Springtime generates a lot of home improvement activity. Many buyers are out shopping for their new home. With the purchase of their home, the desire to remodel often comes next. For others, the drastically fluctuating housing prices are causing homeowners to stay put and that’s causing them to want to remodel their existing footprint.
Whether it’s a room addition or the renovation of a kitchen to upgrade amenities and make the space feel more comfortable to suit your needs, precautionary steps to get the most out of your remodeling project will create the best outcome.
Some of the most popular remodeling projects have to do with creating homes that are livable for all ages. The National Association of Home Builders says, in 2010, that 62 percent of surveyed builders were working on “aging in place” modifications.
That means granny flats or in-law apartments (extra rooms with kitchenettes) are becoming staples in homes. As baby boomers ease into their golden years this type of remodeling project will continue to grow. Entry-level bedrooms are also popular additions due to the ease of access for the elderly.
Some remodeling companies are now requiring their staff to become Certified Aging in Place specialists so they can offer expertise in designing and modifying buildings and homes for the elderly. Another hot trend is using outdoor living space to expand the home’s square footage. What’s hot in outside remodels? It may be expensive but natural stone is all the rage. Gourmet grilling kitchens, fireplaces, flat screen TVs with surround sound and big comfy couches turn the backyard into a cozy space to relax and entertain.
Regardless of which type of remodel you’re planning to do, finding the right contractor for the job is vital and can be a difficult task.
The National Homebuilders Association offers some tips for homeowners to help them navigate the process. Here are some important precautionary measures to take before your hire a remodeler.
Check with NAHB.org to find a remodeler who is a member of the National Association of Homebuilders. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau at BBB.org to look up the company’s rating. Of course, family and friends can also offer referrals but checking with professional associations can help provide background information that a friend might not be able to.
Another great way to find a remodeler is to scope out the companies who are working in the neighborhood or an area that you like. Try to stop in and see if you’re able to tour the house and speak with the homeowners. Be sure to ask questions about how smoothly the overall project went and if the crew kept the area clean during the project.
After you have done your research and decided that you like the company’s work, keep in mind that you should also make sure that you can work with its employees. Do you like their style of communication? Do you feel like your ideas are being heard? Are they paying attention to the design style that you want?
The NAHB says before you sign a contract make sure you’ve looked at all the bids carefully and watch out for extremely low bids. “Make sure the builder/remodeler provides you with a complete and clearly written contract. The contract will benefit both of you. If you are having a new home built, get and review a copy of the home warranty and homeowner manual as well.” Also, check to make sure the company carries workers compensation and general liability insurance.
Finally, remember to clearly convey your wants and needs regarding your remodeling project. This helps both you and the remodeler to manage expectations and, ultimately, ensure that you get exactly what you want.