Whenever you make a life-changing decision whether it’s buying a house, where to go to college or selecting a doctor to perform surgery, you would not make a choice based solely on price, right? You’d also want to make sure you were getting the best quality for your dollar.
This should be the same mentality you have when you hire someone to remodel your home. While your house may not alter your life, it can impact your quality of life. When you consider how much time you will spend at your house, shouldn’t you feel good about your surroundings?
Of course you should. Which is why it’s crucial not to pick a home remodeler just because they offer you the lowest price.
Think about any job interview you’ve ever been on. Salary probably didn’t come up at the beginning, right? It needed to be established that you were a good fit first. That is exactly how you should go about hiring a home remodeler; make sure they’re qualified first then you can talk about compensation.
Here are a few steps to ensure you get the best value for your home remodeling dollar.
Speak with people who have worked with any home remodeler you’re considering hiring—especially people who had work done that’s similar to what you are looking to do. Don’t just ask, “How did they do?” Be specific, ask them about the quality of the work, how their payment schedule works, did they meet all promised deadlines, etc..
If you really want to get a reference’s true feelings, ask them if they’d hire the remodeler for another job. If they are quick to respond yes, you should probably put them on your list of finalists.
Be sure to ask references if you can take a look at the work yourself. It’s not that you don’t trust them, but you can get a better feel for the work if you can see it in person. Things to look for are craftsmanship, materials quality, how the project looks in regards to the rest of the home, the remodeler’s creativity and the general look of the work.
Make sure anyone you hire to work on your home is certified all the way around. Verify that they are licensed if your city and state requires it.
You will also want to confirm the remodeler and their employees are insured and bonded. If they don’t have worker’s compensation insurance and get hurt, it could be you who is stuck paying for their medical bills and making up for any wages they lost because they’re unable to work.
You can take an even deeper dive into a remodeler’s credentials and ask if they belong to any type of professional trade association. For example, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) holds its members to a strict code of ethics that requires them to only produce factually accurate promotional materials, only promote products and services that are functionally and economically sound and more. You can bet any home remodeler that is in the NARI database is legitimate with those kinds of standards.
Once you’ve moved past the “interview” phase and feel comfortable with a remodeler’s previous work and credentials, it’s time to talk about the project and price.
First, get your budget on the table as soon as possible. There may be an inclination on your part not to share that number because you are afraid the remodeler will spend it all, even if they don’t need to, but reconsider. Fortunately you took the time to do your homework already. You spoke to people who’ve used the remodeler before, examined their work in person and made sure that they have insurance and are licensed.
The reason you did that upfront work was so you’d feel more comfortable in situations like this. So, let your remodeler know how much you have to spend on the project. This way, you’re both on the same page from the beginning and the remodeler will help you not go over your budget.
Once your budget is disclosed and you’ve picked a remodeler, you’ll need a bid. It should be as detailed as possible and include things like material brand names and model numbers, a payment schedule, allowances, the estimated completion date and of course the total cost.
Your remodeler will work with you to make sure the project stays within your budget; that may mean offering up suggestions for less expensive replacement materials such as vinyl laminate instead of actual hardwood for the floors.
It may seem time consuming to do so much legwork upfront to hire a home remodeler. However, it’s better to spend that time doing research at the beginning of the project rather than after it’s over and you have to track down the person you hired because they were the cheapest when their work falls part.