There is a lot to know and understand before initiating a home makeover. Some homeowners may go into the process blind, and without acknowledging a few critical guidelines, the whole thing could turn into a nightmare. So, what should a homeowner know before they jump into a full-fledged home makeover?
What Comes First
Obviously, if you are planning a makeover, you need to establish a budget and the financing to implement it. You can get estimates from home design experts for the areas of your home that are going to be renovated. Once you know the approximate amounts necessary to initiate the makeover, determine if you can afford to follow through with the renovation or makeover. Also, you must allow additional monies for unforeseen or hidden issues with your house. With that in mind, a thorough home inspection would be essential to catch anything out of the ordinary before work is initiated.
Find the Right Contractor
Once you have established a budget, research your local area for reputable contractors that are licensed, carry liability insurance, and have legitimate references. Request a detailed proposal, which you can use with other potential contractors by simply copying the proposal, leaving out the costs, and passing copies of the proposal guidelines on to other contractors for bid submissions. Whatever bids are received, just remember that the lowest one isn’t necessarily the best.
Once a contractor has been assigned to your makeover, work with him to determine payment intervals. It is best to pay as work phases are completed. There should be a clause in the contract defining what will happen if the renovation or makeover is not completed on time. Just be aware that there can be delays with materials acquisition, subcontractor holdups, and other issues, like building permit acquisitions and code requirements that might affect completion times. In addition, make sure every aspect of the job has a signed contract with agreements concerning the phases of the makeover to protect yourself from disputes, setbacks, and unmet expectations.
Dealing with Subcontractors
If subcontractors have been assigned to your makeover, know how to handle any nonpayment to them by the contractor. In order to avoid a lien being placed on your home for subcontractors that have not been paid, ask them to waive those rights in a signed and notarized document.
One other problem to deal with when a timeline is determined on your makeover is to figure out where you are going to stay during renovations. Once you definitely know that you are going to pursue the makeover, have the financing laid out, a contractor assigned, a schedule and contract signed, you are going to need alternative housing while you wait for completion of your home makeover.
Seek housing with friends and relatives, if possible and practical. Offer to pay them a fair rental amount for the length of your stay. If you cannot stay with friends and relatives, there are other options available. Hotels are not necessarily the most practical or cost-effective choice, depending on the price. For example, two weeks in a hotel room might be equivalent in cost to an entire month of rent at a short-term leased apartment, and a hotel does not have important amenities that an apartment or corporate housing may offer. When choosing which situation is right for you, consider the comparative costs of your options, the inconvenience on family or friends, the duration of your stay in alternative housing, and the amenities that your lifestyle requires.
A home makeover is not a quick fix and there is much to know before you pursue your renovation dreams, especially if you don’t do the work yourself and need the assistance of a contractor or other specialists to get the job lined out and done. Know the necessary legal procedures and conditions before you embark on a home makeover, and the process will go a lot smoother.