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Don’t Remodel Your Home Until You Do These Four Things

indexHave you been wanting to update your kitchen, remodel your bathroom, or add a sun room to the back of your house?  Many people find that living in a home for a while can get stagnate.  Moving can be really expensive, so the alternative to keeping things fresh could be to remodel.  Before you get knee deep in scaffolds, drop clothes, and nail guns – do these four things.

Find the Right Contractor

All things being equal, this is probably the most important thing you can do before you remodel your home.  Having an inexperienced, lazy, or dishonest contractor can ruin everything.  I know a client that found a contractor on Craigslist.  He was courteous, professional, and priced just right.  However the homeowner almost ended up in a lawsuit with the HOA because the contractor improvised when it came to replacing the fence and violated the HOA terms.  In order to find the right contractor, get referrals from friends and family.  If your friends or family don’t know of anyone try a professional referral site such as Angie’s List.

Go Shopping

Before you settle for one contractor get three or four different bids.  Bids can take several hours of a contractor’s time, so let them know up front you are serious about hiring them.  The lowest bid isn’t always the best solution.  If you have three bids that are about the same and then an insanely low bid, think twice before hiring that contractor.  If you like the contractor but aren’t too thrilled about their bid, then try negotiating.  Let them know you want them to do the job, but have other bids if they can’t get within your budget.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Once you’ve found the right contractor you need a solid plan in place.  Sit down and talk with your contractor about your vision.  Sometimes what we envision isn’t allows doable or if it is it might cost three times what you had in mind.  Your contractor is experienced and knows what’s workable and what’s not.  Discussing your ideas and developing a solid plan with your contractor will put you both on the same page and give you a peace of mind before the work begins.

Get the Paperwork

You’ve found your ideal contractor, you have the right price, and you’ve discussed your project(s).  Now get EVERYTHING in writing.  Don’t pay your contractor one dime until you’ve got a signed contract from your contractor.  Make sure it includes price, payments, terms, time line, drawings, descriptions, etc.  Don’t leave out anything.  Even if you like the contractor and feel good about it, you need the paperwork in case something goes wrong.  That contract is your insurance policy.  Things do go wrong.  If this happens then talk with your contractor and try to work it out, but know you have the contract stating all the details just in case.   

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