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  • Remodeling Advice

     

    Source: National Association of Home Builders View exit disclaimer policy page for links to third-party websites. (NAHB)  

    Follow these 10 tips when you begin an exciting home remodeling project.

    Establish good, two-way communication with the remodeler

    It's essential to have good communication for a smooth remodeling project. Does the remodeler listen? Does he or she answer questions clearly and candidly? Can you reach him when you need to? Does he return phone calls promptly? Does he let you know when problems arise and work with you on solving them?

    Make sure you have compatibility and fit with the contractor

    You'll spend a lot of time with your remodeler so it's important to have a good rapport and trust in him.

    Set a clear and mutual understanding about the schedule

    You and your remodeler should agree on the schedule up front to avoid conflict and problems later in the project.

    Request a written proposal

    Often times, two people remember the same conversation differently. Get the proposal in writing and work with the remodeler to ensure it reflects your wishes.

    Determine a clear and mutual understanding on the miscellaneous details

    There are many little details that need to be settled before work starts. What times of day will they be working? How will he access the property? How will cleanup be handled? How will they protect your property?

    Remember to be flexible

    Remodeling is an interruption of your normal life. Remember to be flexible during the project so you can handle the unexpected and go with the flow.

    Create a clear and mutual understanding that details how change orders will be handled

    With remodeling there is always the chance you may want to change materials or other project details during the job. Agree with your remodeler on how these changes will be handled before work starts. Also understand that changes could affect the schedule and the budget, so it's important you have all changes in writing.

    Agree on a well-written contract that covers all the bases

    The contract should include these elements: a timetable for the project, price and payment schedule, detailed specifications for all products and materials, insurance information, permit information, procedures for handling change orders, lien releases, provisions for conflict resolution, notice of your right under the Federal Trade Commission's Cooling Off Rule (your right to cancel the contract within three days if it was signed someplace other than the remodeler's place of business), and details on the important issues (such as access to your home, care of the home, cleanup and trash removal).

    Ask for a written Lien Waiver from the remodeler upon completion of the work.

    The remodeler is responsible for paying the subcontractor if he hires one for portions of the work. To ensure this has been done and to protect yourself, ask for a written lien waiver when the work is finished. This document will verify everyone has been paid.

    Establish a project plan, covering all phases and dependencies in the work

    Plan your big-picture goals with the remodeler and talk out your needs. Hire a remodeler who will plan it out with you, listen to concerns and answer questions.

    Last Updated: 4-7-2013