Ask These Key Questions BEFORE You Start any Remodeling Project!
Whether you are planning a total remodel of your entire home or just updating a room or two, it is important to have all the facts and answers to all your questions before you spend any money or begin demolition.
We hope by providing you with a few of those important questions to ask a contractor, your next home remodeling project is a stress-free success.
1. Will you obtain all necessary building permits?
Most local governments require a homeowner to obtain a permit prior to making any changes to their home. The regulations and requirements will almost definitely vary from town to town, and county to county. Be sure you are working with a contractor who is familiar with local statutes and will secure all necessary permits prior to beginning the project. This is important to avoid any fines and project delays.
2. Is your remodeling bid a quote or an estimate?
While almost every project is subject to a certain amount of surprises, the total cost should not be one. Request that all project bids are itemized with firm costs. Know exactly what your contractor will charge you for labor and materials for each phase of the project (demolition, electrical, plumbing, installation, finishing, etal). By doing this, you not only know how much the project will cost, but that you might be able to save yourself some money by completing the demolition yourself prior to the contractor’s arrival.
Keep in mind that some projects result in cost overruns. As some professionals say, “you never know what’s inside a wall until you tear it down.” However, the contractor should inform you of any surprises that will result in additional costs, explain exactly why an additional cost is necessary and secure your explicit approval before moving forward.
3. Do you have local references and photographs of recent projects?
There is perhaps no better way to get to know who will be doing the work in your home then by getting familiar with a variety of projects they recently completed for other homeowners. If you get names and phone numbers, don’t be afraid to call perfect strangers to ask about their experience. You will find that people love to brag about their home if a remodeling project resulted in a beautiful upgrade.
Ask if the workers were responsible, if all the work was done as promised, on time and as quoted. Find out if the material used for floors, walls, counter tops, appliances, etc. was that which the contractor quoted or if they attempted to substitute materials during the project. Find out if the work area was left as clean or tidy as possible after each day, and if the workers showed up on time and put in a full day’s work.
Local references tend to be a good indicator that a contractor is familiar with local statutes and permitting regulations. It could also indicate a relationship with permitting authorities and inspectors.
If a potential contractor provides few or no references that should be a BIG red flag.
4. What is the time frame for completion?
Get the contractor to commit to a project schedule. Ask that they include a daily or weekly (depending on the length and nature of the project) progress update. A brief status meeting is a great way to make sure everything is on budget and on schedule.
Some contractors overbook themselves and may leave some projects early to put extra workers on another, larger, more lucrative project. If a contractor is unwilling or unable to commit the appropriate manpower to your project it is probably best to look elsewhere.
1. Will the contractor obtain all necessary building permits?
2. Do you have a clear understanding of the total cost?
3. Does the contractor have local references?
4. Will the contractor commit to a project timeline?
Meet with several contractors; even obtain suggestions from friends and family members who have had positive remodeling experiences. This will definitely help you find the right crew for your project.
Once you are satisfied with the answers go ahead and hire your contractor and get started.
Get ideas today by visiting the home remodeling showroom at Reliable Home Improvement!