Sunday, March 9, 2008

You Are Here. Now What?

You've probably been contemplating a Renovation project for some time now. These things don't usually come to fruition too quickly. Rome wasn't built in a day you know.

Homeowners Renovate for different reasons; your family is growing or the kids finally moved out or you're going to get the kitchen that you always dreamed of. But the reality is that there are as many reasons for not starting a Renovation as there are reasons for Renovating; we just can't afford it right now, will this price us out of the neighborhood, where do we begin, we don't know any contractors. Have you ever uttered these words?

One of the biggest keys to a successful Renovation is getting good advice upfront. Whether you work with a Renovation Consultant, an Architect or a Design / Build firm, it's important to have questions concerning feasibility, scope and budget answered early on.

If you will be putting your project out for bid, your goal should be to have your project as accurately defined as possible before you go to contractors for bids. Working with your design professional, strive to define not only physical dimensions, but material and fixture selections, details and finishes. This information will not only help the professional that you're working with put together more accurate budget numbers for you, but it will also help glean tighter and more accurate bids.

When it's time for the bid process, make sure that you're comfortable with a list of at least 3 contractors before asking them to bid. The following 5 tips will help you to pre-qualify those in consideration:

  • Ask for references, including not only clients but material suppliers and creditors.
    Contact past clients and inquire about the contractor's reliability, honesty, quality and cleanliness. Also ask about their attitude, ability and process for dealing with changes. And the most important question, "Would you hire them again?"
  • Contact material suppliers and creditors and inquire about the contractor's credit and promptness of payment.
  • Ask for license and proof of insurance information and check with your local Better Business Bureau for reports about the contractor.
  • If possible, tour not only completed projects, but projects that are currently under construction.
  • Most importantly, work with a professional that will help you to develop a well defined game plan and help you stick to it. They will help you work within your budget, prepare for and conduct the bidding process and analyze bids and select a contractor. The strategy that they help you prepare will lay the groundwork to a successful Renovation.

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