Renovation horror stories frequently make headlines, and many of them are credited to subpar renovation professionals. However, the oft-read-about crooks aren’t the norm, and it’s important to note that homeowners also have culpability when it comes to working with a contractor. In order to make your home renovation go as smoothly as possible, we asked a few contractors what drives them crazy when it comes to their clients. Here are the three top things to avoid:
1. Communication errors
When it comes to renovating, it’s important to get the facts straight and clearly communicate project details. This begins in the bidding process – it’s suggested that homeowners receive three bids when beginning a home improvement project, and it’s imperative that each potential hire receive the exact same information in order to properly bid on the job. Once the project begins, changing your mind can be costly – change orders can incur additional costs and put your project behind schedule. Sticking to the plan and communicating it effectively will save you time and money. Be as thorough as you can when communicating a project plan to a renovation professional, from beginning the bidding process to putting the final touches on your home. Kukun’s Personalized Estimate feature makes it easy to think about every part of your project, from whether or not you’ll be adding square footage to HVAC work and paint. From there, you can quickly share your project plan with multiple renovation professionals to begin the bidding process, using our Quote Request tool.
2. Not reviewing contracts
Sometimes unexpected things come up during a renovation, particularly in the demolition phase. “Hidden or undisclosed” damages such as rot, mold, and termite issues may not be included in your original contract with your contractor. It’s best to budget accordingly from the beginning – experts suggest setting aside an amount equivalent to 20 to 30 percent of your original budget/bid for the project for hidden damages and code upgrades that may arise during your project.
3. Poor professional education
“Some clients can be their own worst enemy,” said one contractor, who elected to remain anonymous. You needn’t be a renovation expert, but it’s important to understand a few things. Sometimes, an item you requested may not be possible after all, such as moving a wall or support column. If it’s discovered that the wall or column is a necessary structural element and cannot be moved, your contractor isn’t trying to rip you off, nor is he or she incompetent. Other times, an item may have to be sacrificed if an unexpected issue takes up too much of the original budget, as frequently happens on popular renovation TV shows like HGTV’s “Love It or List It.”
Education is important when it comes to communicating with renovation professionals, and understanding the process. Check out the Kukun Academy for free advice on the subjects of architecture, interior design, general construction, and need-to-know renovation info from industry experts.
— Kukun (@MyKUKUN) October 23, 2015
It’s a renovation professional’s job to make sure your home improvement project is done correctly, and working together doesn’t need to be difficult. With a little pre-renovation education and effective communication, working with a contractor can be easy and pain-free for you both.