Where do I start? How much will it cost? Are all contractors the same? What should I look for?
These are all valid questions and are also some of the first things Homeowners ask me when we sit down. The first two steps are the most critical and will be the hardest to put together. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself and get lost in the details of the job. I know this is an exciting time but remember… you are looking to hire a professional to guide you. Stressing over what can or cannot be done at this time is counterproductive and misguided. Use your contractors expertise to create your dream job. You have the following to focus on:
Step 1: Establish a budget
Many homeowners believe that the best way to understand how much their project will cost is to call on a number of contractors, get a series of free estimates and then sort through the confusion to possibly select the right fit. This is wrong! Do your research first, so you can have an intelligent conversation about budget with your contractor and take comfort in knowing what the project should range, prior to having him or her tour. This will most likely be one of the largest investments you could make. No different then buying a home or vehicle, you first establish what you can afford and then explore what and or who provides the best value.
Remodeling Magazine puts out a Cost Vs. Value Report every year to assist homeowners in establishing a budgeted range. Although every project is fairly unique, this will at least help you consider your next move.
For additional information and to learn more about what is included in each of these scenarios visit: http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2017/middle-atlantic/
Step 2: Source a contractor
Now that you have an idea what your project could cost, you should begin interviewing with contractors. Nothing beats word of mouth but online reviews, social media and other channels could also be great places to look. Also determine which type of contractor is best suited for your job. A Truck and Ladder type outfit with a good reputation may be all you need for minor work. A General Contractor could also be a great option if you do not require any design guidance or selection assistance. A Design Build Firm is the safest choice and is the best value since they provide a one stop shop to create truly unique spaces.
Start and end with interviewing three. You should not need any more then that unless you did not do a good job researching each company to begin with. Good reviews, a strong portfolio and the proper credentials should narrow it down to the true professionals in your area. Pick from the one that you are most comfortable with. Everyone will have their own process, their own way of doing things and present different options. Go with the contractor you believe will leave you with the best project and provide the greatest experience.
Feel free to email me if you have any questions regarding establishing a budget and selecting a contractor.