Just about everyone who has renovated their home has a horror story. The unfortunate fact is that many homeowners could have avoided the mess had they hired the right person. Below are a few problems that can go wrong and how to avoid having them.
All of the quotes are too high
People tend to assume what they hear from television and word of mouth is what a renovation should cost. Do a lot of research to find out what yours will cost. Be realistic when it comes to your budget. If you can’t afford it, it is better to hold off for a while than hire someone who will do lazy and incomplete work.
Getting caught without a building permit
This happens all the time. Many homeowners don’t think that the permits will apply to them; or, they think nobody will notice they didn’t have one, or that they can play the ‘i had no idea i needed a permit’ card. Permits are legally required. If you decide to proceed with the renovation without one, you can pretty much assume you will get caught, and when you do, you’ll be paying a hefty amount in fees. Realize that permits are your friend. They are there to protect you, to be sure that the home is ‘safe.’ You should go to your City Hall, and let them know that you need a building permit. After you receive one, inspectors will stop by once and a while to make sure everything is running according to code.
Your contractor is a no-show
This is one of the most common complaints. Most of the time, this happens when your job is smaller than his other clients. If they are only painting your house, you can probably expect that they will spend less time at your house, and more on their larger jobs where they are making more money. Be sure to meet with a couple of contractors rather than just one, and always be sure to check for reviews.
He isn’t up to the job
Every profession has a specialty. Just because someone is a contractor, does not mean that they know how to do everything when it comes to renovating a home. For example, an electrician knows how to install outlets, but he won’t be able to install your roof. Ask to see the work they have done in the past. When they describe it to you, you should be able to tell if they know what they are talking about or not, even if you don’t know anything about the subject; look for confidence when they speak.
Communication between you and your contractor is paramount during a home renovation. Before you begin, you should sit down and discuss a schedule; find out how often they plan to come, and what other jobs they have going on, as well as prospective ones.
Your contractor has to juggle between you and a larger job
When choosing a contractor, you will find there are two types of companies: the larger company with an infrastructure to handle any size job and the smaller company. Most construction companies are run by just a few guys jumping from job to job. If they land a large project, they may have to pull resources from their ongoing jobs to meet the needs of the new client. If you have chosen a smaller company, you will be left with two choices: have patience or hire someone else.
Problems along the way
This almost always happens, especially in an old house. Older houses usually have internal problems that you’ll know nothing about until later down the road. Be sure to not spend all of your budget in case you run into any issues.
Maxing the budget out too early
One way to avoid this is to not select the most high-end materials and finishes. Instead, focus on concrete, windows, and drywall, for example. If you get into a real emergency, its possible that you may qualify for short-term financing. When the project is over, you’ll get an assessment done on your newly renovated home which should allow you to refinance to include all your higher interest loans and credit cards.
Not being pleased with the end result
Homeowners will sometimes rush into arrangements with contractors without working out details adequately. If you leave it up to the contractor to decide on your finishes and finer points, you can expect to be let down. certainly be disappointed.