Are you among the growing number of home owners who are choosing to remodel their homes to fit their changing needs, rather than selling their home and buying another one? If so, you’ll soon learn that even simple remodels can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. With that type of investment on the line, it’s important to find a contractor you can trust.
As the home building and remodeling industry celebrates National Home Remodeling Month, here are the top five tips to ensure you make the right decisions when you find, evaluate and hire a remodeler.
1. Always Go with a Pro
The best place to start is the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange & Chatham Counties Directory of Professional Remodelers at hbadoc.com. A professional remodeler will uphold the highest professional and ethical standards in the industry. These sources can also help you find a remodeler who specializes in a specific type of remodeling if you need it, such as a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) to help modify your home to better suit you as you age, or a Certified Green Remodeler (CGP) to make your home more energy-efficient.
2. Do Your Research
Look at the prospective remodeler’s company website and social media accounts to see photos of their work. Visit review sites like HomeAdvisor, Houzz, Angie’s List, etc., to see more pictures and to read reviews of remodeling companies. Take the good with the bad when reading online reviews and focus on the descriptions of experiences and qualities that are most important to you as a customer. Ask for referrals from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and others who have had remodeling work done on comparable homes under similar schedules.
3. Create Your Short List
Once you have a list of potential home remodelers for your project, do a little more background research to verify that they are appropriately licensed and have a good business track record. Look them up with your local or state office of consumer protection. Verify that the remodeler has the appropriate licenses and registrations.
4. Start Taking Notes
When you begin meeting with remodelers, you want to find out information such as:
• How long they have been in business in your community? Can they provide references from customers and suppliers they work with?
• Do they carry insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries? Ask for a copy of the insurance certificates.
• What is their working knowledge of the many types and ages of homes in the area, and what sort of issues could arise?
• Do they arrange for the building permit? (The person who obtains the permit is the contractor of record and therefore liable for the work)
• Do they provide a written estimate before beginning the work, and a detailed contract that spells out the work that will and will not be performed, protects both of you, provides a fair payment schedule contract and complies with local, state, and federal laws?
5. Trust Your Instincts
Make sure you are compatible with the contractor you select. Beginning your project with mutual expectations will go a long way towards a smooth remodel. You’ll spend a lot of time with your remodeler so it’s important to have a good rapport and trust in him or her.
For more detailed checklists for finding, evaluating and working with a remodeler, contact us today!
Chad D. Collins, Accredited Master Builder
An area native, NC Licensed General Contractor, National Association of Home Builders Master Certified Green ProfessionalTM, and Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, Chad is one of less than 50 Accredited Master Builders in the state. He achieved this professional designations after years of experience and numerous hours of coursework via the NC Builder Institute. Chad has been an active member of the building industry since the early 1990’s. He joined the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties in 2005. Chad was soon named HBA Recruiter of the Year and he subsequently chaired various HBA committees. Chad is a Licensed Home Inspector, as well as, a Licensed Lead Abatement professional.
In addition to industry awards in recognition of excellence in home building and remodeling, Collins Design-Build has twice been named Building Company of the Year via the HBA’s Triangle Sales and Marketing Council MAME (Major Achievements in Marketing Excellence) Awards. The company has also received a Best Green Built Home STARS Award from the NCHBA. Currently, Chad serves as 1st Vice President of the HBADOC, and recently completed one of Durham’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) residential projects. LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, projects must satisfy pre-requisites and earn points to achieve various levels of achievement.
In 2014 Chad was selected as the HBADOC 2014 Builder of the Year and recently honored at The International Builders Show in Las Vegas as the NAHB’s Certified Green Home Professional of the Year.
This post was written by Chad Collins