The most important piece of advice I can give someone about remodeling projects really comes down to communicating with your contractors. In my experience of owning 2 properties that I flipped, having someone you can trust, be honest with, and not worry about getting the short end of the stick is key!
Of course, there is a fine line between communicating with and talking to your contractors so much that they don’t have time to get any of the actual work done. You’re not out to make a best friend (although it might be your best friend doing the work, which is a whole week of post material), remodeling for whatever purpose such as flipping or just for cosmetic appeal, is still a business deal you are making with someone else. Consider these Do’s and Don’ts of before diving in to changing your new place.
The “Do’s” of Remodeling Projects
Make Sure You Know Who You’re Working With.
This couldn’t be more important. You are going to spend major $$$ improving your home, and you need to make sure that you are working with a solid person you can trust. Finding contractors from companies that prescreen contractors for you is an excellent starting point. No matter where you find your remodeler, make sure you determine if he’s licensed to work in your state, that his insurance is current, and interview him or her to the point that you are comfortable with his skills.
Establish Ground Rules.
Talk with your contractors and establish ground rules for areas of concern. Discuss times when they can start work and when they should finish. If there are going to be children around there may need to be some rules about language, and if they should clean up after each day. Things like this. Remember, if you keep a contractor from working too early, or you need them to clean up, it will only slow down the process. Compromise is key.
Stay out of Their Way.
Your contractors are professionals and they need room to do their work, so once you have the first two steps covered, just step back and let them go to work. Nobody likes to work with someone looking over his or her shoulder, so trust them to do a great job.
Show Your Appreciation.
Being a contractor can often be a thankless job, so a little token of appreciation can go a long way. Maybe you have coffee ready for them on Friday mornings or send for a pizza after a certain part of the project is completed, iced tea, cookies, bagels, etc. It won’t take much. Taking the time to take a step back and tell them just how good they are at what they do is worth its weight in gold.
The “Don’ts” of Extensive Remodeling Projects
Pay your contractor for the materials.
YOU SHOULD NEVER PAY FOR THE ENTIRE JOB BEFORE IT IS COMPLETED. I cannot stress this enough. Establish a fair payment system early on. Whether it is once a month, half now, half after completion, or some other way, make sure that when you make the final payment that your job is fully completed. Do a final walk through to make sure every last detail was taken care of. You don’t want to sweep your kithen a week later and see he didn’t tile underneath the refridgerator.
Don’t be unreasonable about the use of your home.
Certainly, the contractors do not have to eat their lunch in your formal dining room, but offering them use of a restroom, or an outside table to eat on, is common courtesy. Making contractors leave the grounds to eat or use the restroom only slows the project down, plus it creates a sore spot between you and the crew.
Don’t Forget to Prepare.
You’ve hired someone to do the remodeling, but it is your responsibility to prepare your home for the contractors. Give them space to park close to the house so they don’t have to haul tools from too far away. Move any art or breakables far away from the project area so that there is no chance that they will get damaged. Find some way to keep your pets (if you have any) from getting in the way. If pets get out while work is going on, this is your responsibility. Place carpet scraps or rugs down so that they can wipe their feet and not track mud and dirt in the house.
All of these “Don’ts” can be taken care of with a little communication. Be up front with your remodeler, tell him or her exactly what you want, and ask him or her to do the same in return. Get it all on the table. Large remodeling projects are like temporary marriages, and a happy marriage will make this process that much easier.
I’ll leave you with a few pics of my first remodel…Enjoy!
Guest Bath’s Before & After/Master Bedroom Before & After
Rich Dad Says: “Don’t just hope for the best, get the best.”
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