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Home Remodeling Guide: How to Choose a Remodeling Contractor that Is Right for You

 

Your home is an intensely personal space. If you’ve made the exciting decision to remodel your house, you don’t want just anyone working on your home. In fact, you want a highly qualified, trustworthy and conscientious team of professionals who are committed to helping you remodel a living space that fits your functional needs and design style. Taking the time up front to research and ask the right questions is not only time well spent, but will ensure you select the right remodeling contractor for you.

The Ultimate Checklist for Vetting Potential Remodeling Contractors

 

  • Assemble a list of Contenders

A simple Google search is an excellent place to start assembling names of local home remodeling contractors in your area.  Use words that describe what you’re looking for and your location. For example, search for “home remodeling contractor Lafayette” or “kitchen and bath remodeling West Lafayette”.

Websites like houzz.com, angieslist.com, and thumbtack.com can also be helpful resources to search for local contractors.

A safe and reliable way to assemble remodeling contractors is to reach out to your friends, family, and co-workers for any recommendations they may have.  Do you have a neighbor who just had some remodeling done?  Ask them about their experience and if they would recommend them.  Your local hardware store may also have some good suggestions as well.

  • Website Review

Once you’ve assembled your preliminary list of home remodeling contenders, review each company’s website. This is an easy way to find critical information that will help shape your decision. You should be able to find answers to important questions like:

  • Are they licensed, bonded and insured?
  • Do they have a physical office location?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Do they have staff, or only use subcontractors? What is the longevity of their staff?
  • What special certifications or qualifications does the company have in performing a similar remodeling project as yours?

Qualified home remodeling contractors should also feature a project portfolio or sampling of their work. Take some time to peruse past projects and see what speaks to you.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then look at the finished project photos as an informative way to get a sense of the type of work they do.  Moreover, some remodelers only specialize in kitchens and baths, for example, and may not remodel other areas of the home, like basements or additions. This should help you rule out some contenders depending on the type of work you want to have done.

Another important distinction is the type of remodeling contractor you want to work with. Are they a full-service design build firm or a general contractor?  What’s the difference? The quick answer is that a general contractor works independently from an architect. As a homeowner, you would be responsible for finding an architect first—someone who produces a set of architectural design plans for you. Then, you would hire a general contractor independently to build the remodel from the set of drawings provided by the architect.

On the other hand, a design build company takes care of all the remodeling and design under one roof to make the integration of your project easier.  From the very beginning, you work with a personal designer to produce a set of plans that fit your budget, design style, functional needs and time frame. In contrast, you work with one company who handles every detail for you. Click here for more information on the design build difference.

  • Phone Interview

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to call on the companies directly to fine tune your decision even further. Ask pertinent questions like, “How many projects do you currently have on-going?”, “Do you take on remodeling projects of similar size?” and “Can you provide a list of references?”. This will help you decide with whom to set up an in-person meeting. For a complete list of questions to ask of a remodeling contractor, read 8 Essential Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Remodeling Contractor.

Checking client references is another crucial step in your selection process. Reputable remodelers should be happy to provide you with a list of current and past clients. Taking the time to call a sampling of customers and asking questions like “What was your overall experience working with the remodeling firm?”, “What did they do well?”, “What did they do poorly?”, “Did they keep the job site neat and clean?”, “Did you have cost overages? If so, why?”, and “Was the project completed on time?” will give you tremendous insight on who you want to hire and work on your home. And, if you can visit a current or past job site, even better!

  • In-Person Consultation

An in-person consultation is a perfect opportunity to meet with the remodeling contractor to get a feel for the company, their process, and the people you will be working with. This face-to-face meeting is also where you’ll discuss the entire scope of work with the contractor.  Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!

Once you’ve discussed your renovation goals, an established professional remodeling company will offer to provide a detailed scope of work and price estimate for you to review.  If you work with a design build company, you will have the added benefit of exploring concept designs for your project as well (this may include a fee, as it requires a lot of work to put together).

  • What Does Your Gut Tell You?

Finally, do you feel comfortable and see yourself communicating well with the remodeling firm that you’re considering?  Remember, these folks will be in and out of your home for weeks or months. You’ll be interacting with various carpenters, designers and office staff throughout the project and you want to feel that your home and family are in good hands.

Overwhelmed yet?  Don’t be!  Taking the time to do your homework and due diligence, before you approve your construction agreement, will help guarantee you end up with the ideal living space you dreamed of, with the least amount of headache as possible.

