Searching for the perfect design-build team to bring your remodeling dreams to life? Our series on finding a quality remodeler has already brought you plenty of information on what to look for when researching potential partners, as well as what interview questions to ask potential candidates and their references.
After those two steps are complete, you’ll have a couple of great options and will be close to making your decision. Before signing a contract, however, it’s time for the third and final step to selecting a remodeler near you: noticing specific red flags. Here are the top warning signs that a design-build team isn’t your best choice:
Red Flag #1: They offer an immediate start date
During the pandemic, families everywhere spent more time inside their homes. Our family rooms became offices, our countertops classrooms, and all the small frustrations people are normally able to overlook became excruciating pain points.
As a result, remodelers everywhere are busier than ever, and the projects they’re working on are consistently delayed with supply and worker shortages. While the tide appears to be shifting in many areas, great remodelers still have a pipeline several projects deep. In short — we’re all busy!
If someone tells you they can get started on anything but the tiniest home improvement project right away, beware. They might be attempting a bait and switch, offering a stellar start date only to surprise you with dramatic changes after you sign the contract. Or, they might be able to start right away because they don’t have any clients — perhaps due to inexperience or a bad reputation.
Experienced teams with proven systems that leave nothing to chance — and an eager waiting list of prospective clients.
Red Flag #2: The price is too good to be true
As with almost everything in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A super low price point is tempting, but suspicious. After all, they have to be making up the difference somehow — often by cutting corners, using inexperienced teams, or making you do much of the legwork to source fixtures, features, and even permits.
In addition, remodelers could start with a very low price point that doesn’t include most of what you’ll need. While even the best remodelers occasionally run into budget stumbling blocks, they’ll provide a thorough estimate that covers your project from start to finish.
Thorough, organized, and honest estimates that won’t lead to major surprises later.
Red Flag #3: They’re not very responsive
The decision to remodel is a big one. Design-build firms understand that you’ll have lots of questions before, during, and even after remodeling, and the best ones make sure to communicate well and often.
Unreturned calls or emails from the beginning could signal a communication problem, which could cause lots of headaches throughout a project. You’ll need consistent updates as your project moves along, and the assurance that you’ll be notified of any issues that come up. That’s why efficient remodelers place regular communication checkpoints in each phase of a project that allow homeowners to see how the remodel is progressing, make timely decisions, and have questions answered.
Remodelers happy to answer your questions quickly and completely, right from the start.
Red Flag #4: They’re new — or new to your needs
If they’ve gotten this far in the decision process, your candidates have likely shown you pictures of beautiful, functional homes. This red flag is your indication to pause and really consider those images. First, make sure the pictures they proudly display are actually homes they worked on and not stock photography (it happens more often than you’d think!). Second, look for homes similar to yours in style, size, or project type.
Love modern, industrial style? Don’t sign on with a group that specializes in traditional looks. Looking to reimagine your layout completely? Check that the designers or architects have experience thinking outside the box. Somewhere out there is a design-build firm with skills that suit exactly what you need.
A portfolio full of finished homes you’d love to live in.
Finally, a warning: Do not base your final decision on cost alone. Many people claim the best strategy is to get estimates from three remodelers and choose the one in the middle. Others claim the cheapest one will do just fine, while some always go to the most expensive. In reality, cost is only one of many factors to consider. Luckily, following our steps to selecting the right remodeler should make the process more systematic and thorough.
Could Custom Craft be the right home remodeler for your project? Let’s talk.