I've done a lot of things in my life. I've been a farmer, a printer, a computer repair man and a computer programmer. I've been an auctioneer, yeah, that one surprises people.
I'm an editor, a musician, a poet and I write both fiction and non-fiction. I've done graphic arts work, and I've done in-house website technology and support.
Not done yet
I've worked in kitchens and dining rooms.
I've been a personal health care and support worker.
And I've been a contractor and handy man.
So let me tell you ...
I know a few things about renovations and how, as a customer, you might want to go about getting them done.
The first thing you need to realize is that contractors are called contractors because they work under contract. And that means that you need to know what's in your contract if you're going to get what you wanted.
I'm not saying that contractors can't be trusted. In fact, 99% of them are in this for the long run and need to know that you aren't going to be out there telling the world what they did wrong.
But while most of them know exactly what they're doing, most customers only know the broad strokes.
And sometimes customers feel let down when they ask for something and what they get isn't what they envisioned.
Here's the goods ...
I've got a list of tips for you if you're about to embark on a journey into the land of renovations. Think of it as a list of things to pack so that you'll be sure to enjoy the trip.
- Know what you want done, but more importantly, know that changing your mind during the project will cost you more.
- Know what your budget is, so you can make decisions quickly about the above mentioned changes and about surprises you find once you get started. It's never fun to find out that what was inside the walls wasn't what was supposed to be there, bad wiring, unacceptable framing, supporting structures that have to be moved, but it's worse if you don't know what you can afford when needed decisions for rectifying come along.
- If you don't know your contractor, ask friends and others about their dealings with them, get to know them. Knowing who you're working with means you'll have a better idea what to expect from them.
- Always make sure they have the required training and certification to do what they plan to do. And make sure their workers are covered by insurance. That includes sub-trades who may be subcontracted.
- Remember that an estimate given by someone who hasn't seen the job is less likely to be on target than one given by someone who takes the time to look at the work you're proposing to have done. Good contractors have their own reasons to want your job to be done to your satisfaction, they'll ask a lot of questions, and they'll consider more possibilities than you may have accounted for.
- Get more than two estimates if it is at all possible. And while it's always nice to save money, if any of those estimates are really low, ask yourself what they're subtly not offering to do or what they might have missed accounting for. By contrast, don't dismiss the really high one out of hand without finding out why they were so high. Did they see something during their inspection that the others might have missed?
Remember to get as much detail included in the contract as possible. Make sure that it accounts for all the work you want done. Make sure also that it includes the name of the contractor, what parts of the job he'll be subcontracting, whether or not he'll be responsible for getting required permits, a start and finish date, who's responsible for cleanup, and explicit details of when payments will be required and what terms are available.
Since it's often difficult to tell what will be required until a job is started, and since sometimes budgets can be broken by the extras, it's always a good idea for a contract to detail an exit plan. Make sure that if the job has to be stopped for any reason, that all parties know what the results of that will be. A percentage of the contract price may be owed still, but outline who will be responsible for material costs and work both done and not completed.
A renovation can make the difference between just having a house, and owning a place that really feels like home.
Getting to come home to just what you wanted after a long day at work can make all the difference in the world. But if you hire the wrong contractor, or if things that weren't planned for arise, or if what you ended up with wasn't everything you thought you were getting, it can make your home feel unwelcoming.
And the best contractors want your home to be your favourite place, and they want to be your favourite contractor, the one you tell your friends to use.
So give them, and yourself, the best chance at a successful renovation.
And good luck.
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©2018 Wanda Westover Broker Royal LePage RCR , All rights reserved.
©2018 Kelly Babcock, writeofway.ca all rights reserved.
©2018 Advantage Royal Group Royal LePage RCR, All rights reserved.
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