How to Start a Home Remodeling Project in Atlanta
Whether your project is big or small, we want you to be well-equipped to tackle your goals. Take a look at this introductory guide to help you prepare for your home remodel in Atlanta.
Know Your Budget
There are so many factors determining your project budget that it may seem difficult to estimate what you can expect to spend. Your budget will be influenced by the size and scope of your project, your material selections, and your contractor.
Instead of trying to juggle all these individual price determinants up front, begin by establishing a baseline of comparison. Research standard prices for basic remodeling projects in your area, such as kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, home addition remodels, and basement remodels.
Next, compare these project descriptions to your own goals and determine how much you’re able to increase your budget to meet your goals. Finally, meet with your contractor to receive a realistic price estimate specific to your space. With this estimate in hand, you can make final adjustments to material choices and your project objectives as necessary.
Know The Best Time of Year for Your Project
Home remodeling in Atlanta, GA, is easier than in many other locations. This is because it is relatively temperate year round, reaching annual average highs of 90 degrees Fahrenheit in July and average annual lows of 34 degrees Fahrenheit in January. This lends a flexible schedule to most projects, both indoor and outdoor.
Nevertheless, do familiarize yourself with these general principles: Home additions should be undertaken when you have dry or frozen ground rather than muddy, wet ground. Roofs should be replaced when weather is warm to allow the tar to seal properly. Indoor projects are preferably conducted during hot summer months. The busiest time of year for most remodelers is in the early summer and before major holidays.
With all these guidelines, however, recognize that the best time of year to remodel is when it makes sense for you and your contractor. In the end, working with your preferred contractor will give you a much more satisfactory result than working with your preferred timeline, so be flexible.
Know Which Questions to Ask Your Remodeling Company
If you’re preparing to solidify a contract with your home remodeling company here in Atlanta, chances are you’ve already found a company whose vision matches your own. You like the quality of the work you’ve seen on their previous projects, and you’re assured their design and remodeling execution match your expectations. But there are still a few questions you’ll want to ask before signing the dotted line.
#1 What’s Your Company’s History?
While this is likely a question you asked early on, it’s important to ask it now if you haven’t yet. Even at this stage in the game, giving your contractor an opportunity to tell you about who they are and how long they’ve been in business doing home remodeling in Atlanta may inspire questions you neglected to ask along the way. Thoroughly knowing your company’s personality will reveal your own and serve to solidify a productive working relationship.
#2 What Do Your Customers Say About You?
Again, if you haven’t asked this already, ask it now. You won’t want to sign the dotted line without first checking references from previous clients. You can begin by reading website reviews, Houzz ratings, and Facebook reviews, but it’s also always sound practice to speak with former clients directly since they will be able to best inform you about the experience you can expect in working with your contractor during your home remodeling in Atlanta.
#3 Who’s on Staff?
Discovering who’s on staff and the reporting structure of your company will help you know who to contact about which issues, which will expedite communication for both you and your remodeling company and also help you avoid frustration when project questions arise. (Bonus points if theres a dog on staff!)
#4 Who Will be Here on a Daily Basis?
Before signing that contract, check who will be in your home supervising your project and which workers will be in your home doing the actual project work. You’ll want to make sure that you can communicate well with both your company’s owner and its project manager. Getting to know site workers also builds trust and establishes open lines for communication. As you remodel, questions will continue to arise. In this instance, it's important to know who to contact and how. Meet your project foreman and your home remodeler before beginning your project, exchange contact information, and establish the best ways and times to reach one another to discuss progress on the job site.
#5 What is Your Daily Work Schedule?
Logistical questions are just as important as communication-oriented questions. Establishing a schedule that works with your daily routine as well as your contractor’s will help work flow remain smooth and efficient. Just as you determine the best time of year for your project, determine the best daily schedule for your project. You’ll be able to minimize interruptions to your routines by knowing what to expect ahead of time. Ask your contractor when worker will be in your home and establish your own schedule with these hours in mind.
#6 What is Our Overall Timeline?
Finally, knowing what to expect up front is the best way to ensure long-term satisfaction in your working relationship.As a follow-up question, ask your renovators if they foresee any possible difficulties or concerns that might affect your overall timeline. Every project poses unique challenges, so getting a sense for what these are likely to be will alleviate negative experiences should difficulties arise.
Know the Ins and Outs of Remodeling Bids
Traditional wisdom recommends soliciting three or more bids for any given project to provide a basis for comparison. But how do you evaluate bids after you collect them? Most of us skip automatically to the “bottom line”—the bid price. As we all know, however, the lowest bid doesn’t always equate to the most satisfactory results. Here’s how to ensure a good fit with your home remodeling contractor in Atlanta.
Price Isn’t Everything
Before you judge a contract based on its price, read the details. It may seem like extra work to examine your contract line by line, but outlier bids that are extremely low are likely hiding something, either intentionally or unintentionally. A contract that’s markedly lower than others, for instance, may be lumping material costs (e.g. “kitchen lights” vs. “pendants 1 and 2, 10 ft of under-cabinet LED lights, 8 ceiling recessed can lights, etc.) or else estimating based on lower-quality materials. Discard contracts that gloss over line items or low-ball material costs.
Keep in mind that price discrepancies can come in other areas besides materials. For instance, all the materials may be meticulously detailed, but is the description of the scope of work to be completed just as thorough? Pay attention to minor details like if the contractor will pay for waste disposal for old materials. Ask your contractor to place in writing all the services included in their bid, and be sure to compare bids to make sure you’re not overlooking something.
If the materials and work sections of your remaining contracts are presented in a detailed, clear, and easy-to-follow manner, and if there’s still a large price discrepancy between bid prices, it’s time to start asking each potential home remodeling contractor in Atlanta these questions:
Are you licensed and insured? Do you have workman’s compensation? How long have you been working in the industry? Do you have a physical location? Have you worked on projects similar to mine? May I see your portfolio work on these jobs? Will you handle obtaining permits, checking zoning restrictions, etc.? How did you estimate the cost of this bid? How did you estimate the timeline for this bid? Do you work with an entirely internal team, or do you hire subcontractors? If you work with subcontractors, what measures do you take to ensure quality work? Can I visit the jobsite of current projects you’re working on? What are your communication practices with your clients? Is your work warrantied? If so, for how long and under which terms?
Contact Your Contractor’s Clients
Of course, the very best way to get a sense of whether you’ll be satisfied with a perspective contractor is to speak with their previous clients. You can quickly vet contractors by checking their website testimonials, but since these are solicited and curated, you’ll also want to check Houzz reviews, Facebook reviews, etc.
If you’re able to speak with previous clients over the phone or even visit current job sites, you’ll have an even more realistic understanding of what working with a certain contractor will be like. References from recent clients will help you not only gain a sense of a contractor’s integrity but also of their personality, communication practices, etc. If you thoroughly investigate each of these areas, you can feel comfortable and confident moving forward with the bid of your choice.
You may be ready to begin work today to finish your remodeling project as soon as possible, but taking the time to thoroughly prepare for your project will afford more satisfaction in the long run. Preparation is half the project.
Following all these guidelines will enable you to know what to expect ahead of time as you begin your home remodeling project in Atlanta, GA.