Remodeling your home, particularly the kitchen and bathrooms, can not only add value but also give you considerable comfort and pleasure. And yet, remodeling horror stories abound. If you don’t want to be the lead character in a remodeling horror story, avoid the top four mistakes homeowners make.
Hiring a contractor too quickly
Even if a contractor is referred by a friend or neighbor, you still need to interview them for your particular job. What your friend considers outstanding work may not meet your standards.
Does the contractor have the required licensing, experience, and awareness for the job you want. It’s best to hire a contractor who lives and or works in your city because codes vary from city to city. That way, they are likely to be familiar with the inspection process.
Ask for photos of past work and references. Then actually call the references and ask the best and worst experiences they had in working with this contractor. A key question is did he show up on time or call when he was delayed.
Be clear on what you want, and be sure it’s stated in your written agreement.
Be sure your written agreement spells out when the work will begin and when it is projected to end, and at which stages payments will be made.
Trusting your contractor to find all the subcontractors.
While you may hire a contractor to do the big jobs, you don’t have to use all the subcontractors recommended by your contractor. Interview them too and decide for yourself if they are a good match for you.
Do the work to find your own workers for the parts your main contractor doesn’t do, especially when you’re doing a major remodeling that involves flooring, painting, all new appliances, electrical rewiring, plumbing and more.
Leaving too many decisions up to the contractor.
The contractor may know construction and tools, but only you know what you want. You get to decide where you want the electrical outlets and the type of light fixtures. If you leave these up to many contractors, they’ll just install the cheapest or most convenient for them to attain.
No matter how detailed your written agreement, there will be many small decisions to make along the way.
The biggest mistake you can make when remodeling is being unavailable and inaccessible while the work is being done.
This is NOT a time to take a vacation. If possible, stay in your home or nearby. Give the contractor your cell phone, so you can be easily reached. Monitor the progress and ask questions immediately about work that seems to be out of keeping with what you agreed to. Don’t add new tasks as the contractor goes along unless you want to modify the written agreement and add to the costs.
Don’t sign off and pay the final payment until you are satisfied that the work has been done according to your agreement.When you avoid these four common mistakes, remodeling your home can be a timely and satisfying experience.