A guide to selecting a Remodeler and creating the home you love.
Choosing a remodeler. It isn't as simple as looking in the phone book. But it doesn't have to be difficult, either. By following this guide, you can easily find a reputable remodeler for almost any project.
Your first step is to gather referrals. But how? Ask friends, family and neighbors who've recently had remodeling done. Talk to independent contractors, building materials suppliers, architects, local lenders and home inspectors. And contact trade associations such as your local National Association of Home Builders Remodelors™ Council and National Association of The Remodeling Industry (NARI).
You now have a list of potential candidates. The next step is narrowing the list. Begin by checking each remodeler's references. Ask each remodeler for names and phone numbers of their current and former customers. If possible, talk to these people in their homes so you can see the remodeler's work firsthand.
Some questions to ask include:
It's also smart to call your state or local Better Business Bureau consumer protection agency to find out if there are any unresolved complaints filed against the remodelers on your list. To further protect yourself, check with your state's contractor licensing agency to verify that each remodeler is licensed.
When you speak with remodelers, remember you're buying a service — not a product. The quality of that service will determine the quality of the finished product and your satisfaction with it. With that in mind, here are some areas to explore when interviewing a remodeler.
Does the remodeler:
In addition, shy away from remodelers who:
A word about estimates
Once you've pared your list to two or three remodelers, ask for written estimates based on a set of plans and specifications. This is time-consuming for the contractor, so be prepared to pay for this.
To accurately assess estimates, make sure you're comparing apples to apples. Estimates from different remodelers need to be for identical project specifications.
Finally, don't let price alone determine who you pick. Your ranking of each remodeler in terms of customer service, competence and your overall comfort level should play a role, too.
What you should know about contracts
You've picked a remodeler. However, no work should begin until you have a signed written agreement. Here are some basics your contract should include:
Read your contract carefully, and review it with your remodeler to clarify any wording you don't understand. When you have answers to all of your questions, you're ready to sign the contract and start your project.
Information used in this article provided by the National Association of Home Builders Remodelors™ Council.