Remodeling your home is an exciting time. There is so much to do and so many things to think about. But before you jump right into hiring remodeling professionals, make sure you're working with the right ones.
Choosing the right remodeling professionals can be the difference between your dream home and a nightmare. You've probably heard horror stories about remodeling projects gone terribly wrong due to unqualified and unprofessional contractors. Don't let this happen to you!
Protect yourself by screening prospective companies using detailed questions. You may need to learn more about remodeling -- that's why you're hiring professionals -- but with a few straightforward questions, you can learn everything you need to know about prospective contractors.
The remodeling company you choose to work with should be your trusted partner. They should be qualified, fair, and trustworthy. Together, you are bringing your vision to life in your home. Only sign on the dotted line once you've asked potential remodelers these important questions.
First and foremost, the company should be a legally compliant business. That means they should have a proper license and insurance.
Licensing is important because it ensures the company is qualified to do the work based on state requirements. Insurance protects both the company and you from damages and liabilities throughout the course of the project.
Make sure the company you work with not only has a license and insurance but that they're also both up to date.
In most states, the contractor is legally required to pull building permits. After all, they are the professionals that have expertise in the process. When the contractor pulls the permit in their name, they are responsible for the work to pass inspection, not you. You can face various legal difficulties if you don't have the right permits.
It's always better to work with experienced professionals. Look for a company that's been in business long enough to provide at least ten to twenty references. While a long work history doesn't necessarily mean better service, it's definitely a positive sign that the contractors know what they're doing.
Although working with specialists may not be necessary, it's worth asking your remodeling company if they have any areas of expertise. Basements, kitchens, and bathrooms may require specialized knowledge.
For example, a basement is more prone to moisture problems and needs special attention to minimize mold and moisture. If you're looking to remodel your basement, seek a contractor who has previously worked on basements.
Companies that do great work earn business through word-of-mouth. Satisfied clients are likely to tell their friends and family about their experience. If a significant portion of the company's revenue is generated through referrals, it indicates its ability to satisfy its clients. Chances are, they can also help you too.
Checking references is one of the best ways to determine if your contractor is up to par. Online reviews are another way to get information from previous clients, but they can only sometimes be trusted. The best way is to get the lowdown from people who have first-hand experience. After all, past performance is one of the greatest indicators of what future performance will be.
At a minimum, ask to see examples of the company's work. Even if they don't provide references, they should at least have a portfolio you can look at of past projects.
Design work and construction work are two very different things. It's important to know who will actually design the space.
Is design work done in-house by the remodeling company, or do they work with partners? Is design included in the initial estimated cost? Will there be multiple designs to choose from? How much assistance will you receive in making design decisions?
A great remodel doesn't happen without great design. Make sure this step is very clear before proceeding to the next.
It's not unreasonable to want to know exactly who will be in your home. For small remodeling projects, it may only be a couple of contractors. However, for larger projects, you may have a whole construction crew on your hands.
Clarify with the remodeling company if they will be working with outside companies and subcontractors on your property. Also, identify the lead person you can reach out to with questions or concerns.
Start and finish dates determine the project timeline. While unexpected problems may occur, an experienced contractor should be able to give you a projected timeframe for the completion of the project.
When something unexpected happens that extends the duration of the project, make sure you let your contractor know of any concerns you may have.
Taking on a remodeling contract is a commitment for the company, but it's also a commitment for you and your household. Your daily life will be affected until the project is complete.
It's important to clarify exactly what the daily schedule looks like. The remodeling contractor should be able to tell you specific hours and days of the week that work will be done. And, of course, the contractor should stick to that schedule both as a courtesy to you and also to meet deadlines.
Working with a contractor that offers a warranty is one way to instantly put your mind at ease. Make sure you get all the details in writing. The written warranty should explain what the contractor will cover and for how long. Don't forget to clarify what your responsibilities are to maintain the warranty.
This one's a biggie. You're remodeling to make your home better, not worse! The last thing you want is property damage in the midst of a remodel.
Ask your contractor what measures they will take to protect your property. They should have clear systems in place for dust containment and establishing a safe construction zone.
Communication is so important between you and your remodeling contractors. Make sure you establish the mode and frequency of communication throughout the project. Set expectations for availability and any "after hours" concerns. Weekly meetings at a consistent time are a great way to make sure you and your contractor are on the same page.
When everything's said and done, what will you be left with? Besides a newly remodeled space that exceeds your expectations, of course. Make sure your remodelers provide you with all the documentation you need.
End-of-project paperwork can include:
* Lien waivers
* Inspection reports
* Marked-up plans
* Operation manuals for new appliances or equipment
* List of subcontractors and contact information
Specifying this documentation at the beginning confirms you will get everything you need when the project is complete.
Congratulations on doing your homework! By asking these questions upfront, you are sure to find a great contractor to work with.
If you live in the North Chicago suburbs, such as Arlington Heights, Barrington, and the surrounding towns, contact Patrick A Finn, Ltd. We'd love to answer all these questions and more for you. Let's talk about how we can help you bring your remodeling vision to life.
Get your hands on the Patrick A. Finn Remodeling Cost Guide now and gain access to pricing information that will assist you in effectively planning your remodeling project. Download the 2023 Remodeling Cost Guide now.