A home repair or remodel doesn't need to be a nightmare. Perhaps you've had a bad experience with a contractor or know someone who has. No one wants dirt and dust everywhere...loss of a bathroom or kitchen for weeks...workers hammering away at the crack of dawn...frayed nerves and short tempers for everybody in the home...or worse, the job never seems to end!
Whether or not you choose us for your job, check out these tips that will help you to realize your home repair dreams.
Write down all the things you want to do and what you expect to achieve. Then write down the minimum you feel you can settle for. Give both lists to your Contractor as a basis for your discussion. Your Contractor can help you decide what options you can get for your budget.
Decide how much you want to spend. Be aware that the price of building materials can change dramatically in a very short period of time due to fuel costs, market availability, etc. The price your neighbor was quoted last year (or even last month) may have changed...be sure you know! Then add 10% for the unforeseen...25% for older homes, because older homes often have "hidden" issues with electrical wiring, plumbing, air conditioning, etc. Your municipality may now require upgrades to meet current building codes. Perhaps you won't need the extra money, but it's a smart thing to plan for!
Consider all the structural and cosmetic elements that will be necessary to complete your job. Stay flexible…if your Contractor suggests a change, be sure you understand why and how it will impact your budget.
Choose your Contractor carefully. Ask friends and neighbors for their recommendations...if your neighbor was happy with a remodeling company, chances are you will be, too…but there are some guidelines. Your Contractor should be reputable, licensed and insured, and should be able to furnish references. Be sure to check that all insurance, licenses, etc. are current. Take the time to check references.
While you may spend more time and effort than you will save "shopping around" for someone to install a ceiling fan, we do suggest that you get at least 3 estimates for any substantial job, or for any job involving structural changes to your home. However, don't automatically choose the cheapest estimate...be sure you understand why one Contractor is charging more (or less) than another.
Make sure your Contractor understands the rules you expect him to respect and follow. For example, if you don't want workers waking you up at the crack of dawn, specify a start time. Demand that work area be left clean and neat at the end of each work day. If your pet likes to escape from the yard whenever the gate is open, warn the Contractor. If you have fragile items, electronics, etc. in the work area, discuss with your Contractor who will be responsible for packing them safely away. Discuss the disposal of discarded items such as appliances and carpet...will your municipality pick them up if they are left at the curb? Would you prefer your Contractor to haul them away? Your decision on some of these issues will determine a part of the job cost.
Surprises are expensive. You are entitled to have the job turn out the way you want it to, and this is more likely to happen if you take advantage of your Contractor's expertise. It's a team effort...listen to his suggestions…be sure you understand each other…then evaluate the cost and make up your mind. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words when you want to share an idea. Make your product or design decisions before the job starts; if something must be changed, discuss it with your Contractor as quickly as you can. If you won't be at the job site, be available by phone and return "missed" calls promptly. Agree upon a deadline for job completion, but understand that there must be some flexibility...if it rains for two weeks, completion of your deck will be delayed. If your carpet is back ordered, it can't be installed until it is delivered.
List a mutually agreeable schedule for payments to be made as work progresses, or hire a funding firm to do it for you. The most common payment arrangements are:
* 30% upon job start
* 30% when job is completed half-way
* 30% upon substantial completion of work (when the site may be used for its intended purpose)
* 10% upon completion of final punch-out
Make your Contractor responsible in writing for obtaining lien releases from each subcontractor and/or material supplier involved with your job.
Here at A-1 Lightfoot Construction L.L.C. we ensure that our workers treat you and your property with courtesy and respect; when you treat our workers the same way, you'll find that you get much more. We provide our clients with phone numbers for our Job Coordinator and General Manager; should a problem arise, feel free to call.
Before you sign off on the remodel, be sure everything works properly, that the job is done to your satisfaction, and that you have a copy of all lien releases and all final approvals on any permits pulled to complete your job. Remember that someone must be at the job site for final inspection on permits. Now...relax and enjoy you new home improvement!