Many people are choosing
to stay in their existing homes
instead of purchasing another home
for reasons such as better school
districts, property tax advantages
and family proximity. Real Estate
has traditionally been not only
a shelter for your family, it can
be a great investment as well. Remodeling
or room additions can make your
home more efficient and comfortable,
and it is possible to recoup most
or even all of the remodeling costs.
If planned and executed
properly, the remodeling process
can be a relatively smooth one.
Unfortunately many people do more
research when buying a television
than they do when preparing to undertake
a home remodeling project. If you
plan on living at home during the
remodeling process, be ready for
some inconveniences. Larger projects
that require weeks or months can
be intrusive and daunting.
The following is
a checklist to help create a positive
your ideas on paper, preferably
actual architectural drawings.
These specifications will define
the scope of work and be given
to each qualified General Contractor
that you have invited to bid.
Drawings and detailed specifications
will help eliminate the unknowns
and decrease the potential for
Change Orders. Change Orders
are additional invoices that
are issued to the homeowner
when the unexpected occurs.
For example, if there is plumbing
in a wall that wasn't referenced
in the drawings and/or specifications.
friends, family and neighbors
if they have any personal, positive
experiences with a General Contractor.
Use Yelp and Internet searches
to read customer testimonials
and company reviews. It is a
good idea to get bids from three
different Contractors. Ask for
references and be diligent in
following up with a visual inspection
on at least one prior job. While
checking references, ask if
the Contractor was reliable,
had good communication skills,
and whether or not the customer
was charged excessive Change
Check that the Contractor's
license is current and active
by calling the CSLB (800.321.CSLB)
or visiting their website, www.cslb.ca.gov.
On the website you can also
check the status of the company's
workers' compensation insurance.
Additionally, go to www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/toolkits.htm
to confirm that the company
is EPA lead-safe certified.
The EPA's new Renovation, Repair
and Painting Rule became a Federal
law as of April 22, 2010, and
reportedly few general contractors
in California have received
certification. D.R. Domenichini
Construction has completed the
requirements and is EPA lead-safe
Get a written contract. Avoid
bids that are vague. Materials
should be specified by brand
and model number, if at all
possible. Be sure that you completely
understand the terms of the
contract. When will the project
commence and what is the projected
completion date? How will Change
Orders be handled? Never pay
more 10% or $1,000 (whichever
is less) up front. If the contract
calls for progressive payments,
never pay more than the value
of the work completed.
a meeting before construction
begins to discuss mutual expectations
and concerns. Schedule on-going
meetings, preferably once
a week or so. The meetings
do not need to be lengthy
(a half-hour is often sufficient)
but are necessary to provide
adequate communication throughout
the duration of the project.
a final job walk at the completion
of the project. During this
walk, the homeowner has the
opportunity to identify, discuss
and document any defects or
incomplete work. This detailed
list is often called a "punch
list". It is a good idea
to supplement this punch list
by marking the actual areas
of concern on the walls, ceilings,
etc., with blue painters tape.
Number the blue tape and reference
them on the punch list. Never
pay the final retention fee
until the project is complete.
Never pay with cash.
Using this check
list will help assure that the overall
experience will be as pleasant as
possible. You will then be able
to enjoy the surroundings of your
newly remodeled project!