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Tips for Home Remodel and Contractor Relations

Updated on October 23, 2017
Nancy Owens profile image

Nancy is an everyday woman with a love for staying active, participating in sports, and outdoor activities.

Remodeling a Home can be a Great Experience

Be sure to take before and after pictures before beginning work.
Be sure to take before and after pictures before beginning work. | Source

Plan Your Home Remodel Job

Planning your project is critical to the success. In most cases, the home owner does the preliminary planning and then selects the contractor to do the work. This process of planning is often skimmed over by home owners who are in a hurry to get things started.

Rushing through the planning stage can often result in botched jobs and costs that skyrocket into the stratosphere because of surprises that crop up during the project.

While doing the planning, be sure to make a list of all the fixtures and other materials you want to use in the project. Include the cost, be it in square feet, by length, or by item. Measure several times. This will help you to calculate cost on things like counter topping and flooring.

Decide now what things you can do yourself, such as painting and cleaning. This can often save you money on the project.

Don't forget to include costs of new siding for additions and roofing for the extension. Go back over your plan to see if you can cut expenses.

Add about 25 percent to your budget for unforeseen costs. This way you will have fewer surprises.

Do research before hiring a contractor.

Know ahead of time what fixtures and other materials you want. This helps the contractor give a more accurate estimate.
Know ahead of time what fixtures and other materials you want. This helps the contractor give a more accurate estimate. | Source

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Your Remodel Contractor and You

Everyone knows that it is best to select a licensed contractor for the job. That said, there are some things you should talk with perspective contractors about before deciding which one you will go with.

Ask the contractor if they will come every day until the job is completed. Ask about their hourly rates. Take some time to talk with them enough to know if they get "your vision" or not. Ask if certain aspects of the job are labor intensive. If you ask a him or her, "Is this hard to do?" Most of the time they will tell you "No." However, they may not think to tell you if it is labor intensive, which means more cost, or if it requires moving plumbing and electrical wiring, which also is very expensive.

After you have selected your contractor, get a firm start date for the project. This is also a good question to ask when interviewing the prospective company or person who is doing the estimating for the job.

During this time it is also a good idea to ask about dust, debris removal, and how you will need to move furniture and your possessions in order to make room for them to work.

Be sure to ask about process and flow of the various job components, such as what area they will begin work on, and how they will move from component to component until the job is finished.

Getting this information will provide you with the ability to stay abreast of what is going on in your own home from one day to the next. It will also help you to plan when you will need to move furniture or vacate the house for a day while they work.

Keep the Remodel Work Space Clear

Keeping the work are clear for your contractor helps the project go smoothly. Pets like to hang out but can get in the way of the work.
Keeping the work are clear for your contractor helps the project go smoothly. Pets like to hang out but can get in the way of the work. | Source

During the Remodel Project

During the remodel phase, be sure to find out on a day-to-day basis when the workers will arrive at your home. Be up, showered and dressed. Being ready when they arrive helps to keep the costs down and keeps the work flowing. It also helps to keep the relationship positive. If you are not ready, it puts the contractor behind schedule, creating problems for you, him, and his other clients.

Clean, clean, clean. If they are working in your kitchen, for example, be sure to have all areas cleared. Eat off paper plates if you have to, but make sure you do not have dirty dishes, or household garbage in the way.

One handy man went to do what was a very small job for a client. When he got there, however, he found that he needed to move boxes, machine parts, and all manner of junk just to reach the shelf that he was to repair. This was a storage shed. As he was going in he commented, "And people wonder why it costs so much." It took him over an hour of back-breaking labor just to get to the job he was supposed to do, and even then there was just a trail to the spot.

Make it easier on the contractor to save money and have a good experience. If you want the shelf repaired, make sure he can easily walk up to the shelf and have room to work.

After The Home Renovation Job is Completed

Be sure to contact your contractor right away if you find any items or issues that need to be taken care of. Most contractors have a time limit for contacting them, such as one year or six months.

Take the time to examine each area that has been worked on. Write down a list of any blemishes, cracks, or other items that need touching up. Doing this as the project progresses is an excellent way of having to revisit problems later on.

Still, over time you may find that something jiggles, or leaks a couple of weeks or even a couple of months later. Most of the time you will not have significant problems if you hired a reputable person for the job, but sometimes things crop up. Know that this is fairly normal. Just contact the person who did the work right away so that they can take care of it in a timely manner.

© 2014 Nancy Owens


Submit a Comment
  • Nancy Owens profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy Owens 

    7 years ago from USA

    Thank you for reading, MillionaireTips, and yes. My personal experience over time with remodeling has taught me that the more I communicate and measure and plan my project, the more satisfied I am with the results. Thanks again for stopping by.

  • Millionaire Tips profile image

    Shasta Matova 

    7 years ago from USA

    These are great tips for hiring a contractor for a home remodel. I agree with you that proper communication is the key - you need to ask the right questions about the cost, the actual scope of the work, the schedule, any preparation, and the work that is involved. With proper communication, everyone involved will know exactly what to expect of the other.

  • Nancy Owens profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy Owens 

    7 years ago from USA

    Yes, they do. I think one reason is because people don't ask what is involved, and in the case of on friend of mine, she kept changing her mind and adding new items to the list. That's why planning is so important before selecting the contractor. It is very easy to go over budget fast.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image


    7 years ago from USA

    This is good, practical advice. Contractors notoriously go over budget and sometimes do not show up on time. You've provided good tips on preventing many misunderstandings.

  • Nancy Owens profile imageAUTHOR

    Nancy Owens 

    7 years ago from USA

    Thank you for reading, billybuc. While this article is not all inclusive, I have found that communication before the hammering and nailing begins is key. There are some really great home architect computer programs available now for not too much money that can help with building plans for city approval on the remodel. With new home construction using one of these programs can also help to cut costs for architect fees when drawing up the blue prints.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    7 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I'll stick this in a file and use it in two years when we build our new home in the country. Thanks for the tips.


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