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Going Beyond the Basics for a Positive Remodeling Experience

Written by Lorraine Hart, Ideal Consulting Services, Inc.
Published in the Houston Chronicle on  July 30, 2017

Choosing the right professionals is more than just finding the remodeler or designer with the lowest price.  It is more important that the company you choose to work with is the right company for you.

This article will focus on choosing the remodeler who is right for you so that you, your family and your home will have a positive experience.  Yes, I said “your home”.  Depending on the project you plan, the life, health and safety of your home may be one of the most important considerations when choosing a remodeler.

It is important that you are fully aware of the differences between contractors.  Unfortunately there are still those who ignore the rules because it is easier and cheaper to do so.  People tend to think that nothing can happen so why worry.  The big question is, what if something does go wrong?  The other question to ask yourself is if the contractor is ignoring the law what else might they be ignoring. You have very little protection if you do hire an unlicensed or uninsured contractor.

I often ask myself why someone would risk their most important investment by hiring the cheapest contractor.  I will go so far as to say selecting the right remodeler may actually be a matter of life and death, the life and death of your home that is.  Rather than focusing on price negotiations, you and your contractor should focus on creating your dream for your home.  Keep in mind that this renovation is something that you may be living with for years to come.  You certainly don’t want to have any regrets or wish that you had done it differently.  Kevin Vick of Vick Construction & Remodeling and the 2017 President of the GHBA Remodelers Council says “the small amount that you save now may not be worth it in the long run in other words, cheap is contrary to quality.”

Keep in mind that a professional remodeler will also use professional subcontractors.  Make sure that any subcontractors that work in your home are insured.  Plumbers, electricians and HVAC contractors in Texas are required to be licensed but not all are, so ask. You might not think painters need insurance, but they do.  Even pros fall off of ladders more often than you might think.  Dan Bawden, of Legal Eagle Contractors, 2017 NAHB Remodelers Chairman and a practicing attorney says “you don’t want an uninsured subcontractor working in your home.  Should you experience a flood or fire while the work is in process or after completion, you as a homeowner will be subject to aggravation and stress, even if your homeowner’s insurance covers the damage.  If your homeowner’s policy does pay for damage caused by an uninsured subcontractor, it will “subrogate”, or file lawsuits against the general contractor and the subcontractor to recoup.   Homeowner’s insurance typically does not pay enough to fix the damages, so ultimately you may not get enough reimbursement to rebuild.  To fully restore your home, you may have to take legal action again the general contractor, the subcontractor who caused the problem, and possibly your own insurance company to get a fair shake on the settlement amount.  Judgments can be brought against the general contractor and “you may not get the reimbursement you need to rebuild and you may even need to take legal recourse.”

Remember the importance of communicating with your prospective remodeler. A good remodeler will take the time and make the effort to see that you are properly informed so that together you will be able to make your dream a reality.