Saturday, 24 May 2014

How to Avoid Home Remodeling Disasters

The horror stories of home remodeling disasters are a legion. It’s enough to put people off even thinking about renovating their homes. Sure, folks will tell you that for every disaster there are 9 plus successful remodels. That’s nice to know, but how do you make sure that you are among the successful ones? Keep the following points in mind and you will have a remodeled home that will be the envy of your friends and neighbors.
  • The Contractor: This is the first and most important aspect of the remodel to consider. You could have a large remodeling budget, the best of designs and materials and be ready to spend months on the project. That’s all great, but the wrong contractor can ruin everything. It’s important to understand what is meant by the ‘wrong’ contractor. It need not be someone who is out to cheat you or one whose work is substandard. The wrong contractor is one who is not on the same page as you in regard to the kind of remodeling you want done and the type of home you are aiming for. Yes, you need to check the credentials, experience, references and have to look at the work done on other projects. Those who satisfy you in these aspects can be placed on your short list. Now comes the tough part – talking to them to find the one who is most in sync with how you want the remodeling to be done. Without this, misunderstandings, disagreements, arguments and bad blood arise and these can ruin the best planned of home remodels.
  • Homeowner’s Responsibility: Having the right contractor does not mean that you can put your feet up and do nothing till the project is completed. You need to stay involved and be available to provide any support to the contractor. This does not mean getting underfoot and hampering the work or the pace at which it is being done. It means having a clear understanding about your responsibilities and being available to fulfill them as and when required. Also, have a person designated as the decision maker.
  • The Design-Build Option: Disagreements between designers and contractors are a major pain in many home remodeling projects. The ideal solution is to use a contractor with design-build capability which means that he can do both the design and the project execution. This will eliminate the possibilities of misunderstanding and disagreements between the two. If that is not possible, you need to ensure that the designer and contractor are both on the same page. Meet regularly to review progress and resolve any issues that may arise.
  • Budgeting: Most homeowners stretch their remodeling budgets to the maximum and try to fit in everything they can, down to the last dollar. Yes, it’s your home and you want it to be the best it can be and every dollar counts. But what happens when the unexpected happens (and it will!) and you need to take out your wallet? You have to make up for this unplanned expenditure somewhere and that will mean rushing to find ways to cut costs on things you are committed to. Not only is that tough, doing it in a hurry can lead to making bad decisions. Instead, keep a contingency amount to cover unplanned expenses. It may mean cutting back somewhere, but it can save you a lot of heartbreak in the future. And if the money is not used, you can spend it on the home once the remodeling is completed.
  • Insurance: Check that the contractor is fully insured. Otherwise you could be liable in the event a worker is injured on the job or for any damages to your home or surrounding property.

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