Key Questions to Ask Your Home Remodeler

Meeting in person about a remodeling project can make for a significant time commitment. These meetings are often one to three hours and are used to discuss more detailed project perspectives. Calling a professional home remodeler with these key questions can ensure that an in person meeting will be time well spent.

Is my renovation an area where you work?

 Some contractors are willing to work across a wide metro area, or they may restrict their work based on travel time, a city or even a few zip codes. Others may even travel further depending on the size of the project. If you are not in a area they serve, you may want to ask if they can recommend someone closer to you.

Is my project level the kind of work you do regularly?

Start with a general description of what you would like your project to include. If a contractor primarily remodels simple jobs, then a large addition may not be the project they will be prepared to consider or worse, they get involved and are overmatched. Many contractors work on cosmetics and preservation, fewer regularly take on advanced renovations like full kitchens and baths. Many contractors restrict the kind of work they do, either by focusing on residential or commercial projects, or on a particular size or type of project. By asking these questions and independently verifying beforehand you can make sure that your project is something they are going to be interested in working on.

What are the potential blank spots or risks associated with this remodel?

 While no one can predict every obstacle that will arise on a job site, both remodelers and homeowners should take precautions and be prepared for needs. One example would be your need for plans, design help and drawings, these specifics are qualifiers for firms that find this their norm. Compare how long you expect a project to take vs how long they say, you could be surprised by the depth of your project. Find out when they are available to begin new projects, timelines for plans alone are generally not accounted for by homeowners. 

What is the work schedule and projected timeline for this project?

 There are two key pieces with timing: how soon the contractor can start your project and how quickly plans, permitting and material selections can be completed. If this is your first call, it may be many months before the plans and permits are ready, since you haven’t even interviewed a design professional yet. If you have plans in hand for anything bigger than a bathroom, it is still likely to be a month or two before you’ve selected a contractor, the pricing is complete, a contract is signed and construction begins. Agree on a working schedule that fits with your lifestyle, but be willing to make modifications when necessary. Make sure the timeline includes project milestones as well as other important dates; such as when a utility will likely be disrupted or paint fumes could be bothersome.

Is my project budget range realistic?

 While discussing the budget can be uncomfortable, it is also extremely important. This is particularly important if you have a specific amount you do not want to exceed. If you are calling multiple contractors, you will have several opinions about whether your budget is sufficient and that will help you better understand the likely cost of the project and think about adjusting the scope of the work.