So, you’ve decided to give the green light to that home remodeling project you’ve been talking about for years. Depending on the scope and scale of the project, you could be looking at an estimate with costs anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 (or more).
Some homeowners just aren’t prepared for that kind of sticker shock when it comes to remodeling. However, it’s not always the case of the contractor being high-priced. Sometimes, it’s a lack of a clear understanding on the part of the homeowner as to everything involved in the contractor getting the job done.
Having everything in writing protects you, the homeowner, and the contractor as a business owner who is about to do extensive work in your home. Thankfully, discerning an estimate from a professional contractor is easy, provided you know what to look for.
Important things that the estimate should include:
Detailed scope of work: An estimate from a professional contractor likely will be several pages long and highly detailed and organized.
Proof of licensure and insurance: Your estimate from a professional remodeling contractor will probably mention the fact they are licensed and insured to do business in your area.
Payment schedule: Though payment schedules can vary by the job, they should always be agreeable to both parties involved. Some professionals feel that tying payments to milestones works out better than those tied to percentages of completion. It’s up to you and your contractor to decide.
Duration of project: Although a project can take longer than expected for legitimate reasons, it’s always a good idea to put the expected duration of a project in writing. Having a timeline will calm your nerves if progress hits a slow spot.
Exclusions: A good contract should include a list of exclusions, such as things that will not be visible until the walls are opened up after demolition, or the level of cleaning you should expect after the work is complete.
Special tools or equipment required for the project will be listed in detail: Some home remodeling project require the use of specialty equipment that must be purchased, rented or hired to complete your project. For example, a room addition that involves a lot of digging up and moving out of dirt might require the services of a backhoe or an excavator. This cost often is passed on to the homeowner.
Outline of cost and materials being used: The materials you choose can have a significant affect on the cost of your remodeling estimate.
Written warranty: A professional contractor will offer you a rock-solid warranty that is clearly detailed and explained on the estimate. While this isn’t a guarantee that they will be around to honor it, take into consideration the contractor’s reputation, the length of time they’ve been in business, and how they conduct themselves to make that determination for yourself.
A home remodel is a significant investment, but it’s worth the time and money necessary to ensure you are getting the highest quality materials, installed by top-notch, experienced professionals.