There's almost no overestimating the importance of finding the right remodeling contractor. For many homeowners, a kitchen or bathroom remodel can be the biggest investment put into a home after the initial purchase. Remodeling can be an enormous job. It can also have a huge impact on the quality of your everyday life. You should always take care selecting any professional contractor who will be entering your home or property. That said, taking a little extra time to choose a remodeling contractor is a must given the scope of most remodeling projects.
Remodeling Contractor Basics
Talking to and getting estimates from multiple remodeling contractors is one of the keys to making a smart hire. You'll be able to see what's out there and how different contractors approach their remodeling business. Part of this process is getting the best deal for your remodeling project, but you'll also want to consider who you feel most comfortable with, even if that contractor doesn't come in with the lowest bid.
Understanding Contractor Agreements
Contractor agreements are not going to be the same from one company or project to the next, but there are certain things that every good contractor agreement is likely to have. First, you should never have to pay the entire balance of a major home improvement project upfront. Many homeowners choose to pay for their remodeling projects with home equity. This is often the most sensible way to finance your remodel, but make sure you don't leave yourself vulnerable by surrendering payment before the job is done. Financing and payment should be clearly spelled out in a written contract, and to protect both parties it will often parallel the schedule of work to be done.
Another thing to look for in your contractor agreement is a section that describes how disputes will be handled. With good communication, it is likely that you and the company you hire will be on the same page throughout the project, but even on good projects, mistakes can happen that leave you feeling less than satisfied. If a third party is identified to arbitrate or another definite plan is spelled out in your contractor agreement to handle these situations, you can feel confident that if a problem arises, you'll have an agreed upon path to a solution.
Home Shows Offer Remodeling Options
Finding a contractor you can trust to create exactly the remodel you want can be difficult, and one good way to do some preliminary leg work before you begin a major remodel is to go to a home show. This will allow you to see what's out there in remodeling contractors, remodeling installations, and new products. It will give you some basic knowledge to more effectively communicate with your contractor and more specific ideas for your project. Chances are a crowd of consumers won't allow you to talk to contractors at length about your particular project but, meeting contractors in person will help you choose which ones you'll want to follow up with. Plus you can always gain the knowledge from the questions other homeowners ask.
Establish a Relationship with Your Remodeling Contractor
Finding a contractor you like can be an invaluable resource for your home. Even if you don't have any other projects or home repairs at the time of the remodel, you most likely will at some point in the future. Remodeling contractors often have many areas of home improvement expertise, and most have plenty of contacts in the business. If a contractor you've worked with before has met all your needs, but is not able or available to complete a future project or repair, they may be able to offer a good recommendation for another local contractor.
Having a good relationship with your remodeling contractor is dependant on several things, but probably the most important is respectful communication. If you can convey that you respect the fact that your contractor has a job to do and let him or her know what you are happy or unhappy with about the project as it goes along in a respectful manner, a good contractor will return the favor. This kind of communication begins when going over the contractor agreement, but if it carries through the entire project, you'll be left not only with a successful remodel, but a trained professional you can count on for years to come.