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission approach).
When talking with an expert remodeler they should give an honest timetable with buffer time actually built in to prepare for the unexpected. Just because a homeowner wants a new bathroom in a day doesn’t mean they should promise it…be realistic on both ends.
The truth is there’s an easy way and a hard way to do every job, whether it’s remodeling, fixing an automobile, or completing a paint-by-numbers piece. An expert remodeler will give the homeowner options, regardless of how big of a burden it’s going to be on them and their crew. Of course the remodelers shouldn’t have to do this work without some recourse, mostly in the form of increased labor costs but also a longer timetable. The ultimate goal of the remodel process should be to leave the homeowner 100% satisfied…or close to it.
A Detailed Plan of Attack
When talking with a remodeling pro you can trust, it’s not outside the realm of possibilities for them to give you a detailed approach about how they’re going to get the job done. Since it’s your house it’s nice to know if and when plumbing will be replaced, if windows are going to be moved, if new drywall is needed, etc. For large projects they should have an estimate by the week of when demolition is completed, when the wiring will be done, when the painters will come in, and so on.
Answers On The Spot
A great way to tell if a remodeling expert is quality is if they can give answers up front and in person. Sure there are going to be issues he or she will have to check on with outside subcontractors but a contractor shouldn’t have to ‘call my guy’ with every little question you may have. In fact even if they’re fudging the truth (BS’ing) the homeowner has some reassurance they’re dealing with a pro. Remodeling time can be very stressful to the homeowner and the general contractor should go out of their way to make them feel secure about the project and that their money is being spent wisely.
A List of Drawbacks To a Certain Approach
There are pros an cons to every aspect of remodeling and homeowners won’t get their feelings hurt when a list of negative aspects of their desires are presented to them. For instance something like “you can install a metal roof but it’s going to be harder to walk on” is better heard before the construction starts instead of when preparing to navigate to adjust a satellite dish.
Green And Environmentally Friendly Methods
When talking with a remodeling expert it’s also expected for them to give you a list of environmentally friendly alternatives. Green building can have significant government kickbacks and although more money will be spent up front, sometimes the sound piece of mind of lowered carbon footprint is more rewarding than money…sometimes.
For Them To Answer Your Call
Finally you should always expect the remodeling expert to answer your call or to at least get back with you. Sure problems arise during the job but it’s better for them to face you than to hide for a couple weeks while the crew receives the brunt of your rage only to show up and collect a check at the end. A homeowner will find out they’d rather spend more and work with somebody whose cordial and in contact compared to somebody bids inexpensively but is kind of flighty.
Photo by Charles & Hudson