Plan Your Budget

Remodeling is about the third largest purchase most Americans make in their lives, behind buying a home or a car. Of course, the simple answer most people come up with when we talk to them about budget is, "As cheap as I can get it," but we all know that you get what you pay for. There is a very high cost of going cheap. You have to weigh several factors like resale value, how long you'll be living in your home, financing options and what your financial limits are. If you were to go shopping for a house or a car, you'd know approximately what you would feel comfortable spending, and what would put too much stress on your budget. The same goes for remodeling. Having a realistic budget in mind can help eliminate sticker shock down the line. Read more on budgeting.

Gather Ideas

There are countless design concepts, materials and techniques that make your project absolutely unique. We are happy to present you with samples of these products, however we find that most people prefer to browse for ideas at their leisure before the initial meeting with a potential contractor. This enables us to bring a more focused sampling of various products and brochures, and we can get you pricing information more quickly. We have provided many links on this website to many of the suppliers we we use. These suppliers offer very high quality at competitive prices, and we can vouch for their performance in the field. Read more on Ideas.

Consult a Professional

While the DIY movement is going strong, thanks to big-box retailers, it has also had some unintended consequences. It's the retailer's job to make everything look easy so that they can sell you materials, tools and books, but the reality is that truly quality work in the trades comes from years of guidance from a master to an apprentice. Like any profession, there's only so much an amateur can do without compromising quality, safety or even one's own sanity. Countless projects across the country get started, but often don't get finished because people hit a wall. Either they lose their motivation to work for hours after working hard at their jobs all day, or they run into a problem in which they simply do not have the practice required to have the appropriate skill level. We've finished many DIY "starts" that never got finished when people have bitten off more than they could chew.

True professionals love their jobs, are knowledgeable of important quality and safety aspects, and they get the job done within a reasonable time frame. They also can offer lots of insight and advice from their years of experience. But how do you know you can trust the person you let in your home to tell you the truth and offer a reasonable price? First off, you need to do your homework and ask if they can offer a license and insurance information. Also you should ask to see online reviews or references and photos of their work. Still, when it comes down to it, you have to go with your gut instinct. Are they only telling you what sounds good and what you want to hear, or are they being honest with you about the reality of your goals and your project? Remember, use your own judgment, and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Remodeling a home is a big decision, so don't make a decision you'll regret and find out what to look for in a remodeler.

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What to look for in a contractor:

  • They protect you with licensing, insurance and a legally-binding contract that holds them accountable.
  • They have reviews or references and can show photos of their work.
  • They explain things clearly and offer multiple options if a solution is needed.
  • They listen to your wants, needs and ideas, then offer insight to the process, rather than just tell you how it will be done.
A true craftsman understands their profession, and has a genuine passion for improving the place you spend most of your life: your home. They should have a reputation that precedes them and the savvy to answer your questions.

What not to look for in a contractor:

They're just so much cheaper than everyone else!

It seems appealing at the time, but there's a very high cost to going cheap. In five years when the linoleum floor around your bathtub is rotting underneath from moisture problems, and the acrylic tub surround is peeling away from the walls, you'll find out for yourself! Quality remodeling costs money because quality materials and quality craftsman who take their time also cost money. When you're investing in your home, you want to make a lasting investment that will look great and have no problems from a shoddy installation 20 years from now.

I hear their name all the time on the radio and on TV. They must be big and successful!

This is called name-recognition in marketing terms. It's where they flood the target audience with their name, so that when they need their home worked on, consumers' minds automatically jump to the names they've heard in between songs and their favorite television shows. This has nothing to do with the quality of the product they will produce, and only leads to extremely high overhead costs that get passed on to you. Radio and television advertising is one of the most expensive business costs there is, and when you receive their quotes, you'll believe it. Just because they advertise doesn't mean they're good at what they do, or even that they comply with the law by being licensed! Bottom line: do your homework on whatever contractor you're considering!

They offered me 20% off if I signed on the first consultation. What a deal!

This is the sign of a high-pressure salesman, who either overcharges so much that they can offer a too good to be true deal, or they don't want to give you the time for you to do research and find negative reviews. Nobody should ever expect you to sign a contract for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars without doing your homework! If they come at you with a high pressure approach, it's a very bad sign. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. While all contractors are in the business to make money, they shouldn't try to pressure you into making a bad decision.