Creating a drawing board for renovating your house can be exciting; a new kitchen, creating more space in your living room, adding an additional room, oh my! How thrilling all of this is when you’re starting to prepare a totally new look for your house. However, it can easily turn into a disaster if you don’t plan ahead.
I have some quick tips for those of you out there that are looking to remodel your home—you’ll end up with an amazing finished product with no headache.
What exactly is it that you want to do? Come up with a design, and look up the information about “said” plan. You want to be knowledgeable in the subject—what needs to be done, what tools, how long it may take, and the easiest (and most efficient) way to do it. This way, when you hire a contractor, you’ll know a fair amount of what needs to be accomplished. I’ve had family friends hire a contractor without any knowledge of the subject, and ended up getting pretty screwed when the contractor went the long route of their project instead. Knowledge is power!
You’ve decided what you want to remodel, and you’ve looked up the information on what the project entails. Now, all you have to do is find the contractor.
When finding a contractor, you really want to use all your resources in finding the best one for you. At MyHammer, you’ll be able to find the right contractor easily and fast. They’ll be able to help you narrow down your choices by posting what type of job you want to be prepared on your home. This way, the special job you need and want for your home, will have the exact contractor you need. When you’ve narrowed down your choices of a contractor, ask for references and follow up on them. Ask if any problems arose, if they liked their finished product, and if they’d contact the same contractor again for any future renovation.
Once you’ve decided your contractor, start creating a “bid” to discuss, before you hire him. You want to know what he thinks, before you put anything down on paper. Discuss the scope of the project: what you want done, what is needed, and the time frame. Remember, a bid isn’t the final say. It’s a starting point. If a contractor is telling you that he works on a “cost-plus” or “time and materials” basis—be wary. They may be planning to cut corners, or give you that nightmare headache I was telling you about earlier. Check that they have liability insurance, and ask to see their compensation policy. You don’t want to be doing anything unexpected if they end up getting hurt on the job.
You’ve discussed your plan, talked to a potential contractor, and hired him. Now, time to create that contract, and get everything sorted out on what needs to be done—with all the legal ties.
Depending on which city you live in, home renovation permits vary. Check which permits you need and what needs to be done by contacting your Department Of Building Inspection within your city. Typically, your contractor should already know and present this information to you—but like I said, knowledge is power!
In the contract, include:
• Permits—your contractor should abide by all state and city codes when remodeling your house.
• Dates—include the starting date of this project, and a reasonable “finished” product date.
• Changes in contract—this states that nothing can be changed in your contract without consenting to both you and your contractor.
• Payment—this should be a no brainer, but many people over-look this step. Set up a payment plan with your contractor that’s reasonable for the both of you.
• Holdback Clause—this insures you that when the project is completed, you can first inspect the finished product before payment. If you see anything that needs fixing, talk with your contractor.
All of these steps may seem like a lot of busy work, but it needs attention. This is your home, your life and your money that you’re dealing with, and you want to make sure everything runs smoothly. Hiring the right contractor, setting up the contract, and knowing what your project entails, will help you in this remodeling process—you’ll end up with the finished product you wanted, without the headache.
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