Only Do Business With Professionals - Hire a professional with all of the following:
Choose Your Method Early - Choose the Remodeling Method you think is right for you. There are two choices: (1) hire and architect or designer to produce drawings which can be used to seek prices from several remodeling contractors. (2) Hire a design/build remodeler offering in-house design, decorating/selections advice and seamless service from design through construction. Interview several qualified candidates and choose the company (people) you like best.
Establish a Budget - Establish a realistic budget range for each project idea. Use the current Remodeling Magazine Cost vs. Value Report for reliable costing advice available at www.remodeling.hw.net.
Know Project Cost Before a Contract - Make sure you know the project cost and have the money or financing secured before you sign a Home Improvement Contract that includes construction. Require a written schedule upon contract signing.
Plan Ahead - During the preliminary design phase, evaluate the feasibility of your living in the house during demolition and construction. How much room you have for your family, consideration of kids and pets, where everybody will park and store materials, where you will store your belongings moved from the work area. Renting or leasing alternative housing must be planned in advance. Living in your home during major construction or remodeling requires fortitude and great attitude. It ain’t going to be easy.
Have A Pre Construction Meeting - Have a Pre Construction meeting at least one week before work begins. Review your contract specifications, schedule, dust protection and trash methods, parking, materials storage, and security. Go over contract exclusions as well. Discuss your policy toward radio playing, smoking and language.
Designate a Responsible Partner - Decide which spouse will be the "official" representative for both in all communications regarding fulfillment of the contract and the myriad of problems and changes to be encountered. Write the designated spouse into the contract.
Make A Pact To Communicate and Cooperate - At contract signing: Exchange phone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses and insist on after hours contact phone or pager with the general contractor. Establish and maintain good rapport with your contractor. Agree to respond to each other quickly, no matter what. On demand meetings and phone conversations are better than weekly meetings.