THINGS TO KNOW WHEN HIRING A CONTRACTOR
- Don’t expect a perfect result.
Bear in mind that the people who will be working on the renovation are just human beings. Though you cannot expect a perfect outcome, make sure they remember that you are expecting a nice quality of work for your home.
- You get what you pay for.
If you are that kind of person who will choose the lowest price possible for a service, then there’s no reason for you to expect the best quality result. Choose a contractor that would fit not only your budget, but also your standards. Keep in mind that low-cost contractors are not always the best.
- Double check safety.
Check if you want the guy to be in charge of your home for the next few months. See to it thatthe contractor is correctly licensed. Make sure every credential is presented to you before you consider hiring the contractor.
- Pay attention to the warning signs.
Is your contractor hard to reach? Do you give a good amount of call before he gets back to you? Is he careless when doing the job? Don’t be afraid to draw the line. This is your home they are working with, not some commercial building.
- Be nice to the whole crew.
Make sure the people working for you are on a clean and safe working environment. Check to make sure they are comfortable around your house. Let them use any necessary facilities such as the bathroom.
- First impression lasts.
You will be expecting that the first time the contractor steps inside your house, he will be making judgements on how neat and in order everything is. If you make him think that you like to keep things that way, then there will be a bigger chance of him keeping the job as clean as it can possibly get.
THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN PLANNING A HOME RENOVATION
Know your home
What is the condition of your home? Has it undergone any renovations in the past? How much did you pay for the house, and how much left is on the mortgage? Answering these questions will give you an initial idea on what can and cannot be done to your home. Think about what effects of the renovation work will have on the basic systems of your house (such as heating, plumbing, and electricity) and about what might cause problems, mainly in terms of compatibility.
Do your research
After determining vital points about your home, try to do a little more research about home renovation. You can find lots of articles on in the internet.
Find the right contractor
We are all aware of the issues of some contractors. That’s why it is best to have a good referral when finding the right contractor for you. Make sure you get several choices of contractors, don’t be in a hurry as this is a vital key in the success of your renovation.
You might have some friends that have already done a home renovation before. Get any useable advice from them, this will help broaden your knowledge about the renovation and might give you more ideas for your home. Remember that not one person knows every single thing so make sure you get advice from a considerable amount of people.
Visit as often as possible during renovation period
Your contractor might ask you to visit only once or twice a week, absolutely DO NOT believe any of this. You need to do a site check every day, unless you’ve hired the most trustworthy crew there can be. Mistakes are bound to happen, and you need to be there right after it does. The longer the mistakes are kept from you, the larger it would be.
If something bad happens, try to fix it with the crew as soon as possible and just move on. Don’t make the working environment a burden for them as it already is. Do not limit yourself or the crew too much as this would only tense up the workers.
OBTAIN ALL NECESSARY PERMITS
Before you start getting dirty, you would want to first brainstorm about the important permits you would need for the renovation. Talk to your contractor about this if you have no idea what permits to get, they are the ones who are experienced.
HAVE THE REQUIRED SAFETY / PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENTS
Whatever the work that you might be doing, it is very obvious that it cannot be done dressed in shirts and jeans. Construction poses health hazards. This will ensure any injuries will be kept at minimum should an accident happen.
Keep in mind that human beings will be working for you, and not machines. Constructions and renovations can sometimes be a suffocating work especially when done on an enclosed space. Take note of the average temperature in your area and check to see if it’s suitable enough for workers to perform their jobs well, if not, find ways to keep the temperature on your renovation spot bearable for the whole crew.
Choosing an eco-friendly way of renovation will not only let you help save our planet, but it could also reduce the health hazards on the crew. Whatever is good for the planet must be good for our own bodies. So, using paints, cleaners and thinners that are “green” will help improve the health of everyone involved. If you keep using the solvents, the risk of the workers getting poisoned greatly increases.
