Renovating Your Home in the New Year: Working with a Renovating Professional

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By Mike Eide

Welcome to the second of our 5 part series on Home Renovations in the New Year. If you haven’t already done so be sure to check out last weeks article here.

This week we will be covering a very important step in your journey to having your home renovation complete, “Working with a Renovating Professional”. Working with the contractor or renovating professional you have hired can be a scary task. We hope these tips will help you in portraying your end goals and having them done the way you hope.

Clearly layout your end goals/Communicate with the contractor

Our first tip starts with you the homeowner. You must go into the home renovation with a clear precise plan of what you and everyone in the home wants the end goal to be. Be sure that you communicate with your significant other to be sure you have the same plan. Being on the same page will help you in the long run to be sure that you can portray exactly what you want completed to the contractor. Be sure to write lists, both rough starting lists and a final list that you will go over with the contractor.

When you present your ideas and goals to the contractor be sure that they understand fully what you hope to achieve in the renovation. Be sure to ask lots of questions. If you are not sure of something, or unclear if they understand, ask the question. You will be happy you did in the long run.

Often the contractor will do up drawings of the work they will be doing. Be sure to study these drawings and make sure they portray the exact end goal you have communicated with the contractor.

Another part of the communication with the contractor would be communicating your expectations when it comes to a schedule. We recommend keeping a calendar in a central location showing important events that the contractor may need to be made aware of. Communicate with the contractor ahead of time the hours of which they would like to work and make sure this works for your home lifestyle.

Know what you are getting yourself into

Often homeowners will enter into the process of having a home renovation done by a professional, but don’t fully understand what they are getting themselves into. Your home is about to become a war zone. You will be required to totally clear out your space being renovated as well as the space around that area. Your personal space is about to be invaded while your renovation is being done. Be aware of that and make sure you have an assigned entry/accessible area for the contractor to enter and exit the home.

Prepare for noise, and the potential for lots of it. This is not going to be the ideal situation for you to be putting down your children for naps, etc. If you are sensitive to loud noises we would suggest either earplugs or removing yourself from the home during construction times.

Finally one of the last things you will need to be ready for is that this renovation will be messy. You will have dust and debris floating everywhere. Remember when we said it would be a good idea to clear the areas around the renovated space as well, this is why. A good contractor will do there best to keep the area clean and clear, dust will travel. If you don’t want to be beating dust outta that sofa for months afterwards, be smart and remove it or at least have it covered.

Be sure to ask, and check the contractor’s references

A good renovating professional will take pride not only in their work, but in your entire home as well. The finishing’s will be neat and done nice, the paint will be crisp and not messy. Your home will look like a million bucks when they are done just as you would expect it to. When you are hiring your contractor the only way you can find out if this is the kind of work they do is my asking for references, and being sure to check them. Call the contractor’s previous contracts and ask lots of questions. Were they happy with the overall professionalism of the contractor/their final product? Were they clean, courteous and on time with the entire project? Asking these questions to other homeowners who have had work done by the contractor you are looking to hire can save you big time in the long run of potential costly and unpleasant outcomes.

Here are some final tips we would recommend:

  • Plan to spend 10 – 20% more on your budget. There are always going to be those unforeseen things that come up.
  • Be sure to thoroughly read and have both parties sign a contract of the project.
  • Be prepared to make a deposit of typically 10-20% of the total job upfront. It would be wise to avoid cash deals.
  • Keep a project log of what is being done where and when to help you when you need to go back if there are issues with work or timelines/schedules.
  • Finally, be open to changes. Inevitably changes will need to be made. A good contractor will have suggestions that will help fix these issues and you have to be willing to listen.

We hope these tips will help in in preparing and working with a hired renovation professional. Following these simple tips will help you ensure that your end dream goal for your home is achieved. Be sure to check back with us next week as we tackle “Avoiding a Home Reno Rip-off”.

Do you have any other tips you would like to add? Or maybe a horror story you would like to share, be sure to leave them in the comments below.

Week 1 – Financing your Home Renovation

Week 3 – Avoiding Getting Ripped Off

Week Four: Getting a Return on your Renovation Costs

Week Five: Going Green

photo credit: bradfordnoble via photopin cc