With a little planning, remodeling a home can be an easy and enjoyable process. Taking on a home remodeling project can be a daunting task, especially for homeowners who’ve never worked with contractors before. Matthew W. Johnson, a Belmont-based general contractor, says the process becomes much simpler with effective planning. He breaks down his philosophy in five steps:
Remodeling can be fun. “It can be inconvenient and dirty at times, but the overall process of planning your dream remodel should be enjoyable,” says Mr. Johnson. “Approaching it with the right attitude makes any inconveniences seem minor.”
Do your homework. Mr. Johnson says homeowners should have a budget in mind before they commit to a remodel. If they find the project will cost more than they had planned, they should either scale it back or put it off until it’s more economically feasible. “Costs are costs,” he says. “One contractor may charge a little less than another, but the project will cost about the same no matter who you hire. If you find one estimate that’s substantially lower than the others, there’s something wrong with that proposal.”
Homeowners should decide on a general style and select some sample fixtures and products before starting the project. The contractor and designer can refine and improve this vision, but they need to know what the homeowner has in mind.
Interview prospective contractors. The company you hire should be able to offer services that meet your specific needs. “Some contractors only do construction; they don’t even pick up a building permit,” says Mr. Johnson. “Others are full-service contractors and can handle everything from design through completion. You need to know what a company can do before you hire it.”
Pick a contractor. Mr. Johnson cautions against making a selection based on price alone. “Consider how your personality matches up with the contractor,” he says. “The contractor-homeowner relationship will last several months, and you’ll be in contact on a daily basis. You don’t want the relationship to be dominated by personality clashes.”
Remain involved. Continually ask questions and stay on top of the project. Order fixtures and appliances early so the project isn’t delayed while you wait for materials. When the project is complete, be sure to obtain the permitted set of drawings and the final permit card.
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