FIND A PLACE FOR MESSY WORK
Renovating most of the times require messy work. Finding a separate place for those will surely help the cleanliness and orderliness of the job. This way, any unnecessary or unwanted materials can be disposed of properly without harming any of the interiors of exteriors of your house.
HIRE PROFESSIONALS FOR HELP
Some of the work that has to be done during the renovation can be outside the capabilities of an average person. There is a reason why professional workers exist and you should not have any second thoughts on calling them. Do not think of this as extra costs, think of them as an investment for a better built home in the future.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU SPEND ON YOUR RENOVATION
HOW MUCH VALUE WILL YOUR RENOVATION ADD?
For every dollar you spend on your house there will be a return on your investment. Some improvements have a high rate of return, like adding a room. For every dollar you spend turning a three-bedroom home into a four-bedroom home, you’ll usually double your money. Other features can have a negative return, depending on how much you spend and the property values in your area. Swimming pools are a great example: some buyers don’t want to bother with the maintenance, or feel they are too dangerous for young children.
WHY ARE YOU RENOVATING? PROFIT or COMFORT?
It is not always about the return on your money. It is about turning your home into a more comfortable place to live in not only for you, but also for your family. Some people choose to extend budgets on a short period of time in order to get the house they want for the years to come.
WHERE WILL YOU FIND THE CAPITAL?
Although you can fund a small renovation from your savings, most major renovations are funded through bank loans. Most of the time, homeowners are able to borrow up to 80% of the house’s value, so how much you can borrow may depend on the equity you have in your house.
You need to know how much all the the work will cost and ensure you have access to sufficient funds. An extra contingency fund will be a great help for those surprise expenses which seem pop up in the most unwanted times.
PLAN EVERYTHING IN ADVANCE
This will not only make you prepared for the renovation, but believe it or not this is a great factor when you want your extra expenses to be at minimum. Some homeowners find themselves spending much more money and time than anticipated, and the reason for that is the lack of planning and preparations. Consult your contractor about your plans as he/she will surely guide you on the right path to ensure a successful renovation.
DON’T KNOW WHAT TO RENOVATE FIRST?
ASSESS YOUR HOUSE
Hire a licensed home inspector to check your house from top to bottom. He will climb into the attic to check for dampness, scour the basement looking for leaks, test the heating and air conditioning systems, and examine the roof, the plumbing and electrical panels. Evaluate the results and get any advice from the inspector before deciding on a plan of action.
If your heating and air conditioning unit has some issues, you should decide whether a full replacement or a temporary fix is in order. Providing a comfortable environment is a boost to your enjoyment of your home. A faulty air conditioner promotes mold which is unhealthy for you and your family, and is expensive to remediate, you would want to avoid all these.
If you’re planning to upgrade your bathrooms, be sure your plumbing can tolerate increasing pressure and usage. Repairing leaky fixtures, damaged flooring and improper ventilation results in lower water bills. If they’re not repaired and you’re selling the house, the problems will be pointed out by the buyer’s inspector.
Home owners are well attracted to energy efficiency. The importance of downsizing and using energy efficient appliances is reflected in the Energy Star ratings attached to appliances today. Renovating a kitchen with granite, stainless steel, new cabinetry and flooring is the second most requested renovation project nowadays.
A project that includes installing new doors and windows most of the time leads to less cost in running the house. Double glazed windows and solid doors are an expensive renovation but yield benefits, both for the homeowner and a potential buyer.
While consumers like “new,” renovating with small projects is effective. Paint the house, inside and out, to give it a fresh feeling. Replace the flooring, using wood if you can, to add value. Re-landscape the front and back lawns for curb appeal. Install new bathroom and kitchen hardware if a total renovation is out of your budget.
TYPES OF HOME IMPROVEMENT
Improving your home is not as easy it sounds. Of course before you could generally start with the work, you would first set a goal on what you hope to achieve and what you expect to see after the renovation is done. The type of renovation mainly depends on why you would want a renovation, may it be for comfort or you just want some repair done on some faulty stuff around the house.
