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1. Do your research.Finding an experienced, trustworthy contractor is the #1 thing you can do in your favor. Ask friends for recommendations; check Angie’s list. Use only contractors certified by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Meet the entire team in person – more than once – before you sign anything.
2. Get a detailed, written estimate.Never hire a company unwilling to put its promises on paper.
3. Listen.Remember, the contractor and team are the professionals. This gives them two distinct advantages: experience and emotional objectivity. A good contractor will be (sometimes brutally) honest with you as to which of your wish-list items are feasible, which are not, and which will be unwelcomed budget-busters. Take heed. When they suggest lower-cost alternatives that will deliver comparable results without breaking the bank, seriously consider them.
4. Be heard.Knowing what you want is one thing; explaining it to someone else is something else altogether. Even the best contractor and design team in the world have one inherent flaw: They are not mind readers. Be specific.
5. Use pictures.Try as you may to describe the visions in your head, nothing is going to deliver a clearer message than pictures.
6. Ask questions.
7. Stick to your end of the schedule.Be on time for meetings. Choose finishing products in a timely manner. You expect the contractor team to respect your time, so respect theirs.
8. Be available.Especially if your project is on the larger side, questions will arise during the day. Be available to answer them. This, as much as anything, will help keep your project on schedule. Let the project manager know the best way to reach you each day, be it by email or phone.
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9. Stick to your budget.If you didn’t have the money when the project started, you’re not going to magically have it halfway through the project and certainly not at the end.
10. Keep your eye on the finish line.Inevitably, as the project progresses, your wish list is going to evolve. Don’t get hung up on the chandelier with the most bling or the massaging showerhead. The most important thing is that you are able to finish your project. Focus on the structural construction and let go of the minutia.
11. Compromise – with yourself.
12. Pay on time.The construction company relies on your payments to buy materials for the next phase of the project. Paying on time is not optional; it is a must.
13. Be realistic.No construction project is without complications. But as long as you and your contractor communicate openly and honestly through every phase of the project, together you can avoid disastrous “uh-ohs.”
14. Trust the professionals.
Photo: Erik Mclean on Unsplash