Similarly to the question “What does a bag of groceries cost?” this is a very difficult question to answer. It depends on what is in the shopping bag – bread and butter or steak and lobster? Cost is dependent upon the scope of your project/budget and your needs vs. desires. For some clients a “phased remodeling” is the best long-term solution. Home remodeling is unique and personal to each homeowner, at TZ of Madison we excel at understanding your individualized needs, goals and budgets.
A professional proposal/contract should be very detailed. Any one can present a dollar figure and sign their name to an agreement, but you may be getting into trouble if you don’t follow these simple guidelines:
- Require a start and completion date, in writing.
- Personally check the contractor’s references on their performance with former clients.
- Find out if your contractor holds any certifications, such as Certified Remodeler for NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) or other qualified trade designations.
- Were they within budget?
- How did they handle changes?
- Was there good communication?
- How easy were their staff and subcontractors to work with on site?
- Other issues that are important to you!
Larry Taff, MCR has moderated a “How to Avoid a Home Improvement Horror Story” seminar through the NARI Remodeling Expo for the last 6 years. Below is an outline of his seminar and his suggested tips are well worth following:
NARI of Madison Presents:
How to Avoid a Home Improvement Horror Story
1. CLEAR COMMUNICATION IS VERY IMPORTANT
A. Require a well-written contract
B. Detailed written plans and specifications
C. Ask how job will be run and who will be in charge
D. Allowances vs. Taste = Cost and Opinion vs. Budget
2. BASIC CONTRACT LAW ON REMODELING CONTRACTS
A. Know what must be in writing
B. Be aware of lien waivers
C. Be notified of lead hazards and implications
D. Awareness of other concerns that may arise
3. ZONING, BUILDING PERMITS AND INSPECTIONS
A. What are you really getting by being inspected?
B. No guarantee
4. WHERE TO FIND CONTRACTORS?
A. NARI directory good start – Read tips and follow up!
B. Suppliers references or lists
C. Referral from friends
5. ASK FOR REFERENCES
A. Past customers, suppliers, subcontractors
B. Make a couple of calls- Listen to what is NOT said!
6. SIZE & TYPE OF PROJECT WILL DETERMINE WHAT TYPE OF CONTRACTOR AND/OR SUPPLIER YOU MAY NEED
A. Whole home vs. Window replacement
B. Electrical or plumbing update
C. Kitchen or bath minor remodel vs. major remodel
D. Roofing repair or replacement?
7. WHO DO YOU NEED TO HELP DEVELOP PLANS & SCOPE OF WORK?
A. Designer or architect, general contractor, specialize service
B. Suppliers do not usually install
8. HOW DO I KNOW WHAT IS THE “COST” OF THE REMODEL I WANT TO DO?
A. Educate yourself, attend remodeling shows
B. It is not unusual to pay for the development of plans and specifications that will pay for itself, in time saved, stress reduction and confusion
C. It is a must to have a “ball park” idea of your budget for the cost of your project