Here are some tips on choosing a home renovation builder that won’t stress you out
Most people get excited about the idea of home renovations. But then feel deflated by the process of finding a builder they can trust. Having heard horror stories about building and renovating, would-be renovators are motivated to get it right.
Right builders can make your renovation dreams a reality with the least amount of fuss and stress. How do you decide what to do?
Here’s how we think the process should work.
The Site Visit
When you contact a builder about renovating, he or she should arrange a no-cost, no-obligation site visit for you. A builder should gather information during this visit about what you hope to achieve and what you want from your renovation. In this way, the builder can determine the general requirements of the project.
Take the opportunity to ask your own questions while the builder quizzes you about your home and lifestyle. How does their renovation process work; have they worked on similar jobs before; can they provide testimonials from previous clients? Quality builders should be able to answer these questions, and should even expect them. Ask the builder as many questions as you want, and do they seem comfortable answering them? It should be a big red flag (written in bold: “This guy is sketchy”).
The Building Quote
At the end of this meeting, you won’t know how much your renovation will cost. For homeowners who have no idea what to expect, the builder can give them a ballpark estimate. If the price is higher than you expected, they can direct you toward realistic improvements that will fit within your budget. But they won’t be able to give you an accurate estimate right away. A builder who quotes you a price upfront is misleading you; they want your business now and won’t bother you with the consequences in the future. Be sure to choose a builder who will provide you with a fixed-price quote that details all your renovation needs.
You’ve heard the adage “You have to spend money to make money,” right? When it comes to renovations, spending a bit of money upfront can save you a lot of money (and angst). You should receive a quote from a builder that includes:
- Drawings of concepts
- Based on the drawings, an estimate of the build cost (including all the details and a fixed
- Drawings for construction
- As it pertains to the final construction, a list of specifications and inclusions
- Engineering and inspections if your project requires them
- A build-cost quote which includes permitting and council inspe
Developing a home renovation quote requires a lot of planning and time, and there are many reasons for this. Without knowing precisely what something is, a builder cannot estimate its cost. Get to know your builder’s process. They should be capable of telling you exactly what to anticipate and be willing to support you along the way.
The Building Contract
For your safety and calmness of mind, you should only move forward with a builder who uses a comprehensive building contract when you’re ready to sign on the dotted line.
The contract should detail the exact specifications, the inclusions (and exclusions), the payment schedule, the starting date, and importantly, the finalization date. Ensure that this is your potential builder’s standard operating line of action and don’t work with anyone who tries to tell you that it’s not mandatory. This legal agreement is what stands between you and the type of disagreeable surprise that an immoral builder could throw your way.
A home renovation does not have to be a large source of stress. A builder who specializes in home renovations does all the big lifting and gets the details in spot on your behalf. Your job is to decide which tiles you select and whether you want that extra powder room. After that, sit back and watch as your brand-new home is constructed.
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