Home Improvement Dos and Don'ts

Finding a Professional Remodeler

Are you one of the millions of Americans considering a remodeling project this year? If you are, then you probably have at least a couple of questions on how to find the correct professional.

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So you are thinking about a remodel? HGTV.com, in conjunction with the National Association of Homebuilders, wants you to have all the facts. Remodeling adds comfort, convenience, value and space to one of your most precious assets. There are many out there who want your business, but before you contract with a professional, there are some things to consider.

You are looking for a remodeler who can:

  • Save you money by doing your job right the first time.
  • Offer in-house design service (or through an arrangment with an architect or other professional) so that your vision is properly translated.
  • Maintains effective communication throughout the project.
  • Provides a safe and neat jobsite for your family members and pets.
  • Provides the best possible materials for your budget.
  • Makes sure the job meets or exceeds all building codes and regulations.
  • Stands behind their work with a warranty.
  • Responds promptly to service calls and questions.

So where do I begin?
  • Get an idea of what you really want. Look through magazines and websites, collect pictures of what you like. This will provide the remodeler a clear picture of what you are looking for.
  • Think about traffic patterns, furniture size, color and lighting.
  • Come up with a budget. Consider furnishings and landscaping (if applicable). Talk to your bank or lendor to determine how much you can borrow and future payment range.

Seek referrals from:
  • Local trade associations
  • Friends, family, neighbors and coworkers
  • Independent trade contractors, building materials suppliers, architects, engineers, home inspectors, local lenders and insurance professionals

Once you have come up with a list of potential remodelers, you should:
  • Check with consumer protection agencies to see if complaints have been made against the remodeler.
  • Check with your state's licensing agency (and building inspectors) to see if they've received any complaints; also to verify they have the appropriate licenses and registrations.

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