How to Work With Home Remodeling Contractors

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How to Work With Home Remodeling Contractors

Lisa Bernstein · Aug 8, 2009

Home remodeling can either be the means to an exciting, enjoyable change to your home or a never-ending nightmare. The difference lies in the contractor you choose and how you work with them. The key to any remodeling project is proper planning and organization. These rules apply whether you’re using a general home improvement contractor or a specific type of contractor, such as a kitchen remodeling contractor.

Note: Before you start anything, discuss with your property management company or check your rental contract. Confirm you are allowed to remodel your rental and if there are any applicable restrictions.

The Home Remodeling Process

At the beginning of the process, you will need to set some goals. Start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • Why are you remodeling this area of your home?
  • Does it need updating due to age?
  • Are you trying to change the style of your home?
  • Do you need more space or storage?

Write down your answers for use with the next step of the process. Once you’re clear on your goals, you will need to set a realistic budget. Leave a little leeway in the amount you choose to spend, in case you run into a problem and need to make changes to your plan.

When contacting contractors to bid on the project, be clear about your goals. Be certain that you understand one another. Have each contractor write a detailed estimate of the work, including the scope of the work and a breakdown of each portion of the project. This should include prices for parts and labor. Ask the contractor to explain anything that is unclear to you.

For any home remodeling project, you should obtain several estimates for the work. While it may be tempting to hire the least expensive contractor, doing so may not be in your best interest. What you’re looking for is the best quality contractor at the best price. Low estimates often mean that the contractor is inexperienced and may do shoddy work. Always hire a contractor who is licensed and insured. This protects you when something goes awry and damage must be repaired.

Managing Your Home Remodeling Project

Everything that you and your contractor agreed to verbally must appear in a written contract, including the price and payment terms. Once the contract is signed, and work is scheduled to begin, move any items that may be in the contractor’s way.

Try to be home when the contractor is working, so that any problems can be addressed immediately. When you can’t stay home, leave clear instructions for your contractor about locking all doors and cleaning up your home at the end of the day. Don’t forget to arrange a plan for how your contractor can contact you, in the event that something goes wrong.

Quality contractors want to create quality home remodeling projects. Their reputation and livelihood depend on it. For this reason, you should always bring any concerns you have to the contractor’s attention. Speak up when you don’t like the way something looks or how it is installed. You and your contractor are a team; how you work together will make all the difference in the world, in terms of how your project turns out. With a clear plan and good communication, you can create the home remodeling project of your dreams.

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Lisa Bernstein: As a long-time apartment dweller and seasoned condominium trustee, I have dealt with numerous landlord-tenant, property management, and day-to-day apartment complex issues. My extensive, direct experience has led to invaluable insights into apartment life from both the tenant and management perspectives.

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