Since 2007 we’ve completed literally hundreds of renovations. Over that time we’ve identified the single most important element to a successful renovation is establishing Clear Expectations.
As you can imagine guesswork and unwanted surprises create big problems during a renovation. To be clear (notice how I’m clarifying expectations here) no process completely eliminates every surprise. Still, you can and should always establish clear expectations in regards to price, timeline, scope, communication, and warranty before moving into construction.
Here are five reasons to hire a contractor committed to clarifying expectations:
- Price is Firm. A renovation with a fluctuating price can feel like a scary roller coaster. Clear price expectations require legwork from your contractor, and those willing to do this legwork are typically worth your business. Agreeing to a fixed price is the best way to avoid being trapped in a renovation with unknown, or escalating expenses.
- Time is Honored. Waiting is hard enough, but when you’re uncertain about how long, or even why, it can be excruciating. Good contractors outline schedules and communicate delays so you can avoid this anxiety. Don’t misunderstand. Waiting will be required. Renovations don’t happen as fast as you see on HGTV. However, clear time expectations from the start makes your wait much easier.
- Value is Defined. Not all contractors are created equal. Some leave you wondering, “Why did I pay so much (or so little) for my renovation?” Answer: Value was never established or documented. In other words, be certain your contractor knows what level of quality and service you expect before any agreement is reached .
- Trust is Built. Trust is so important because few things in life go exactly as planned. A good contractor communicates and addresses his mistakes when they happen. Problems only grow larger when ignored. Asking for references and reading reviews help shape an accurate expectation of a contractor’s credibility.
- Service is Ongoing. Unfortunately some problems become evident after a project is complete. This is especially difficult when a contractor is unwilling to return. Understanding the warranty must happen before a project ever starts. Ask your contractor how warranty related issues are handled. Again, check his track record by reading reviews and contacting references. Knowing your contractor stands behind his work brings valuable peace of mind.
Eventually you will know if you and your contractor share the same expectations regarding price, time to complete, scope of work, communication, and warranty. The key is clarifying these expectations before it's too late.