Remodeling Advice

Source: National Association of Home Builders

10 tips for Your Home Remodeling Project

Establish Good Communication

It's essential to have good communication for a smooth remodeling project. Does the remodeler listen? Does he or she answer questions clearly and candidly? Can you reach him when you need to? Does he return phone calls promptly? Does he let you know when problems arise and work with you on solving them?

Make Sure You Have Compatibility with the Contractor

You'll spend a lot of time with your remodeler so it's important to have a good rapport and trust in him.

Set a Clear & Mutual Understanding About the Schedule

You and your remodeler should agree on the schedule up front to avoid conflict and problems later in the project.

Request a Written Proposal

Often times, two people remember the same conversation differently. Get the proposal in writing and work with the remodeler to ensure it reflects your wishes.

Determine a Clear & Mutual Understanding on Miscellaneous Details

There are many little details that need to be settled before work starts. What times of day will they be working? How will he access the property? How will cleanup be handled? How will they protect your property?

Remember to be Flexible

Remodeling is an interruption of your normal life. Remember to be flexible during the project so you can handle the unexpected and go with the flow.

Create a Clear & Mutual Understanding on Change Orders

With remodeling there is always the chance you may want to change materials or other project details during the job. Agree with your remodeler on how these changes will be handled before work starts. Also understand that changes could affect the schedule and the budget, so it's important you have all changes in writing.

Agree on a Well-Written Contract 

The contract should include these elements: a timetable for the project, price and payment schedule, detailed specifications for all products and materials, insurance information, permit information, procedures for handling change orders, lien releases, provisions for conflict resolution, notice of your right under the Federal Trade Commission's Cooling Off Rule (your right to cancel the contract within three days if it was signed someplace other than the remodeler's place of business), and details on the important issues (such as access to your home, care of the home, cleanup and trash removal).

Get a Written Lien Waiver from the Remodeler Upon Completion of the Work

The remodeler is responsible for paying the subcontractor if he hires one for portions of the work. To ensure this has been done and to protect yourself, ask for a written lien waiver when the work is finished. This document will verify everyone has been paid.

Establish a Project Plan

Cover All Phases & Dependencies in the Work

Plan your big-picture goals with the remodeler and talk out your needs. Hire a remodeler who will plan it out with you, listen to concerns and answer questions.