Whether you've outgrown your home, your appliances need updating, you'd like to improve the value of your house, or you're just plain bored with your outdated layout, you'll want to look into remodeling. But remodeling is no small task, and as your home is probably your biggest investment, it may justifiably turn into an expensive endeavor. Unfortunately, overspending and shoddy work is all too common. The important thing is to find an experienced remodeler who will give you a reasonable price. Picking out a new design is difficult enough without having to look over your remodeler's shoulder every second to ensure a job well done.
The first step in choosing the right remodeler is to ask friends about their own experiences. A good personal recommendation is invaluable. Ask if the contractor was prompt and organized, and if he returned your calls quickly. You'll also want to ask friends about their bad experiences as well as the good. Is there anything they wish they'd known before starting the process? However, be careful if a friend recommends his or her relative, or if your own relative asks for the job. If you're not confident in someone's work, beg off as politely as you can instead of being pressured into an expensive mistake. For your own relatives, try telling them that you don't really like to mix business with family.
Aside from friends, you can also drive around your neighborhood looking for houses that have posted remodeler advertisements. Don't be afraid to knock on the door and ask about the remodeling experience. Incidentally, this is also a great way to meet neighbors.
Experts recommend being skeptical of drive-by contractors who knock on your door peddling their services. If you do have interest in hiring someone without a personal recommendation, you can protect yourself. First, ask for references of former clients you can call. You can also ask the contractor for a list of recent projects with their start and end dates -- you can confirm this data with the references. Find out how long the contractor has been in business, and avoid contractors who have a short history. Even consider asking for their address and social security number to obtain a credit report.
What else should you find out when deciding on who will change the look and feel of your home?