How a General Contractor Helps You Ask the Right Questions

The Right Questions at the Right Time

It’s easy to jump way too far ahead after immersing yourself in HGTV homebuilding and remodeling shows or clicking through hundreds of pictures of impossibly perfect kitchen and bathroom designs on Pinterest.

That’s why having a general contractor by your side to prevent you from diving headfirst into an over-budget and over-schedule project that doesn’t add any value to your home is a smart idea.

So, what questions should you be thinking about now?

They’ll be awfully impressed that you beat them to the punch if you write a few things down and have solid answers during the initial consultation. Keep in mind that contractors talk to a lot of people, solve a lot of issues, and are full of wonderful, sound advice.

So, if they hesitate to jump on board with your “great idea” for a spiral staircase, elaborate tile patterns, giant fixtures for a tiny bathroom, or “thing I saw on TV,” don’t fire them on the spot. Consider their advice, take their reluctance seriously, and be ready to let go of impractical ideas.


Four things general contractors help you think about before signing an agreement

 

1. What are your long-term goals for this property?

This is the number one most important question to answer as an owner looking to upgrade a property. Even if you’re planning to live in, say, a detached home for the next ten years, what does the city have planned for the neighborhood?

What are the home values in your neighborhood? If they’re going down, or worse, being torn down and turned into condos, you may want to be conservative about how much you invest in your home.


2. What’s your budget and timeframe?

It’s always going to be more expensive than you think. Ok, maybe not always. But if you go into a project with this expectation, you’ll be better prepared for the final numbers. Either way, get some bids if you can, even if it means asking friends and relatives who have had similar work done.

Then make an itemized list. It’s tedious but absolutely worth it. It’ll give you a more realistic projection to work with.


3. Do you have a backup plan for when your kitchen or bath is under demolition?

A bathroom remodel in a one-bathroom house is both a great idea and somewhat problematic. And, no, a bathroom remodel cannot be done in a day. So, forget that idea as soon as possible. Maybe consider having a bathroom addition built instead of remodeling the existing one.

If this is too awful to even think about, then start making plans for a vacation. It doesn’t have to be far away. Maybe stay with friends who have a finished basement down the street, or better yet, go camping. It’s cheaper than a hotel and may be the only time the toilet and shower options are better than they would be at home!


4. Ready for the Chaos?

Some people don’t realize that there will be a considerable period of time when portions of your home are in absolute shambles. At first, it can be interesting, but after a week, it starts to get old and homeowners can get a little grumpy about it.

Be sure you’re ready for the lull between the exciting parts. You’ll end up with a better experience overall.

Find out why some licensed contractors use what’s called the Design-Build method of construction and how it can streamline your next big project.

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