Welcome back to our series in selecting the right home remodeler! If you’ve completed step 1 and done your research, it’s time for step 2.
In the last post, we mentioned the importance of asking for referrals from friends or family when looking for a quality home remodeler. After that initial research, you’ll have narrowed your choices to a handful of highly regarded home remodelers near you. Next, you’ll set up a consultation. This is where the remodeler will come to your home and get a general idea of your needs and wants, as well as an overview of limitations and possibilities.
This is the best time to pepper your possible partner with questions like:
What’s your process?
Look for a remodeler with an established process broken down into specific steps. Be sure to ask how your specific project fits into their process, so you understand what they’ll be doing — and what they’ll need from you — at every step.
What’s your current availability?
This is a bit of a trick question. Small projects can sometimes begin soon, but everyone is working with limited resources. Be wary of the contractor who can start work tomorrow — there’s likely a reason they’re not busy. We’ll dive into this more next month.
Do you use employees or subcontractors — and how do you vet them?
Most design-build firms hire subcontractors for certain parts of the project like plumbing and electrical work, and they’ll have go-to partners they work with. You’ll want to make sure that extended team is dependable and does quality work.
Have you worked on homes like mine?
Don’t be anyone’s practice. Ask if they’ve completed work in your neighborhood, or at least for before and after images and project descriptions of homes with similar square footage and price.
Ideally, they’ll suggest you connect with a former client with a similar home or project. When you speak to them, be sure to ask:
Did they complete your project within the agreed timeline?
Keep in mind that — especially in the last two years — there may have been understandable setbacks. The important part of this question is to find out how those setbacks were handled and communicated.
Was the project completed within your budget?
If it wasn’t, make sure to ask what happened. Sometimes unforeseen problems pop up or plans change, causing the final price tag to be higher than the estimate. Budget changes aren’t fun for anyone, but they’re rarely dramatic or entirely unexpected — that often indicates a too-low initial estimate.
Tell me about a time something didn’t go as expected. How was it resolved?
It’s very rare for projects to move forward exactly as planned. Again, the important takeaway is how issues were handled. Did they communicate problems right away? What was the solution? How did it affect the end result?
Did you stay in your home during construction? What was that experience like?
Was the construction crew respectful and considerate? Did they keep your home clean and avoid unnecessary intrusions on the rest of your house?
Would you hire this builder for another project?
This is the most telling of all the questions. In the end, regardless of how bumpy the road was to get there, if the homeowner says they’d hire the team again, it’s a great sign you’ve found a winner.
After interviewing remodelers and references, you should feel confident with a narrowed-down list of candidates for your project. Come back next month for the final step!
Wondering if Custom Craft could help you with your next project? Contact us to find out!