Hiring a Remodeler 101: 5 Important Tips

It’s finally time! You’ve saved money, looked at magazines and internet photos, and now you’re ready to embark on the home remodel of your dreams. Well, maybe not that $100,000 remodel you saw online, but something similar and less costly. Before you jump into your dream design, it’s a good idea to hire a professional remodeler. If you’re changing the structural, plumbing or electrical aspects of your home, hire a pro.

Make sure to keep these tips in mind when looking for a professional:

#1 Who do you need to hire?

Hiring the right pro is the first step in any successful remodel. Depending on your project, you might need:

  • Architects: Architects are necessary if you’re making big changes to your home. They can help draw up a blueprint for your contractor to reference.
  • Designers: A design pro will help you focus on the visual aspects of your remodel.
  • General contractors: Most general contractors focus on the structural aspects of your job. But they can also hire additional pros for speciality projects.

#2 Does your pro have a license?

Licenses ensure your pros understand important building laws. If a prospective pro isn’t licensed, keep looking. In addition to a contractor’s license, make sure your pro also has the following:

  • General liability insurance
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Bonding

#3 How long will the remodel take?

Establish a completion timeline before you decide on a budget. Ask your pro and check with secondary sources to establish a timeline.There are unexpected surprises that come up during a remodel and increase your total time. If you haven’t hired your pro, don’t expect an exact date. Most pros will offer an estimated completion date during interviews.

#4 How much will this cost me?

According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, some of the average costs you’ll pay for remodeling projects are:

  • $9,300 for a bathroom remodel
  • $20,100 for a kitchen remodel
  • $18,600 for a basement remodel
  • $35,800 for multiple room renovations
  • $10,600 for a garage remodel

While these numbers vary by locale, they’re good indications to compare against your pro’s estimate. You should get estimates from at least three remodeling professionals. Also, break down the cost of the project according to materials, labor and permits. If something seems off in any quote, walk away.

When discussing payment, make sure to:

  • Space them out over the entire project. Your initial installment should be 10 percent of the total project cost.
  • Discuss how plan changes will affect the total cost of your remodel.

#5 Additional Tips for Hiring a Remodeler

Consider these additional tips as you search for a remodeling pro:

  • Look for referrals: Use an online service to find remodeling professionals. You can also ask friends and neighbors for recommendations.
  • Interview multiple candidates: Make sure you speak to at least three potential candidates before you hire a pro.
  • Check references: Ask your prospective pros for a list of past clients. Contact the homeowners on the list and ask them about their project.
  • Get everything in writing: Never do anything by word of mouth with your contractor. If you don’t have your agreement in writing and something goes wrong, you could be liable.

Understanding Quality

The lowest bid for your project might yield low-quality results. If the contractor gives you low prices, you might end up with a shoddy job that requires more money to repair. While you shouldn’t exceed your budget, sometimes it’s worth putting in a little extra for better results.

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