Your home is more than just where you hang out. It’s the sanctuary you seek every night. It’s the place your children grow up. It is where life happens after the work day ends. It doesn’t only need to reflect your personal tastes and values—it needs to be a part of the family.
If you need a remodeling, a new addition, or even a new home build to accomplish this, then you’ll need to work with the right contractors. Here’s everything you need to know about making the right decisions for your home:
Step One: Choosing Your Home’s New Look
Start with the big ideas first. Do you have a specific style you want in your new home? A specific theme? If you have a significant other, talk it over with them so you’re on the same page—otherwise, you might run into speed bumps down the line.
Step Two: Choosing a Designer
Once you know your direction, the second step is to find a designer that will fit your vision. Here are some ways to find a designer that has experience in creating what you envision for your home:
- Use a site like Houzz.com to browse individual designer profiles. Home Advisor is another popular site for choosing contractors who work with homes.
- Use more criteria than just price. The designer you choose should have experience in your city—without this experience, you may struggle with endless corrections and an even more difficult time in finding city approval. Find someone with local, relevant experience, and a great track record.
- Personality matters. You’re looking for a long-term relationship here, and you need someone that will be a pleasure to work with and easy to communicate with.
- Check references—always.
From the outset, make it clear to the designer what you’re looking for—and make that clear in the contract. You don’t want to find yourself halfway through a project where everything feels “off.”
Step Three: Choosing the Right Contractor
As mentioned earlier, always look at contractor references. Has a contractor worked with anyone you know? What kinds of recommendations have you seen? What reviews have you read? These are your first clues. This type of research will shed insight into exactly what you can expect. This cannot be stressed enough.
You always want to double-check that you’re hiring a licensed contractor, as well. Anything less can lead to a whole host of problems. I have come across too many people who had to hire someone else to correct the mistakes that were made by an individual who wasn’t as experienced as they claimed. In the end this can cost you more money than you had imagined, so choose wisely.
If you face a contractor who’s giving you prices that seem “too good to be true,” then they might be exactly that. “Lowball pricing” is one way for scheming contractors to get their foot in the door, only to raise the prices as the project goes along.
To protect yourself against this, you need a solid contract with your contractor. There should be monetary penalties for mistakes and time delays that are not agreed upon initially. Even though the majority of people do not do this, finding a lawyer, to draft up this kind of legal agreement between owner and contractor, will ensure that not only is everything crystal clear but that you’re looking out for your best interest. Even if you have a friend who is in the field of construction, or something relating to it, it is a good idea to have them look at the contract as well.
Step Four: Getting Through Construction Challenges
Even effective, professional contractors and home designers will face construction problems along the way. In many cases, it’s simply part of the process.
If you’re working with an experienced, licensed professional, then you’ll want to take their advice on how to proceed. They might even present you with a few feasible options. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they would do.
Most importantly: remain flexible. You’d be surprised at how often what seems like a big problem turns out to be a minor speed bump on the road to a better home.
Step Five: Understand the true value of your home
Your home is an investment that most likely came with a quite the price tag. Most people can’t duplicate money like that easily so be wise with how you approach your home remodel.
When you make the right choices from the outset, the rest of the process will go much more smoothly.