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Friday, September 6, 2013

4 Tips for Choosing a Remodeler or Builder

1. Contact your local builder or remodeler association.

NAHB - National Association of Home Builders
NARI - National Association of the Remodeling Industry
Local HBA- Local Home Builders Association such as Dallas Builders Association

These associations can provide you with a list of member builders and remodelers that are certified and established in their feild, usually as easily as clicking a link on their website. Members are screened and voluntarily abide by a strict code of ethics, ensuring you that your home renovations are in the hands of a true professional.  

While it may not ease your mind as much as a direct recommendation from a trusted and long-time friend or family member, these groups are dedicated to providing knowledge and peace of mind to homeowners by cultivating a list of the highest caliber members.

2. Review typical projects and an overall portfolio of work.

These are generally available through a company website, online profiles such as Houzz or even a print portfolio that can be brought to the initial meeting. 

The purpose of this is two-fold- 

* to assess the quality of craftsmanship and aesthetic of their work (is the quality and overall style right for your home)

* to determine the scale and scope of typical projects (if they only do baths, no matter how beautiful, this might not be the best professional to renovate your entire home). 

3. Search out established businesses.

According to the NAHB, it usually takes 3-5 years to establish a financially sound business, and you want someone that will be around to handle warranty issues long after the construction is complete. 

So look for businesses with a permanent address. No 'fly-by-night work from the back of  a van' operations will do when constructing or renovating your dream home. And while many contractors do work from vehicles and in the field a large portion of the time, any reputable business owner will still have a base of operations from which to conduct general accounting, marketing and day-to-day operations. 

Check the rating and status of any complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Higher ratings come from businesses that have no complaints, or that resolve complaints in a timely fashion and to the consumer's satisfaction, as well as the number of years in business. [See how we stack up- Our BBB Rating]

4. Get a feel for the company and it's people- face to face.

While recommendations, reviews and photos can help you get an idea of whether or not a company is the right one for your scale and style of project, no amount of 'likes' or five-star ratings can replace that gut reaction when you meet someone in person. 

And even with increases in technology and the ease of communication in the digital age, interaction in-person is critical to establishing a good homeowner/remodeler relationship. 

This is the individual (or group of people) that you are going to trust with your privacy, your belongings and see on a very regular (and early in the morning) basis. If you feel at ease and can picture yourself communicating and interacting with this person without any reservations, then you've found the right contractor for you!

Considering a remodel soon? Download this checklist from the NAHB to help guide you though the selection process-