In Phoenix, we’ve been seeing some eye-catching home remodeling trends that are very exciting. People are making the most of their space with additions, home renovations, and luxury upgrades and the market is noticing. Not only do these changes greatly improve your own satisfaction and enjoyment of your home, but they also offer a great resale value to future buyers when you are ready to sell. Customizations that are unique to your needs can also give you the freedom to express your personality while updates and modernizations keep your home current and lively.
How To Prioritize Home Projects: What Should You Start First?
Today's housing market is leading most homeowners to avoid buying and selling, and instead, they're focusing on remodeling the homes they're already in. Because of this, many homeowners want to tackle multiple home improvement projects, which makes it challenging to determine which project to begin first. If you've got several projects on the priority list, we've provided some questions to ask yourself so you know how to decide and conquer one project at a time.
How Long Does a Kitchen Remodel Take?
Ask About Scheduling Restraints
Although it is rare for remodeling contractors to have a "slow season," there certainly are times of the year when you can expect the most delays. The busiest times for remodeling professionals are typically in the summer and the few months before the holidays. As a result, it may take longer if you're trying to remodel your kitchen during this time. This is because it's harder to get subcontractors on the schedule, and shipping materials may also take more time due to demand.
This is why you're usually better off planning a kitchen remodel about a year in advance with a kitchen designer/remodeling contractor. When you approach your project in this fashion, you can choose a time that works best for you, and you benefit from being one of the first people on the schedule.
7 Red Flags: Choosing a Home Remodeling Contractor
When planning a home remodeling project, choosing a quality remodeling contractor is often the most important step in ensuring your satisfaction with the results. After all, you want someone who has experience completing projects to specifications, using quality materials, staying on budget, and meeting any deadlines they set.
But how do you know which contractors are reliable enough to hire?
Knowing what red flags to look out for is key when determining who among potential contracting candidates can provide their services dependably and efficiently. Read on how to identify warning signs indicating it's best to continue your search elsewhere.
1. Poor Communication
Communication is essential when hiring a contractor, no matter the size of the project. Your contractor should be in contact with you through every step of the process and keep you well informed. Contractors often have a preference for how they communicate with you, but they shouldn’t force you to use one or the other. For example, when choosing a remodeling contractor, if you prefer to use email, yet they rely on text messages, they should be willing to follow your specifications, at least for the most important communications.
You can often get a good idea of how effective a communicator a contractor is in your initial dealings with him or her. For example, is the general contractor quick to respond to e-mails or calls, and do they respond professionally? If not, then it might be time to look elsewhere.
2. Won’t Show a License or Insurance
Arizona law requires a license for most types of construction work. However, many home remodeling contractors claim to have a license and don’t. That can be bad for homeowners, especially if they get work from someone who hasn’t invested the time or effort to qualify for a license. Failing to get or keep a license may mean that someone doesn’t have the qualifications for the work they’re advertising. It might also mean they had a license, but there were so many complaints about their work that theRegistrar of Contractors revoked it.
When considering a potential contractor, ask them to show proof of license. If they can’t, there is a reason. Even if they show one, looking them up at the business bureau or the state licensing board is smart. This way, you can verify that your contractor has an active license and confirm that they’re licensed to do the work you need. As theArizona Registrar of Contractors' website states, "Anyone can pretend to be a contractor. Check the license."
When following up on the licensing, ask about insurance, such as liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. Some projects require additional insurance to protect you, your property, and the workers on the job. Most contractors will cover this as part of their estimate, but you’ll want to follow up. If something goes wrong, the last thing you want is to get sued and be held liable for an accident you didn’t cause.
3. An Impossibly Low Estimate
No homeowner wants to spend more than they need to when undergoing a home renovation. However, a general contractor who offers a significantly lower estimate than others is a potential red flag. Their low bid may indicate that they are cutting corners or not including all of the costs involved in your remodeling project (expenses such as dust protection, debris clean-up or employing licensed sub-contractors).
4. Very Little in Writing
When you hire a contractor, documentation is the best way to protect yourself as a homeowner. When you conduct most of your communication over the phone or in person, you lose access to those records that help you ensure you get what you want. Sometimes, you have a misunderstanding with a contractor that would be better clarified in writing. Be wary if they’re unwilling to answer your questions by email or text. Contractors who won’t communicate with you in a way that leaves a paper trail may be trying to cover their tracks.
