Home Improvement Projects Made Easy (Part 1)
Everyone in Lancaster County, PA has heard the expression, “You get what you pay for?” This saying is never more relevant than when discussing your home remodeling project. Going by price alone increases the risk of a project failure… and higher costs down the road. With the proper planning and a knowledgeable contractor, you can be assured of a job well done at a reasonable cost. Remember that home improvement can be a fun experience for you and your family too. Whether you are planning a home addition or need a few small things done around the house you should always choose the contractor you feel most comfortable working with. Here are some tips to get the most out of your next home project:
- Connect with your contractor. The right person for the job will be easy to talk to.
- Do you see eye to eye? Be sure to hire a contractor that understands your goals and has experience in the type of work you are looking for.
- Understand the price of the materials may reflect their quality. Ask your contractor for their recommendations. Is it worth it to cut corners if it’s a temporary fix?
- The lowest bid may not be the best candidate. Request a written description of the materials necessary for the job. A low bid may indicate a contractor that uses sub-par materials or is desperate for work. The more accurate bid is likely somewhere in the middle.
- Get involved by keeping the lines of communication open. Insist on regular contact by e-mail, phone or text. Allow the work crew to manage their day-to-day work, but set up a weekly face-to-face update from the foreman.
- What’s in a name? Abbreviations behind your contractor’s name can represent certifications from national trade organizations and that company belonging to certain organizations that bound them to a strict code of ethics. Such abbreviations include: CGR & CAPS and BIA & NAHB.
- Get it in writing. Your contract should detail time frames, the total cost, payment arrangements, your contractor’s license number, project description, names of parties involved, and how to handle additional costs if necessary.
- Be cautious if you are not given a timeline for the job to be completed. This may indicate the contractor has several current jobs and may not complete your job timely.
- Record key contact information for everyone working on your project.
- Be upfront about your budget. If necessary, break the project down into mini-projects. Although this may increase the total cost due to repetitious start-up expenses and inflation, it may be a better option for you to spread the cost out over time.
- Is your contractor insured? This is a must; otherwise you could be liable if a member of the work crew becomes injured on the job.
- Educate yourself on what permits are required and what regulations need to be followed. Your contractor or architect should be responsible for applying for and acquiring all necessary permits.
- Ask for information about what’s going on behind the scenes. The cost of the job will increase if the contractor is surprised by outdated wiring or other concealed issues.
- Organize your job-related documents (such as the contract and contact information) in a readily accessible file.
- Make space for the work crew to keep their supplies and equipment on site. The more organized and accessible these items are, the faster they will be able to do their work.
Your dream kitchen is within your reach! Your new family room addition awaits! Stay tuned for more tips next month.