By Scott Murfey,
Find the right contractor:This is by far the most important step you can take. Even though you can’t wait to install that beautiful, new countertop and cherry hardwood floors, take the time to find a contractor who is reliable and produces great work. Make sure that you get as many references as possible from each contractor you interview. I recommend that you use a licensed contractor because licensed contractors tend to produce higher quality work than those who are not licensed, and you are more protected if anything should go wrong.
Understand the construction business:Many contractors have more than one job going on at a time, and this isn’t a bad thing: good contractors are busy contractors. However, what this does mean is that it your contractor might not be able to work on your project every day until the job is complete. Another thing that it’s important for you to understand is that the general contractor does not have complete control over the schedule of his or her sub-contractors. Therefore, in order to avoid feeling frustrated, discuss timelines with your contractor up front and agree on a reasonable schedule for both of you.
Expect the unexpected:The contractor doesn’t fully know what he or she is dealing with until the walls come down. That means that you could have mold, water damage, cracked pipes, or damaged electrical lines. In other words, be prepared to go 10-20 percent over budget. And because there can be unexpected issues, you should also make sure to plan for time delays.
Plan what you can:Even though there may be delays that you can’t control, there are ways you can help hasten the process by taking care of what you can in the beginning. For example, have your paint colors, fixtures and cabinet styles decided on before the construction even starts so supplies can be ordered in advance.
I wish I could say that renovations are always seamless and stress-free, but there are definitely ways to mitigate the stress. Also, it helps to keep in mind that when the dust settles you will be living in the home of your dreams.
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