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Great Remodeling Choices 101: What Your Contractor Should Know

Feeling confident that you have an excellent contractor is an essential component of the success of your project.



Photos courtesy of Design Studio Interior Solutions

This article is the second of a four-part series about making smart decisions before embarking on your home remodel project.

Part one of this series covered the initial questions to ask when you’re looking for a general contractor. This installment goes a step further, addressing how to delve deeper once you have found a contractor you like—to ensure it’s a great match and that your dream remodel or rebuild is a success.

The process of remodeling can be frustrating, scary, and emotionally draining. Nonetheless, your project can be managed so that it is exciting and delivered on time and on budget.

Here’s the inside scoop: Your general contractor should come to the table with the following knowledge and resources from which you, the homeowner, benefit. Be sure to cover the following topics with your general contractor:

1. The general contractor will know whether architectural and structural drawings are required. If so, this is the single most important factor in driving an accurate project budget. These drawings are necessary in order for the contractor to completely and fully understand what they are to deliver.

2. The general contractor will know what the market in your neighborhood can bear. For example, if you are remodeling a kitchen and the average house in your neighborhood is $1.5 million, then you need to know that a $20,000 remodel price will detract from the value of your property when you go to sell it. It is important to work with professionals who can guide you on this matter.

3. Your general contractor will provide you with transparent pricing and help you clearly determine whether you want to work on a cost-plus, max-pricing, or fixed-price basis. It is ultimately up to you to collaborate with the general contractor on this budget and sign off on it before your project begins.

4. The general contractor will categorize the budget by tasks and products. In other words, in keeping with the kitchen remodel example, demo, plumbing, electrical, cabinetry, hardware, countertops, and appliances should each be identifiable line items. Transparency about fixtures and finishes, clearly delineating what you, the homeowner, supply for the project and what the contractor is responsible for providing, and a plan for dealing with late or damaged products is imperative.

5. Insist that the budget account for everything, including a contingency line item for the unanticipated. This is a non-negotiable!

6. A general contractor will have extensive knowledge of the permitting process and contacts in the city and county.

Above all, when choosing a general contractor, if for any reason you feel something is not right, then follow your instincts. Bid the project out to one or two others, or get help from a professional accredited in the field of design or remodeling to help you navigate this terrain. Feeling confident that you have an excellent contractor is an essential component of the success of your project.

Keep your eyes peeled in September for part three of this four-part series!

Judy Goldman is the owner and CEO of Design Studio Interior Solutions, a residential and commercial interior design firm based in Boulder, Colorado. View their profile or contact them at 303.652.1727.

Content for this article provided by Design Studio Interior Solutions.

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