When you dream about remodeling your home, you picture the end result. How beautiful it will be to enjoy an added sunroom, a remodeled kitchen or bathroom, a finished basement, or a new outdoor living space. You envision that the investment will pay off and your home will be greater than it was before.

That dream can be achieved, but it requires a lot of hard work, patience, a realistic budget and hiring the right contractor. If not, your dream can become a nightmare. Just to be clear, even if you find the right contractor, the remodeling process can be a long journey, filled with hard decisions, multiple options, and trade offs. There will also be times of disappointment when, and if your expectations are not met.

A home remodeling project requires a lot of communication between you and your contractor, as there will be a lot of ups and downs during the remodeling process. Weather, the availability of materials, and the coordination of subcontractors may delay your project. That is why it is pivotal for your contractor to maintain adequate and continuous communication before, during and after the project has been completed. Failure to do so may leave you feeling sorry you started the project in the first place.

Remodeling your home can be stressful for your family. There will be strangers in your home, your furniture will be pushed to the side or removed, and your living spaces may be off limits due to storage of materials or construction. When considering contractors for your home remodeling project, ask them how your daily activities will be affected by the project, and what portion of the house they will need to store materials and tools.

When planning your home remodeling project, it requires you and your significant other to have a clear picture of the goals for the project, a clear budget, and a reality check to align your wants and needs with your budget. One of the most difficult aspects of a home remodel is the stress it places on relationships. Changes to the initial plan, the spending of additional money and the overwhelming sense of getting caught up in the moment, can lead to contention and anger between family members.

Finding the right contractor is pivotal for the success of your home remodeling project and potentially, your relationship. Working with a contractor that you are comfortable with, who communicates well, provides you with a comprehensive contract, a sensible payment schedule, who has great references, and who is fully licensed and insured are the key traits of a reputable, conscientious and professional home remodeling company that has their customers best interests in mind.

When interviewing a professional remodeler, ask about how the project is going to affect your life, and lifestyle. Ask how they handle delays due to weather, or what is the process when you are unhappy with the work that is being provided. In addition to the fundamental hiring process, like checking the businesses licenses, insurance, references, and past work, it is also important to understand how your project will be supported. Who is the contact person at the contractor office if things are not done according to the contract, or if something came in or was installed with damage.

When interview a potential contractor, take advantage of the time they are with you, and understand what the role of the person who is standing in front of you plays in the organization. Is he connected to the organization or just a salesperson. Will he be involved in the remodeling project, or available if any concerns arise during the project.

When narrowing down your search for a contractor, request a site visit to an active client’s jobsite. Make it known that you are checking on the company and that you want feedback from other homeowners – a true professional considers that as a positive sign when working with a homeowner.

When hiring a general contracting firm, they will facilitate your entire project. The scope of work may include subcontractors, including; plumbers, electricians, HVAC installers, tile installers, roofing and siding installers, to name a few. It is important that you are provided information about all the contractors that will be on your jobsite. Their references and workmanship should be just as good as the general contractor you have hired.

Subcontractors are essential in providing specialized services for your project. Licensed plumbers and electricians may be used if you are completely renovating a bathroom or kitchen, or if you are adding onto your home. A HVAC company may be needed if you are renovating ductwork or replacing your heating or air conditioning system.

From the very beginning it is important to share your budget concerns with your contractor. Professionals are respectful of a client’s budget and will create a plan around it, not over it. Remember, your budget needs to include; the proposed cost by the contractor and architect, all products and materials you are responsible to purchase independent of the contract, contingencies and the potential of unforeseen existing conditions.

Prior to selecting your contractor, you should consult with an architect to identify if your project will need to be filed and permitted by the NYC Department of Buildings. Construction work without permits can lead to violations and stop work orders that will hinder your project. A reputable, local contractor, who is familiar with building code, will be able to determine if your project must be filed as well.

After selecting a contractor that you are comfortable with, it is important to review your contract word by word. Contracts should provide specific details about your project, the materials that will be used, your responsibilities as a homeowner if you will be providing materials for the job, warranty information, and a payment schedule based on benchmarks of completed items. Your contract not only protects you, it also protects your remodeler.

Homeowners are not as familiar with the remodeling process as the contractor they hire. It is important to ask questions about terms, or unfamiliar processes if you are not clear what they mean. Pay attention to the details about change orders, payments, additional fees, timelines and responsibilities. If it’s not in the contract, it doesn’t exist.

Decisions surrounding the selection of products and materials for your home remodel is an important process, as some of your choices may create a delay in the project. With so many options to choose from, product selections are one of the primary reasons for project timelines to be extended. Included in your contract should be the selections you have made for materials and products, and the allowances your contractor has provided for the materials they are purchasing on your behalf.

nce you hire your contractor, create a ommunication an. A common downfall f a renovation is he ack of communication between homeowners and contractors. Timelines should be provided for payments to the contractor which directly relay to the progress made on the project. In addition, you should larify he oles f all subcontractors, suppliers, and workers. Make sure you are comfortable with the communication methods, and the availability and frequency of communication that is expected.

or any questions about your remodeling project, you can contact HIC of Staten Island by e-mail at [email protected].