If you are a homeowner who is excited about the prospect of finally embarking on that home renovation project, then you should really take some time to consider these three things before getting started:
1) Set a budget
This is always the question that a contractor seems to ask over the phone or during the initial home renovation consultation, but that's because it is extremely important for both the renovator and the homeowner. As a homeowner, you really do need to have a good idea of how much you want to spend on a particular project. Often times I will hear a homeowner say that they are not sure how much something costs, but this uncertainty does not mean that you cannot set an absolute limit that you want to adhere to. A remodeling contractor with a good reputation will want to know your budget so that they can offer you the best possible finished product at that price. While you may think that it would be unwise to share your budget up front (in some cases this may be a correct assumption), this can actually help to benefit you. Why? Any savvy contractor will assume that you are getting multiple quotes for the work to be completed. Free market forces (competition) means that each contractor will be motivated to provide you a quote for the best possible service that suits your needs.
There needs to be a meeting of minds in this respect for the client-contractor relationship to establish itself in a positive and productive manner. Contractors need to be aware of homeowner concerns about getting ripped off by unscrupulous renovators who charge princely sums for low quality work and poor service. On the other side of the coin, the homeowner should be aware that high quality service and materials do cost money, and you do get what you pay for in this industry.
2) Research Design Ideas
If like many people you are renovating your home, remodeling your kitchen, or redesigning that ensuite bathroom, you will be doing so because what you currently have is outdated. Plenty of people who own ten, fifteen, and even twenty year old homes with builder's grade kitchens and bathrooms are excited to implement modern design ideas and themes in their living spaces. It does help to go online and search through blogs, articles, images, photos, and videos pertaining to home renovations to see exactly what other people have done, and what you may like or dislike about these particular projects. After having done so, you will hopefully have gained some general design ideas or specific things that you would want to incorporate in your new space. As an example, if you were looking at articles on the topic of kitchen remodeling, you may have seen a style of kitchen cabinets that you think would be appropriate in your new kitchen. Or, you may have seen that one specific item that you think is really cool and would complement your new living space (such as adding a pot filler in your new kitchen which would allow you to quickly and easily fill large pots on the stove without having to lug it back and forth from the sink).
3) Interview Your Contractors
The internet makes it easy for just about anybody with internet access to search for anything. You can take advantage of this opportunity by searching for home renovation contractors in your area. Good contractors know that an online presence is essential for marketing, and so they will usually have an exhaustive website that showcases past projects of theirs. You should make a list of a number of these residential renovation companies in order to get a consultation and estimate for your project. It would also be a good idea to ask friends and family members for references, as they may have recently had a renovation project completed that they were happy with, and would be willing to pass along the contact information of a reputable contractor.
Depending on the size of your project, a contractor would be willing to visit you in your home and conduct a consultation or estimate. This is a good opportunity to ask plenty of questions! A good home renovation contractor will be able to answer these questions in a transparent and forthcoming manner. If you come across a general contractor who seems unable or unwilling to answer your questions, you should treat this with a red flag. However, it is also good to be aware that not everyone has all the answers. If you ask a question that a contractor doesn't happen to have the answer to right away, a good contractor will always make the effort to collect the relevant information and be able to provide you with an appropriate response. It is not a good thing when a representative of a renovation company fakes the answers or knowingly provides bad and/or false information to potential customers.
Remember that the interviewing process is an opportunity for a potential client and a contracting firm to get to know each other and figure out if the project would be a good fit. Do plenty of research before you embark on your home renovation project and you will more than likely have a smooth flowing and successful renovation! Good luck!