Home Experts: Local News
How to Choose a Remodeler
Story Updated: Apr 5, 2011
If you own a home, no matter what its age, sooner or later you may join the millions of people who remodel their homes each year. The reasons for remodeling are as varied as the projects themselves. Generally people choose remodeling to add comfort, convenience, space, and ultimately to enhance their investment in what may be their most valuable asset.
How much does a remodeling project cost in Anchorage?
• 2008-2009 Cost of Remodeling in Anchorage
Before you meet with a Remodeler
• Develop an idea of what you want to do. Write a prioritized list of your needs and wants. Look at magazines and collect pictures of what you like.
• Think about traffic patterns, furniture placement, colors, lighting, and how you want to use the remodeled space.
• Figure out how much money you have to spend on the remodeling job, the furnishings, and the landscaping.
Begin the Search
• Seek referrals from
o Friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and others who have had remodeling work done.
o Independent trade contractors, building materials suppliers, architects, engineers, home inspectors, and local lenders.
o Local trade associations, such as your area’s local home builders association and local Remodelors Council.
• Check with your local or state office of consumer protection and the local Better Business Bureau. Have they had any complaints about the remodeler? If so, were those complaints resolved?
• Check with your state’s licensing agency and the state and local building inspectors to see if they have received any complaints about the remodeler and to verify that the remodeler has the appropriate license(s).
• Resource: Understanding Building Laws in the State of Alaska
What to Look for and What to Ask
Does the remodeler-
• Maintain a permanent mailing address, a phone number, and a cell phone or answering system?
• Carry insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or jobsite injuries?
• Have an established presence in the community?
• Possess a trustworthy reputation among customers, peers, and people involved in all aspects of the industry?
• Actively participate in a trade organization such as the Remodelors Council of the National Association of Home Builders?
Construction and Technical Expertise
Does the remodeler -
• Have a working knowledge of the many types and ages of homes in the area?
• Specialize in particular types of projects?
• Arrange for the building permit? (The person who obtains the permit is the contractor of record and therefore liable for the work.)
• Offer a warranty? If so, what kind and for how long? What is covered under the warranty and what is not?
• Agree to begin and complete your job within your timetable?
Make the Decision
• Ask yourself if you feel comfortable with the remodeler and confident that this company will do the work according to your plans, budget, and specification.
• If you are satisfied with the answers to your questions, ask for a written estimate of the work to be done based on a set of plans and specification. Be prepared to pay for this package. If the estimated cost of the project is more than you can afford, see if you can trim something from the project or postpone part of it so you can still work with a professional remodeler.
• Ask the remodeler to explain the plans and specification and company procedures to you.
• If you compare your estimate with another, be sure each one is based upon the same set of plans, specification, and scope of work. If your remodeler suggests any deviations, ask the remodeler to present them as options.
• Find out whether the remodeler uses a detailed, written contract that protects both of you and that compiles with local, state, and federal laws. The contract must spell out the work that will and will not be performed.
• Select the remodeler with a track record of a variety of excellent projects and plenty of experience with your type of project. Remember, a low price alone does not ensure a successful remodeling experience.
• A contractor’s proposal for a remodeling project should include a detailed scope of work that identifies the products and services to be provided. It can take many hours to prepare the scope of work and price out a job. Many professional remodeling contractors charge a fee to compensate them for their time preparing a proposal. The fee can range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars depending on the complexity of the project