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Friday, May 20, 2011

Want your remodeling job done right? Hire a professional

Want your remodeling job done right? Hire A professional
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May is National Home Remodeling Month.

Any homeowner planning to remodel wants nothing less than a professional job. We all want the best quality in terms of workmanship and materials when it comes to improving our most prized and valuable asset.

When it comes to selecting a remodeler, however, too many buyers conveniently forget the time-proven adage that you get what you pay for.

The dilemma that confronts many homeowners is their desire for a top-notch job at the lowest possible price.

With price as their primary focus, they ignore other criteria that may carry more weight in producing a successfully completed project and a smooth working relationship with the remodeler.

It's understandable that price is a major consideration when it comes to remodeling.

The cost of remodeling has increased as the demand for remodeling grows.

Higher costs of materials and scarcity of skilled labor are just two factors contributing to price hikes.

Remodeling magazine reported in a cost-vs.-value survey that a mid-priced major kitchen remodel, the most popular remodeling project, typically costs $58,400. A minor remodel of the same 200-square-foot kitchen costs about $21,700.

Homeowners need to understand that remodeling is a service and not merely a product.

This service encompasses the intangibles that make up the process of remodeling -- how everything comes together and results in a satisfying experience and an acceptable finished product. The materials and products that go into it can't define a professional job alone.

The nature of remodeling as a service becomes even more pronounced when you consider that inevitably you'll be sharing your home with the remodelers' crews for days or even months, depending on the scale of the project.

All remodeling involves some degree of inconvenience, but that can easily turn into a nightmare if your remodeler doesn't put your family's comfort and concerns first.

Rather than selecting a remodeler based on where one bid falls compared to others, shift your focus to finding a professional remodeler; then go about getting a bid on your job.

If the bid is higher than what you budgeted, work with the remodeler to decide where you can cut back or what you can postpone.

Ask for suggestions. For example, you can always have the remodeler frame in a fireplace to be installed later, but he can't upgrade the customer service if there wasn't any to begin with.

Some important characteristics you should be looking for to ensure that you hire a professional remodeler are:

• Experience: Ask how long the remodeler has been in business. Longevity suggests financial stability, which is necessary for the remodeler to finish the job and still be available if problems crop up after the job is completed. Also, the more jobs the company has completed, the more expertise the remodeler will bring to your project and the hidden surprises that remodeling typically entails.

• Reputation: Look to the remodelers' former and current customers to gauge the company's reputation. Obtain the names and phone numbers of customers you can call to ask their impressions of the company's work and customer service. Ask for a personal visit to see the work they had done and ask whether they would hire the company again. Go visit one of the company's jobs in progress to evaluate how they manage the construction process and how tidy they keep the job site.

• Business credentials: A good place to start your search for a remodeler is with your local home builders association and its Remodelers Council. These groups work to keep their members informed about educational development, new products, construction techniques, business practices and industry issues.

In New Jersey, they promote the Home Improvement Contractors Registration law, which is part of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, and other required certifications, such as the Environmental Protection Agency's Lead Safe Practices law as part of the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.

Many trade groups also confer professional credentials, such as Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR), to those who meet their requirements. All these demonstrate a remodeler's commitment to professionalism.

• License and insurance: Ask to see a copy of the remodeler's license. As required by state law, the remodeler's HIC license number should be on all business contracts and marketing materials. It is also important to verify that the remodeler carries workers' compensation and liability insurance. Have the company show you copies of both insurance certificates to protect yourself from liability in situations involving job site injuries or property damage resulting from the work being done on your home.

If your goal is a professional remodeling project, then your best bet is to hire a professional remodeler. The cost will pay for itself in the satisfaction you receive while the project is in progress and during the many years you will enjoy the completed project.

1 comment:

  1. Home Improvement can focus on multiple areas for both indoor and outdoor renovations that benefit the home. Making them more up-to-date and energy efficient, expanding the square footage and remodeling those areas, we need home repair and replacement that can increase the home's value.