Are you considering major home renovations? Here are a few things that will make your Builder/Contractor smile and maybe make the process a whole lot easier.
Do your homework
You don’t even make dinner reservations until you cross reference the reviews on Yelp and Open Table – shouldn’t you spend some time checking the reviews on the builders you will be speaking to? The time it takes to come to the property and give you a quote is time he or she will not be making money. Have your questions ready and ask for references. Your builder would much rather have you ask all of your questions up front then have multiple conversations and/or emails.
Know what you can spend
Be definite. Don’t let the builder create a quote and a plan for $40,000 only to find out later that you can only spend $25,000. And don’t allow yourself to be rudely surprised mid-job to discover that you can’t liquidate the funds you thought you could lay your hands on.
Do you need a general contractor?
Having major renovations completed can feel like a full time job with a large cast of characters. If organization is not your strength consider hiring a general contractor to oversee the project. It will save you time and the hair you don’t rip out.
Know your priorities
Your main priority is knowing what your budget is. After that you must be specific about what part of the renovation is the most important to you. When you begin a project your contractor may find some surprises behind your walls and the budget numbers may change. Be very clear about what you absolutely positively must have in case you hit an unexpected snag.
Agree on a price
Make sure that your quote is as through and detailed as possible and that you and your builder have explored all of the possibilities and potential issues and that you have established a solid price.
Agree on your payment schedule
No one on either side likes surprises when it comes to money.
Agree on expectations
At the pre-contract meeting talk about working hours, times and length of lunch and whether the builder will do weekend work. It's also good to discuss what happens in case of bad weather. Go through the detail of the stages of the project so you get the big picture and agree what access is needed to your house. Does your builder supply their own portable toilets or will they be stomping though your house to use the bathroom? Even the smallest details can make the difference in a relationship that will last the length of the project!