• Michele Wilson

Home Renovations: The Chaos to Calm Approach

Updated: Sep 12



Knowing what to ask and how to plan for your home remodel can be a daunting task. This week we're sharing more of our tips to planning and executing a home renovation project with ease.


Have you ever looked at your home and thought: I'd really like to update it but I have no idea where to begin, what questions to ask contractors, or if they are going to leave me holding the bill with 1/2 my kitchen or bathroom done?


You're in luck, we are sharing some of the questions we ask during our vetting process.


Questions to Ask?

  • Do you hire subcontractors and if so, what is your process for vetting and onboarding sub contractors? Does your insurance cover them? Or do you have your own team? You should know from the start who is entering your home, and what their qualifications are.


  • What level of insurance do you carry and can you provide proof? It's always good to confirm how the contractor is covered if an accident happens in your home.


  • What percentage of your projects finish on time and what's your guarantee if they go over the deadline? The answer to this question will tell you if the contractor over books themselves regularly, or if they are organized in their renovation processes.


  • What are your payment terms and how do you accept payment? This is especially important for homeowners that have houses out of town or vacation homes.


  • How do you keep your projects on budget? And what tools do you use to monitor the budget, timeline, and payments? This is another question that will let you know how organized they are in their processes and let them know you are watching the numbers.


  • Do you have a designated project manager on your team and what's their availability to you the homeowner? This will let you know what the level of communication is going to be, level of access to the contractor, and sets the expectation for clarity around your project. If there isn't a project manager or dedicated communicator, look out as it could lead towards contractors ignoring or disappearing on you.


  • Can you pull required permits, and how often do your projects pass inspections? This is a great way to let the contractors know, you expect quality work from them and also protects you, if or when you ever go to sell your house.


  • Have you worked with an Interior Designer before, and do renderings help you execute the vision? A lot of interior designers get some discounts when working with general contractors and fabricators. This is a good way to save money and also have a clear vision of how you want the final project to turn out.



Sonder Luxe Solutions Vetting Process:


SHHH! It's ok, we're letting you in on our secret strategies to our little black book of quality contractors. We take extra care to do extensive vetting of anyone we recommend to our clients and we're happy to share those tips with you.

  • We always ask for 2-3 quotes from different contractors to make sure pricing is fair and in line with the market. Sometimes this is challenging as certain states don't have regulations for what contractors can charge.


  • We require proof of insurance and licensing. You don't want to get stuck with a contractor suing you for falling and getting hurt while on a project for you.


  • We participate in multiple conversations with the general contractor or lead contact of their company about the project before it even begins. Communication is key to loving the final result of your home update.


  • We schedule initial walk throughs for project scope estimates and another walk through when the project begins. I'm always wary of those contractors who provide estimates over the phone site unseen. They don't know what issues the house may have in the walls, when it was built, if certain home features are custom etc.


  • We perform a review of their contracts to make sure the language included for your remodel or renovation is up to code. Do you now how many contractors try to add on costs for something not being required?


  • We read reviews, meet one on one, and provide background research for each contractor before hiring or recommending them.


How many times have you heard a horror story from your neighbor about the project they did, and the contractor didn't show up, stopped returning their calls, ran off with the deposit and never completed the work?


We've recently heard of a simple bathroom remodel where the home owner wanted to replace the glass shower surround. The contractor provided them a quote, and when the homeowner went to initiate the work, the contractor tried to say the bid was only for removal not replacing the shower surround. They ended up hiring another contractor at a more expensive cost due to miscommunication and dishonesty.


We've personally seen contractors trying to slip in extra fees into proposals that they think no one will notice. Even something as small as $35.00 for materials, not necessarily required to meet codes, adds up.

Updating your home shouldn't be a headache. We've seen it all and we are on a mission to eliminate the stress that so many have experienced in their remodel and renovations.



 

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