If you want a smooth home remodeling project, we suggest (and we’re biased) hiring a professional. Professional, licensed home remodeling contractors have the training, licensing and experience needed to complete your project up to code, on time and on budget.
Now, assuming you’re not going to tackle your home remodeling project yourself, here are some tips for hiring and working with a professional. As always, screen multiple contractors before hiring one to complete your project. Check their licensing and check their references.
1. Establish good two-way communication with your home remodeling contractor. Good communication is key. Does the remodeler answer your calls or emails promptly? Does he or she listen? Does he or she answer questions clearly and honestly?
2. Make sure you’re compatible with the contractor. You’ll spend a lot of time with your home remodeling contractor, and you’re inviting them into your home. It’s important you develop a good rapport and trust him or her. Do you like them? Or is there something not quite right? Trust your gut.
3. Have a clear, mutual understanding of the schedule. You and your home remodeling contractor should have a schedule in writing. This agreement should include start date and completion date, and contain language about notifying you of any delays.
4. Get a written proposal. Often, two people remember the same conversation differently. That’s why it’s important to get the proposal / estimate in writing.
5. Work out the smaller details ahead of time. What time of day will they begin work? When will they finish for the day? Where will they park their trucks? How will they access your property? How will they handle cleanup? Etc.
6. Be flexible. Home remodeling interrupts your normal life. If you go in with a flexible attitude, it will help you deal with the unexpected. Sometimes home remodeling uncovers problems you didn't know existed.
7. Know what change orders are and how they will be handled. With home remodeling projects, there is always the chance that you will want to change materials or other details of the project once it is already underway. Before work starts, make sure you and your remodeling contractor agree on how these changes will be handled. Be aware that any changes should be in writing, and may affect your budget and the date of completion.
8. Get a well-written contract that covers all of the bases. The contract should include: timetable for the project, price and payment schedule, detailed specifications for all products and materials, insurance information, licensing information, procedures for handling change orders, lien releases, procedures for conflict resolution, notice of your right to cancel and details on issues such as access to your home, cleanup, etc.
9. At the completion of the project, ask for a written lien waiver. If the home remodeling contractor hired subcontractors to work on your project, it is their responsibility to make sure those subcontractors get paid. A written lien waiver protects you and your home, and verifies everyone has been paid. This way, no subcontractor can file a lien against your home.
We hope you find these tips helpful. If you’re considering a home remodeling project, we hope you’ll allow ALC Contractors to meet with you and offer a free consultation. We are award-winning home improvement contractors serving the greater Baltimore area, including Howard Count, Baltimore County, Carroll County and Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Call us today at 410-356-7300 or use our Contact Form to schedule a free estimate.