If you’re ready to take the first step towards remodeling your home, give us a call today at 765-838-1644 or fill out our Request a Consultation form to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation. We are ready to help you get started and answer any questions you may have about your unique home remodeling project.

Benefits of 3D Design in Home Remodeling

This is What Happens When You Use 3D Design for Home Remodeling  

Home remodeling can be exciting, and scary. Exciting because you anticipate an amazing outcome from what you currently have to the dream remodel you envision in your mind. But scary because—what if it doesn’t turn out the way you hope it will? What if you picked the wrong color or texture, or the measurements were off, and you have to go back and re-do things? Time is money and re-dos are expensive! There are a lot of “what if’s” in home remodeling. Fortunately, however, Riverside Construction can remove many of the scary elements with a skilled combination of remodeling experience and 3D design.

Whether you just want to renovate one room, like a kitchen, bathroom or bedroom, or you want to go the distance and remodel your entire home, 3D rendering techniques empower you with a stronger, more precise visualization of your space. It also helps us fine-tune measurements and catch potential problems before construction starts. It’s essentially a hyper realization of “measure twice, cut once” that makes the entire home remodeling process easier, smoother and more efficient, particularly in the following 4 ways:

Inspires and Clarifies Your Home Remodeling Vision

The pre-home remodeling time is an exciting one. Your head, Pinterest board and scrapbook may be bursting with ideas, paint swatches, magazine cut-outs, etc. But it can be hard to imagine how those ideas will work within your space and your plans can change from day to day. Sitting down with Riverside Construction to use our 3D design tools can help you see, clearly and accurately, how different colors, designs, materials, and shapes will play out—or not—before any cutting, sawing, hammering, installation or painting begins. 3D design and rendering injects clarity and precision into your brainstorming process so you eliminate ideas that won’t work as you finalize design options that will work beautifully.

Gives You Accuracy in Space Planning

One of the most important aspects of planning your home remodeling process is getting a clear, accurate model of what needs to be done. For years, home remodelers had to rely on 2D plans that had to use pages of layers upon layers with multiple models for each different view, even for just one room. This made mistakes in measuring far more common because it could be hard to keep track of every detail on every page. 3D design tools merge all those layers into one accurate, clear view that brings your home remodeling ideas to life together in one place and enables us at Riverside Construction to measure and plan with greater precision.

Eliminates Many Common Remodeling Mistakes

Taking the accuracy step even further, 3D design helps us, and our clients, to catch mistakes before they end up hindering the remodeling process, which, in the long run, can save you both time and money. Because 3D rendering shows us a clearer visualization of how the end design should look, it enables us to take extremely precise measurements so that we can assess each part of the construction process clearly, early in the process. This level of precision, in the beginning, makes the entire process much smoother and more efficient by reducing unexpected changes and mistakes—something that also helps you stay within budget and on schedule!

Improves Communication between Homeowner and Designer

3D design vastly improves communication between us, as a design-build contractor and you, as our client. We can all sit down together and visualize using 3D models, trying out different design ideas, discussing potential problems and coming up with even better ideas. We can incorporate your ideas instantly into the 3D model, enabling all of us to visualize how each change or idea holistically impacts the end result. As a team, we’re all on the same page about what needs to happen to bring your dream remodel to fruition.

While 3D renderings are an absolute must in today’s home remodeling process, they’re still no substitute for working with an experienced designer who can provide the perspective and depth of understanding to interpret and visualize what the renderings mean. Combining the high-tech wonders of 3D design and a skilled design-build team will help you breeze through the permitting process, fulfill the building codes and bring your design ideas to life efficiently, accurately and beautifully.

Discover the advantages of 3D design renderings for your next home remodeling project today. Contact Riverside Construction and our expert architectural and design team will show you how to get the most stunning results for your home.

 

Reputation Building Blocks

The third annual Qualified Remodeler/GuildQuality customer satisfaction report offers new insights on cornerstone tactics for happy clients and highlights 60 remodeling firms leading the way—Andy Haste and Riverside Construction was one of them.

The building blocks of any successful remodeling or home improvement business are many. There must be a firm handle on overhead, job costs, estimating, pricing and production, just t o name a few. Further down that list but of equal importance is customer satisfaction strategy and measurement.