Let’s take a small walk through some common goals when renovation a house:
You would have a wide variety of luxuries and facilities to choose from when you want to add comfort to your own home. This would include from simple upgrade of ventilation systems up to adding some hot tubs or better yet a swimming pool to your property. The possibilities are endless.
MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR
The project can include roof replacement, concrete and masonry repairs, repainting rooms, walls and fences, and also repairing plumbing and electrical systems. At projects like these, you would most likely need to hire a professional depending on the field you would want to cover. If you want the plumbing and electrical systems done, then of course you would need a plumber and an electrician. There are certain skills needed for each work to be done and you cannot do all these by yourself.
This includes turning marginal areas into livable spaces. For example, making a spare bedroom out of your old attic, or maybe home offices, you could also extend your house with rooms added to the side. You can hire an expert to help you plan all these as to avoid unnecessary expenses or delays.
Every individual wants to reduce the utility costs as low as it could possibly get. Buying appliances that are more efficient and less energy consuming may be more costly, but you should think of this as an investment for a more efficient household.
Of course nothing is more important than the safety of the family members inside the house. When your current home does not come with any security systems or any contingency plans should an incident occur, you might as well start investing on safety equipment such as alarms and fire extinguishers which would really come in handy. Always remember you can never be too safe.
HOW TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL HOME RENOVATION
Making an early preparation for the renovation can help prevent delays later on. This can also keep your risks of excess costs at a minimum.
FOCUS ON YOUR LONG-TERM GOALS
If you plan for a renovation, make sure you carefully plan it to last for a long time or all the efforts you put in to it now will be wasted.
Find contractors who have a good amount of years of experience, and also a good track record. These are the ones who would usually give you the desired result you want.
BE A GOOD BOSS
This is one of the most important things you can do when doing a renovation. You can’t expect great result from the workers if you are not treating them right. Always keep in mind that they are humans, not machines. They have needs that should be taken care of in order for them to perform properly.
GIVE A DETAILED CONTRACT
Before starting off the dirty work, make sure you and the contractor settle what needs to be done. Give an initial date for when to start the job, and a deadline on when you expect them to finish it. This can help the workers prepare for the renovation ahead of time and get all their equipment together.
PREPARE YOURSELF ON WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO FACE
It is inevitable that you will face some complications, delays, and any inconvenience that may come from a construction zone. So it is best to prepare yourself for the worst, so if anything occurs you will be able to face it with no problem at all.
FIND A TEMPORARY CAMP
Of course when you do a home renovation, some parts of the house will not be accessible, it is better to plan ahead of time where to put important facilities such as the gas stove or the refrigerator when the renovation begins. This will help minimize the inconvenience.
PACK AWAY VALUABLES
A home remodeling project is going to require access to most areas of your house. Keep any furniture or appliances that may be affected or damaged when work begins. Find ways to cover up any immovable fixtures on your house which needs to be
DO’S and DON’T’S IN HOME RENOVATION:
Take good and accurate drawings of floor plans and elevations. Don’t forget door sizes and stairwells.
INTERVIEW YOUR CONTRACTOR
Interview your contractor or decorator well. Make sure you know everything about them. Keep in mind these are the people who will be working on YOUR home.
EXPECT THE WORST
Even though you already have a set budget and a set time of the initial date and deadline, remember to have contingency plans for any incidents that may occur.
EXPECT IT TO BE MESSY
You can’t expect a renovation without any dusts or mess. It is better to be prepared with the cleaning equipment for you or the workers to use at any time.
You may be the boss, but if you treat your workers like slave, they will treat your house the same way. Remember, you need them for the job. If you will be nice to them, they will do their work properly.
This will help you save time when you need something. It will also save you from frustration as heavy works could get really troublesome on one point.
DON’T LEAVE FLOORS EXPOSED
Cover all the floor areas during the renovation period.
