Avoid Remodeling Nightmares with These Expert Tips

avoid remodeling nightmares

Everyone has heard stories about the remodeling project gone wrong. The stories are endless: We had days (or weeks) when nobody was at our house; it took twice as long; it cost twice as much; the workers were late, messy, and rude; my spouse and I almost got a divorce over this; we ended up having to manage it ourselves because there was no supervision; they wouldn't tell us where the money was being spent; we never knew what was going on; the workmanship was awful; they never communicated with us ... the list goes on.

For those of you with an HGTV addiction, somewhere in there you know that the success at the end of every show did not happen without lots of planning, and it certainly did not happen by accident, even though it happens in a half hour and evidently in a single weekend at the client's home.

Remodeling should not and does not have to be a painful process that leaves you with any kind of regret or a less-than-satisfied feeling. At Nip Tuck Remodeling, we are fond of the term "Happiness Guaranteed!" We are not talking about "Happiness or your Money Back guaranteed," but I guarantee you will be much happier if you choose to follow some of the tips included here that contribute to a long list of happy client experiences.

Tip # 1: Hire the Right People

Nip Tuck Remodeling Team

(pictured L to R: Gail Dent, Designer; Patty Davis, Operations Mgr; April Bettinger, Owner; David Meier, Project Mgr; Maria Gormley, Stone Fabricator (in front))

It is my belief that a client is best served by finding the right team up front and using the team as collaborators. Depending upon the size and complexity of your project, the team members will vary. Each member - the architect, designer, and contractor - will have a different specialty lens that they look through, and in most cases, will compare a concept with the technical reality and implications of implementing the idea.

The average homeowner does not regularly undertake a major renovation project. Instead, there may be two or three projects over the course of ownership, and those may be two to five years apart. If that is the case, finding a contractor that may be able to grow with you and your home and be a continual resource for you is not only a benefit, but it means that you only need to do the hard work of research once. Wouldn't it be refreshing to know that you have someone in your corner and can call them for any home-related issue? This contractor may not be the one to actually do the work whenever you have a need, but they do have resources that they can share to help you take great care of your home.

Finding a contractor is more than choosing someone to perform a service. The contractor will be part of your life for the next 3, 6, or 12 months. So first and foremost, choose someone you can trust who has an organizational and communication style that works for you. There is not a problem out there that can't be resolved by leaning on mutual trust and clear communication. You can find great candidates through referrals of friends and associates that have had similar work performed and through websites created to showcase professional work, such as Houzz and Pinterest.

Not only do you need to make sure the people you choose to work on your remodeling project are professional and skilled, take the extra step to perform some due diligence. Before hiring any professional:

It's easy to skip that last step, but a person can be fabulous on paper and still not be the right fit for you.

Tip #2: Plan, Plan, Plan

When remodeling verify references

You've heard the saying, "fail to plan, plan to fail"? That is exactly what we are talking about. Nothing successful happens by accident, and that certainly pertains to your dream kitchen or bath. Planning is the place that many well-intended professionals may skimp on in an effort to get the project underway quickly. But it is the difference between a drama-free, flowing project and one full of surprises, upset, and cost overruns. For me, the design and planning phase must deliver a floor plan you love, the aesthetics that will bring it to life, customized 100 percent to your preference, and it must be attached to a budget that you feel delivers great value.

Tip #3: Get Everything in Writing

when remodeling get everything in writing

A remodeling project is going to generate a lot of documents. The important part here is that you have them in your possession prior to swinging any hammers and that everyone involved is clear about the following:

  • What is going to be done and who is going to do it - This is a written scope of work.
  • How much it is going to cost - This is a detailed budget outlining each section of the scope of work, with an associated cost.
  • When the project is going to start and finish - A formal calendar or timeline provided by the contractor before work begins and a system to monitor and check in weekly.
  • What it looks like - Make sure you have documents to sign off on specifying all the products to be installed (this includes pictures) and the floorplan at the very least. A well-thought-out plan will include detailed specifications for cabinetry, tile, lighting, plumbing, etc.
  • How and when to pay - Along with the scope of work and budget, the payment structure should be outlined in a formal, written contract.
  • Who to contact for questions and emergencies - A job book prepared for your project will likely contain these details, but at the very least, be sure that you have the contact list sent to you digitally.

Remodeling a home, kitchen, or bathroom does not have to become a nightmare, but it's important to make sure you do your homework up front and choose remodeling partners you can trust. The tips shared with you in this article will not solve every potential problem, but they will absolutely help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls and end your project with a very happy result!

Remodeling should not and does not have to be a painful process that leaves you with any kind of regret or a less-than-satisfied feeling. At Nip Tuck Remodeling, we are fond of the term Happiness Guaranteed! We are not talking about Happiness or your Money Back guaranteed, but I guarantee you will be much happier if you choose to follow some of the tips included here that contribute to a long list of happy client experiences.