Remodelers usually come into the industry with a clear sense of what it takes to make customers happy. New remodelers often come with years of experience in carpentry and project management. The thinking is that happy customers are the natural byproduct of quality workmanship, fair prices and a friendly demeanor. But as GuildQuality and thousands of remodelers around the country learn, there’s a lot more to it. Customer satisfaction is a discipline unto itself and is a foundational building block of any profitable and long-term survivor in remodeling. Twelve years ago, Qualified Remodeler offered the first of five annual surveys on customer satisfaction, running from 2005 to 2010. By surveying clients who had recently completed remodeling work, the research netted new insights into the client relationship traits that correlated most closely with high rates of those clients who expressed a willingness to refer their remodeler. The results of those early surveys showed that timeliness, job site cleanliness and communication were critically important to the remodeler-client relationship. They consistently ranked higher than fair prices and quality of workmanship—the very attributes most remodelers rely on for client happiness when they come to this industry.

Read or download entire article (Riverside featured at the bottom of page 49).

Don’t Remodel Your New Home Just Yet: 3 Unexpected Reasons to Wait

 

If you just moved into your new home, congratulations! If your first intention after the last box is unloaded from the moving truck is to get busy remodeling your new home before you unpack, hold on a moment. If this seems like a crazy thing for a remodeling company to say, hear us out please.

It’s probably just fine do some immediate remodeling touches like updating the paint or switching out the flooring. And naturally, you’ll want to remodel or update any damaged areas that need repair before the home is habitable. Accessibility or major functionality issues are also a good reason to remodel right out of the box.

But it’s the major structural changes that have more to do with taste that make us say, “Whoa there!” In our experience, this scenario is often fraught with frustration for homeowners. Ask yourself if the remodeling is a functional need or just a really intense want.

We strongly recommend living in your home for about a year before digging into your “want” remodeling list. Look at these 3 reasons we tell people to wait and you’ll end up saving time, hassle and money in the long run:

1. Let Your Financial Situation Settle

You’ve just purchased a home—that’s a big financial responsibility. Aside from the new mortgage, you likely paid for movers, professional cleaning, etc. Give yourself a year to let all of that settle out. Pay down some bills over the next several months. Go ahead and change the doorknobs and a few other light touches that make you feel happy, but don’t break the bank. That way, you’ll have a better idea of how much remodeling your budget can handle. Your wallet and credit score will thank you.

2. Give Yourself a Chance to Get to Know the House

You and your home have really just met. What you saw before the previous owners moved out probably wasn’t everything there is to know about your home. Maybe your first thought was, “Wow, we should remodel the kitchen.” But now that you’ve lived there for a while, you realize a more important project is remodeling the bathroom or the closets. You can only know these things by living with the house for awhile. Over this year, do the following:

  • Observe family traffic patterns through various areas of the house. Note inefficiencies and places where the flow doesn’t work.
  • How is your storage space working out for you? Any design elements that drive you nuts?
  • Throw a couple of dinner parties and see how well your guests are able to mingle and how efficient it is to get food from the kitchen to the dining room or patio.
  • Spend time on the patio and around the yard—is it fabulous or not?
  • Pay close attention to how well your home handles each season. Does it get too stuffy in the summer or drafty in the winter? Is the color scheme too dark or too glaring? Are there indoor leaks or outdoor drainage issues?
  • Once you’ve spent a year getting to know your new home, you’ll be able to make wiser remodeling decisions that will increase the value of your home, improve your quality of life, and save you the trouble of having to remodel a remodel that was too hastily done in the first place.

3. Give Yourself Time to Get Educated about Remodeling

This “honeymoon” time with your home is also a great year to learn all you can about different remodeling projects you’re interested in before actually plunking down the cash and letting the sawdust fly. Becoming an informed homeowner will help you save time and money when you reach the point where you’re ready to commit to a remodeling project or two.

Riverside Construction holds regular complementary home remodeling seminars that cover a wide range of remodeling projects you might be dreaming about. Our next one, which is always very popular, is our Kitchen and Bath seminar. We’ll be digging deep and answering all of your questions about remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, so save the date and register for the class:

Riverside Construction’s Kitchen and Bath Seminar
On Saturday, August 19th from 10:30 a.m. to noon
At the Holiday Inn City Center in Downtown Lafayette

Although the class is free, space is limited, so register as soon as possible. When you register, be sure to leave a question or comment in the bottom box about the remodeling project you’re considering so that we can come prepared with some ideas and answers for you.

If you can’t come to this seminar, we will hold more in the future; keep an eye on this page so you’ll know when we schedule the next one.

You can also request a personal consultation with one of our Riverside Construction remodeling experts that fits within your schedule.

And remember—don’t jump into a remodeling project too quickly with your new home. Follow our three tips and wait a year so you can get the most satisfaction and value from your remodeling project!