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Dos and Don'ts of Home Remodeling

Dos and Don'ts of Home Remodeling

I've noticed that many CasaSugar readers are in various stages of home renovations, and I, for one, am very impressed. I've always wanted to try remodeling a house, but I've heard so many horror stories about runaway costs and unreliable contractors — not to mention relationship troubles — that the prospect scares me a bit.

So I was excited to run across Home magazine's list of the dos and don'ts of home renovations. Here are some handy tips for updating your house without losing your sanity.

  • Do consider your contractor's personality. This person will be in your home each day, so it's paramount that you feel comfortable talking to him or her.

  • Don't be an absentee homeowner. Communicate with your contractor daily by phone or e-mail, and meet once a week face-to-face.
  • Do ask for a contract. A good contract should cover the following: start and finish dates, total cost (include how add-ons will be handled), a payment schedule, names of all parties, contractor's license number, description of project, and provisions for early termination. If necessary, consult a lawyer.

For more dos and don'ts,

  • Don't micromanage the crew. Instead, schedule a weekly meeting with the job foreman to discuss progress.
  • Do be wary if your contractor is reluctant to lay out a timeline for your project; it may mean the contractor has too many jobs at once to finish yours on time.
  • Don't undercut your contractor. The quickest way to sour a relationship is to hire a member of the contractor's crew to do work after hours for less pay.
  • Do create a directory. Record in a notebook contact information for each person working in your home.
  • Don't be shy about what you have
    to spend, especially if money is tight. Everything should be in the contract.
  • Do ask about insurance. Anyone working on your home needs it. You're liable if you hire an uninsured contractor and one of his crew is injured.
  • Don't rely on your imagination. Ask to see color swatches and paint chips for finishes before you order materials.
  • Do nominate a decision maker. The easiest way to prevent "he said, she said" is to appoint one family member to deal directly with the contractor and to update everyone else.


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