Let’s face it: Who hasn’t heard at least one home remodeling horror story from a friend or family member? Reality shows are notorious for showcasing some of the worst examples of shady, unlicensed contractors who make wild promises of fabulous remodeling on the cheap. It seldom works out well.
If you are ready to remodel, but can’t overcome your very valid home remodeling fears, now is the time to become a well-informed consumer. We address each of the following seven familiar home remodeling fears through insight and education.
Fear #1: Not Getting the Remodeling Results You Want
There’s nothing quite like the crushing disappointment of spending thousands of dollars and devoting weeks or months to a remodeling project only to get disappointing results. This is one of the top fears that homeowners name as they mull over kitchen or bathroom remodeling projects, as well as major home additions or new accessory dwelling units (ADUs).
You can overcome this fear by selecting a highly-reputable contractor known for providing a detailed scope of work that outlines every measurement, material, paint color, and fixture. Working with a design-build firm, you will have the added advantage of designing a remodeled space fit to your budget well before construction begins. It’s during the planning and design phase that you should be clearly communicating your list of “must haves” and “nice-to-haves”. You will use this list to shore up your budget and design plan with your contractor.
Whether you review detailed drawings or 3D renderings, pay close attention to every detail to avoid any surprises. Your design-build team should create clear documentation throughout the process, providing you the opportunity to sign off on each detail. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and voice concerns! A good contractor will happily and clearly answer your questions and explain the process to you. This is your home, and educating yourself about the process is key to overcoming this fear and getting the results you want.
Fear #2: Shoddy Work and Inferior Materials
Another considerable fear is discovering that the Contractor used inferior materials requiring repair or maintenance, or they did a careless job of installing major parts of the remodel—after the final payment is made. Address these fears by choosing a design-build firm with an established reputation for quality craftsmanship and materials.
- First, ask Contractors you are considering to show you some of their recent work. There’s nothing like examining their work, especially with a fellow homeowner present, to describe their experience. If that isn’t possible, ask for several previous clients’ references and learn about their experiences with this Contractor’s quality, craftsmanship, and communication skills.
- Although state regulations do not require Dallas contractors to carry a general contractor’s license, ask for the Contractor’s license and certifications. Also, ask about their suppliers and subcontractors—how long they’ve been working with the contractor and their reputation.
- Also, don’t forget to check your design-build firm’s ratings on websites like GuildQuality or Houzz.
- Just as important, educate yourself about what the remodeling process looks like at different stages so that, as you do regular walk-throughs, you understand how “unfinished” work differs from “poor quality” work. A remodel is a process with several layers that must happen in order. So, understand what those layers and processes look like.
Remember, a reputable contractor will not ask for the final payment until you agree that the job is complete and to your satisfaction. Per industry standards, you and your Contractor should do a “final walk-through” so you can point out any areas you are worried about before the job is considered “finished.”
Fear #3: Your Contractor Won’t Deliver What was Promised
Stories of fraud can fuel home remodeling fears—and you can’t afford to work with a bad contractor when your home is on the line. Again, doing your homework is critical. First, dig deep into the online reviews and references. Don’t just stop at the star ratings—really read the reviews to get an idea of what previous customers liked and didn’t like, and call on client references. Steer clear of contractors without an online presence or reviews.
When you’re considering a Contractor to work with, pay close attention to how easy or difficult it is to get a hold of someone. Do they return calls in a timely manner? Do they have an office with staff, or do they operate out of a truck? What protocols does the Contractor have in place for keeping you informed throughout the construction process? How do they notify you of schedule delays? What is their track record for keeping projects on schedule?
A reputable Contractor will plan regularly scheduled meetings with you. They will also have a project management system that keeps you informed 24/7 on every detail of your project, so as to prevent any hidden surprises.
Fear #4: Going Over Budget
“Scope creep” is one of the top remodeling fears cited by homeowners. When you’re looking for a contractor, make sure you understand how their contract works. Traditional design-bid-build contracts work with the homeowner contracting separately with an architect or designer, and then with a remodeling contractor. With this approach, the homeowner works out the design designs of their project with a professional before soliciting contractor bids. The homeowner then compares fixed-price bids from multiple contractors, selecting one to construct their project according to the project scope. Once the contract is signed, change orders are used to account for changes in the project scope. This is often where scope creep comes in, and budgets are blown.
A design-build contract, on the other hand, is an agreement between the homeowner and design-build firm to perform both design and construction under a single source of accountability. A design-build team works closely with you very early in the process. During this time, you are presented with product options and material selections that not only fit your design style but also align with your budget. Homeowners benefit from obtaining early cost assessments, making decisions based on product availability, and even changing the scope of the project to accommodate “must-have” items before the design is complete. Rather than the budget being derived from the project’s design, the design is derived as a result of the owner’s budget. Design-build firms thus present a fixed-cost estimate that helps to eliminate this fear.
Fear #5: Your Remodel will Take Longer than Expected
The cliche is so true: time is absolutely money. The longer a remodeling project drags on, the more it costs, and the more inconvenient it is. While even the best home remodeling contractors can’t foresee every problem that may delay a project, there are certainly ways to circumvent these issues.
First, expect delays. It’s a part of the remodeling process. A reputable remodeling contractor will account for some grace period in your project schedule, in anticipation of delays. They will also do their best to adjust certain tasks to keep your project moving along—for example, shifting work from one area of the house to another while you’re waiting for an unexpected product delay or permit approval. For your peace of mind, ask for frequent in-home, pre-construction meetings with your contractor. Stay informed. And, stay calm. A professional design-build firm will be eager to keep you informed and in-the-loop.
Fear #6: All that Disruption and Inconvenience
Unfortunately, there’s no way to get around the disruption and inconvenience of a home remodel if you’re living in your home during the construction. Plan for the disruption as best that you can, and work around the inconveniences. Talk with your Contractor about helping you access certain areas of your home during construction, or set up separate temporary work stations (i.e., temporary, make-shift kitchen area). This might also be a good time to schedule a little vacation during a particularly loud or disruptive part of the remodel.
Fear #7: The Huge Mess in Your Home and Yard
Yes, remodeling can be a messy business. Still, a professional contractor will take many measures to protect your yard and other areas of your home from dust, debris, dirt, and other dangers. While interviewing client references, ask what kinds of protection measures the Contractor took to protect their homes, including floor protection, isolating dust and work areas from other areas of the house to prevent indoor air pollution, and more. Specifically, ask your Contractor about their Project Safety Hygiene (PSH) protocols. They should clarify what measures they will take to protect your property and your family, especially during these “messy” times.
Hire a Dallas Home Remodeling Contractor That You Trust
The design-build team at Blackline Renovations in Dallas has a two-decade history of helping homeowners overcome their home remodeling fears by being a trusted, reliable home renovation partner. We clearly address each of these worries head-on, with our clients’ needs as our top priority.
If you’re considering a home remodeling project and aren’t sure where to begin, take a look through our portfolio and sign up to receive our newsletter for advice and inspiration. And when you’re ready, schedule a consultation with us to discuss your project; we’re prepared to help you conquer your home remodeling fears!