Is this you:
* Your family situation has changed so you need more rooms or fewer rooms, different amenities and features to suit the way you live today.
* Your income has changed, now you can afford to have some of the more expensive features you really want but gave up due to budget when you bought.
* Your heating, cooling and maintenance costs are killing you.
* You really want to stay in the neighborhood - close to friends, family, church or temple, job, school.
Then there's often only one best solution - remodel. But where do you begin? Choosing the remodeler that's right for you is the key to a positive experience and achieving the result you want - your dream home. But there are a lot of companies out there that offer remodeling services so how do you know which the right one is?
Figure out what you want and need. Even the best remodeler can't provide solutions when you haven't figured out the problem.
* Examine your family's lifestyle. What fits how you live in your current home, and what doesn't? Make a list and then prioritize it into your "wish list" (include what you really need, what you really want, what you'd like but could live without).
* Take a good look at your home, your lot, your neighborhood. What needs to be updated or repaired? Do you have room to expand outwards? Will property values in the neighborhood support your planned improvements?
* Figure out how much you're willing to spend.
* Keep a scrapbook of pictures and articles from magazines and books to get ideas about style and features you like.
* Meet with a lender to discover your financing options and limits.
Select the right remodeler. For most families, working with a design/build remodeler (a company that handles everything from design to final construction) or a remodeler that has a good working relationship with an independent architect or designer will serve their needs best. Unless you have construction experience, making sure your remodeler is responsible for coordinating the entire job leaves less chance for problems and errors.
Start by narrowing your search
* Do they have a showroom? Do they have a web site?
* If so, ask to visit their showroom. Visiting a showroom will tell you a lot about the types of materials and quality of products they use and offer.
* Get referrals from friends, neighbors, relatives
* Look for reliable professionals with credentials like memberships in the Metropolitan Builders Association(MBA), National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), The Better Business Bureau (BBB) or other reputable organizations. These organizations require members to uphold a stringent code of ethics and quality standards.
Then interview several remodelers
* Make sure they have experience in the type of remodeling project you have in mind.
* Make sure they explain all aspects of working with them - payment and budget requirements, what to expect during construction, scheduling, selections, how they handle changes, how they handle unforeseen problems.
* Make sure your personalities and communication styles mesh - if you don't feel comfortable with them in the interview, you probably won't feel comfortable with them during your remodeling job.
* Ask for examples of past projects and how much each project cost, especially those that were similar in scope to what you hope to accomplish.
* Tell them what you want, and your total budget - shows them your "wish list."
* Make sure they are licensed, and find out what kind of insurance they carry. Also ask about subcontractors that will be involved.
* Get names of past clients and contact them - ask about their remodeling experience, including how the remodeler was to work with; price and value of their project; were they on-time and on-budget; would they hire that remodeler again; did the remodeler make sure their home was secure and clean at the end of each day; were there any unplanned-for problems during construction and if so how were they resolved.
Choose your remodeler. If you're tempted to go to several remodelers and ask for bids, don't! At this stage a reputable remodeler will only be able to guess at the final price. Remember, a design/build remodeler or remodeler/architect team will work with you to create a remodeling solution that will best suit your needs, your home's condition, and your budget. Before the first worker comes on site, the remodeler will have invested considerable time and talent in designing a project that meets your expectations, your needs, and your budget.
That means trust and communication are key. So, do choose the remodeler with whom you feel most comfortable. You've checked out their credentials, asked about their experience, talked with past customers, and discussed your budget and your remodeling dreams - now you should be able to confidently choose the remodeler that had all the right answers, the one that just feels right.