This is particularly true for the estimate. Never take someone’s “back of the napkin” quote as a final indication of what something costs or the total cost of what they expect you to pay. Get a detailed estimate and review it carefully before you let anyone start work or request permits. Go through each item and make sure that you understand it all. If you see vague terms in the estimates or categories like “labor” that cover the whole project, get clarification.
5. Lack of Past Work
Reputable remodeling contractors should have photos of their work from former clients readily available in a portfolio or gallery of completed remodeling project pictures on their website--not stock images. If you’re unsure whether someone’s work is their own, do a reverse image search to confirm.
Additionally, look at the contractor's online reviews in places like Houzz, Google and Facebook to help gauge their reputation and check references. This will also help you understand better the types of remodeling projects they do.
6. Inability to Obtain a Permit
Any reputable contractor should be happy to go through the process of obtaining any necessary building permits from your local government. If a contractor asks you to get the permits for any reason, this should be considered a red flag. More than likely, this contractor is asking you to do the work because he or she isn'tlicensed to obtain the permits as a contractor, which is a huge red flag. You may need to sign the paperwork, but that's the extent of your involvement in the permit process.
7. Requesting Total Upfront Payment
Contractors will set up a payment schedule and review it with you before the job even begins. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay a portion of your project cost upfront, but you should never be expected to pay in full before the home renovation project has started. A contractor who wants your business should allow you to put down a deposit and then render the remaining payment throughout the project or upon the project's successful completion. Ensure the contractor has clearly outlined the full payment terms and schedule in their contract or construction agreement so all parties understand when progress payments are due and for how much.
Also, be skeptical of any home remodeling contractor who asks you to pay by cash only. You want to have a record of your payment, and money doesn't allow for this. You'll have a payment record by paying by credit card or check. Additionally, only make checks payable to the company name; a home remodel contractor who asks you to write a check out to him may not be properly set up as a legitimate business.
There's much to remember when searching for the perfect contractor for your home improvement project. Take the stress and hassle out of this task; you deserve to enjoy remodeling your home.Learn more about the Hochuli's, and look at these additional homeowner resourceswe've included to help you choose a quality remodeling contractor for your project that you can trust.
Questions to Ask During Your Remodeling Design Meeting
Before you schedule a meeting with your design and remodeling team, you may spend some time evaluating a number of companies. You’ll ask about their experience with projects like yours, as well as verify that they have the proper licensing and insurance to do the work. Once you get to your first big design meeting, you may have lots of ideas to share. It’s also important to ask these questions.
8 Tips for Living In Your Home During a Remodel
You’ve decided to remodel your home, and you couldn’t be more excited. The finished result is a goal you may have been waiting for years to achieve. And yet, before you enjoy it, you have to go through it. For some people, living in the home is an important part of maintaining their health and managing their stress throughout the project. With these eight tips, you will know what to expect and be able to handle it with greater ease.
Stay in the Same Home and Neighborhood by Investing in a Home Addition
Many people buy a home with the intention of moving out in the future to accommodate the family they intend on having or just to upgrade into a nicer home. However, when you want something more than what you are getting from your current home, you do not have to actually buy another home. Investing in a home addition is a great alternative that many times is easier and more cost-effective, which also creates added equity and value for your home.
New Bathroom? Avoid These 5 Bathroom Design Mistakes
Whether you're remodeling your current bathroom or adding on to your home, there are some common mistakes that are made that if avoided in the beginning, can minimize stress in the end. If you're designing, building, or doing a bathroom remodel, don't make these mistakes. It's important to remember that bathrooms are functional and have the users, and how many there are, in mind. Regardless of whether it's a personal or guest bathroom, functionality, accessibility, and design are not to be overlooked.
The Three Approaches to Remodeling Your Home
Thinking about remodeling your home? There are three approaches to consider when it comes to remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, creating more space with a room addition, or other home improvement project. We’ll cover the various options in this blog.
Fallen Out of Love with Your Kitchen? It May Be Time for a Remodel
When you bought your house, you bought it because it included the space you needed in addition to a great kitchen. However, with the growth of your family or the desire to entertain with friends and family, somehow the kitchen just isn't right anymore. Have you taken a look around your kitchen lately to assess its use and the quality of its functionality? If you want to find the love again, consider hiring a design-build kitchen remodel contractor.