Often times, the hardest part of starting a home remodel is choosing a remodeling contractor. What do you look for? Do you hire an architect or a design-build firm? How do you choose? Searching for the right contractor takes work. To make it easier for you, and to ensure your experience is as enjoyable as possible with the fewest regrets, we’ve put together a few steps for you to consider as you begin the selection process. Use these six guidelines to ensure that you hire the right contractor for your next home remodel.
1. Know What You Want and How You Want to Live
Beyond knowing what you want your kitchen or bathroom remodel to look like or where you want to add or expand living space in your home, you should also consider having an important conversation with your remodeling contractor about how you plan to live, work and play in your home (in 5 years, 10 to 15 years or even a lifetime). Do you have plans to keep your home in the family for many generations? Do your family members have any health or physical needs that will need to be accommodated now or in the future? How does the flow in and around rooms currently function for you? What challenges are you experiencing with your home, or anticipate in the future?
Evaluate your remodeling contractor on whether or not they address these important personal questions—your lifestyle, health issues, family growth plans, hobbies, or work habits, etc. Doing so means that you’ll work with someone who will help you avoid big surprises or disappointments when the project is complete.
2. Decide Which Delivery Method is Best for You
If you’re considering a major remodel, it’s important to explore the two most common delivery methods for your home remodel. Many homeowners start by hiring an architect, working with him/her to come up with a plan set, then shop around for a building contractor. With this approach, the homeowner makes decisions about almost every detail of the home remodel design and building process without any input from the contractor.
Alternatively, a more cohesive remodeling approach can save homeowners time, money and headaches. It’s called design-build remodeling. Design-build holds both design and construction under a single source of accountability. It allows the design-build firm and homeowner to develop a cohesive project plan from the very beginning. Ideas are shared freely and evaluated in relation to the homeowner’s needs, wants, timeline and budget considerations – everyone working together, from start to finish.
Take a few minutes to read our guide on understanding the differences between Design Build and Design-Bid-Build.
3. Ask for Referrals from Friends & Family
Reputable home remodeling contractors generate glowing recommendations. When you’re ready to remodel, be sure to ask your friends, family, neighbors, and other acquaintances to identify a remodeling contractor that they trust and would use again. Asking for a recommendation helps you narrow down your selection, and may also help you determine which contractors to avoid. Look for someone who has experience in your neighborhood or specific remodeling expertise (e.g., you need someone who has experience remodeling kitchens).
4. Review Their Reviews
Put your computer to work and take the time to read online reviews. And, look for places where reviews are hard to fake, such as Houzz, Google, Yelp and a third party customer satisfaction surveying service, like GuildQuality. What are people saying about the company and their experience with them? And better yet, how is the home remodeling contractor addressing complaints? Look for someone who is able to provide quality references and don’t be afraid to ask to see some of their completed projects in person or to speak to their past clients! This simple exercise can tell you a lot about your contractor prospects and help you hire the right one.
5. Do Your Due Diligence
A good word from a neighbor and impressive reviews is a great way to narrow your search, but shouldn’t stop there. Take the time to view their project portfolio online, paying close attention to the project descriptions and looking for similarities in your own remodeling project. A review of their home remodeling projects will give you a much better idea of their workmanship, design innovation, and ability to satisfy their clients needs. Also, be sure to check references, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and visit a current job site, when possible.
6. Get to Know Your Contractor
Do yourself a huge favor and take the time to get to know your contractor. After meeting with them in person, did it feel right? First impressions do matter! So, pay attention to how you felt. Evaluate their communication skills. Are they hard to get a hold of? Do they return your calls? If they are not communicating well at this early stage, you may not be able to depend on them to be responsive and communicative throughout your home renovation. Do they share your values and fit your personality? It’s important that you hire someone that you like, are comfortable with and can see yourself working with for potentially many months.
Once you’ve made your decision, also be sure the contract is detailed and that you’re comfortable with it before the project starts.
Schedule a Meeting with a House Remodeling Contractor
At Main Street Design Build, we know how important your home is to you and how critical it is that your home remodel gets done quickly, professionally, and to your satisfaction. For over 25 years now we have been creating award-winning home additions, kitchen remodels and bathroom remodels in the Metro Detroit area. With our in-house design team and highly-skilled tradesmen, you can expect personal care, accountability, timeless design and exacting attention to detail that transforms your house remodeling dreams into precious living spaces.
Contact us today to schedule your free design consultation and find out why homeowners are choosing Main Street Design Build.