DON’T BUY CHEAP MATERIALS
This is very important. It may seem that you can save a lot of money once you buy cheap materials, but it is going to cost you more soon enough when the materials starts to deteriorate.
DON’T FORGET TO TAKE A TIME-OFF
You’re human. You need rest. Keep your body well fit for the day.
DO TAKE PICTURES
This will let you document the whole process of your home transformation. You can show this to your kids in the future, let them know what the house looked like before and after.
GET THE PROPER TOOLS FOR THE JOB
Invest on the proper tools. This will save the workers some time once they start with the renovation.
PICK THE PAINT COLOR LAST
This may be hard to think about but it is true. You would want to choose the best color that best compliments your furniture after they have been moved inside your house.
GIVE YOUR FURNITURE SOME SPACE
Try to avoid overcrowding a certain space. You do not need to fill the whole room with furniture, this will only give you a tense and uncomfortable feeling.
KNOW HOW TO ARRANGE FURNITURE ON A RUG
This very self-explanatory. Do not force to put all furniture inside a rug if your rug is too small. This might inflict some damages on your property.
EDIT YOUR COLLECTIBLES
Do not hang on to a piece that just does not fit the appearance of your house. If it has any sentimental value, try to put in on another room other than your living room.
ADD LAYERS OF LIGHTING
If you think one central lighting will cater all your needs, then you are wrong. Layers of lights are most of the time needed to give dramatic results in a room.
FIND YOUR ROOM’S FOCAL POINT
A room’s focal point is its most emphasized feature. It’s the thing your eyes are naturally drawn to when you walk into the room. And everything around the focal point compliments it.
CONSIDER NEGATIVE SPACE
Sometimes, less is more. In design, the negative space is the area that’s not taken up by any subject. Most commonly, this is the white area on your walls. It’s tempting to fill every space with a subject, but sometimes, the negative space speaks for itself.
FOLLOW THE RULE OF ODD NUMBERS
You might already be familiar with the rule of thirds for photography. Designing with odd numbers as a foundation can create harmony and visual interest.
KNOW BASIC MEASUREMENT RULES
When it comes to hanging curtains or arranging furniture, most of us just eyeball it as we go. But there are specific measurements for decorating that make a room look better.
THINGS TO AVOID BEFORE RENOVATION PERIOD
There’s no such thing as “perfection”. All the work are done by humans, not machines. Although you will not get a perfect result, you can always expect high quality.
DECIDING A BUDGET ON THE GO
This will only make you spend more. Not having any budget set on certain categories will leave you in awe once you sum up all the bills at the end of the renovation. So it will be best to track and plan for all the expenses.
GOING WITH THE CHEAPEST BID FOR THE JOB
This might save you some money, but they don’t always do the best job. It is better to choose a contractor that would suit your needs rather than the ones which offers the cheapest services.
LOSE YOUR TEMPER
Once work starts, complications will start to arise. Try to keep your cool when handling the crew, this will not only help lighten the atmosphere but it can help build confidence of the workers to work while you are around. Once you show off your bad side, they might get tensed when you are inspecting and might start to be clumsy when working.
ASSUME YOUR CONTRACTOR IS LICENSED
Never forget to check for documents and papers. Make sure they carry liability insurance so if anything happens to one of the workers, you will not be sued.
ASSUME IT WILL BE OVER QUICK
It sounds a bit sad but it is the truth, you cannot a renovation to last for a couple of weeks. If you want a well-done fix, then give it some time. You will see the worth in the end.
STAY IN CONTACT WITH THE CREW
Remember they are the experts. You may have some ideas on your home, and they might have theirs. Try to ask them for suggestions sometimes. Be open to the crew, this will let you know more about the people who are working on your home.
SETTLE FOR A VERBAL CONTRACT
You should ask for a signed contract specifying every detail on what you have agreed to. This can help avoid misunderstandings, disappointments and unrealistic expectations that may come along the way as the work starts.