Many people these days are looking to renovate their existing homes versus moving due to the uncertainty of the economy. Their feeling is that because they will be at their present home for some time, why not make changes that will enhance their day to day lives. So no matter what renovation you are thinking for your home there are steps you can take to ensure a successful project.
Hiring a designer
Naturally you have probably already decided on what that project is and you may even have started to contemplate what you would like it to look like. Now if you are like many people, you can’t quite envision what the completed project will look like as a finished piece. So if your budget allows my first suggestion would be to ask around for a qualified designer. Maybe you have friends or co-workers who have recommendations. Once you have asked around and interviewed potential designers, you can start the flow of ideas. Designers help with not only choosing materials but also placement of windows, outlets and everything so that when a project is completed it all works smoothly together.
Hiring a contractor
Contractors are like everyone else. Some are really good and some aren’t and the trick is to weed out the poor ones. The first step here is to research and ask around and by all means don’t just run through the Yellow Pages for contractors. Have your friends suggest some people that they have used and then do your own research on the internet, ask them how they worked out and if you think you would be interested in using them, set up a meeting. Now at this point I’ll go through out some hints:
They promptly return your call- very good.
They arrive at the meeting on time and prepared- very good again.
They are running a bit late and they call to apologize- they value you and your time too.
As you meet and talk, what’s your feeling? Do you seem to communicate well and is he interested in hearing what you have to say?
Do you trust this person and feel comfortable? If this is a no then that should be it. Done deal and on to the next contractor. You will be spending a great deal of time talking and dealing with this person and if you aren’t totally comfortable from the start, it will probably not get better as the project goes on. Choosing the right match for your contractor is the hardest part but if you are comfortable with their presence, responses, personality or really any aspect, I’d try someone else. They may be a great contractor but it has to feel right from the start.
Don’t be shy
As you are talking with anyone that may be involved in your renovation, don’t be shy. If you have a question or concern you should ask the person and if they are professional they will know that you may not be knowledgeable in that area and will be more than willing to address your question or concern. You need to feel comfortable in your decisions and choices, they need to explain things to you so that you are. If they aren’t able to or shrug off your concerns and questions, move on as it probably won’t be a good working relationship.
The next thing that you should do to ensure your renovation project is a success is get a contract. Having a written contract is just good for both parties. It spells out what you as the client are expecting as well as the responsibilities of the contractor, designer or anyone else that you hiring. A contract makes sure that everyone is agreeing to the same things and that as the project progresses there are no doubts or misconceptions on any parties part. The client can’t say “I thought we were getting granite counters,” when the contract clearly states Formica. If granite is what they truly want, then a change order can be made and everyone can still feel that it has been a fair process. Oh and if you hear- “oh I never use contracts.” Please move on to the next person
Now if you take your time and do your research and interviews, you should have a successful renovation. However if you don’t do these then you really shouldn’t complain. Remember, there are good designers, contractors, plumbers and electricians and there are bad ones. Asking the right questions and having the right information will be the key to a successful renovation project.
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