Julie Casey April 30, 2019

Few things are more exciting – and potentially more nerve-wracking – than remodeling your home! The thought of modern fixtures, new flooring, beautiful cabinetry and a breathtaking bathroom can leave you daydreaming for hours. But those thoughts can be balanced with visions of strangers in your home for weeks (or months!), cost overruns and workmanship that is below par.

How To Balance Budget and Quality – Finding Your Contractor

There are ways to ensure that you get the remodel of your dreams, even if you feel your taste might exceed your budget. And it starts with finding an experienced, reputable remodel contractor. An experienced contractor has undoubtedly worked with a variety of budgets on almost any remodel imaginable.

But how do you find them? Apply the you use finding a great daycare for your kids, or buying a used car. Put the time in to do research online. Search for “best remodel contractor,” “home remodel contractor reviews,” and “local home remodel companies.” If you are only doing a basement, kitchen, or bath, try narrowing your search to those terms, i.e., “best basement remodel contractor in Kansas City.”

Once you find a group of contractors, look at their portfolio of work. Someone can be the best, but if you don’t see s style that matches yours, be prepared to ask for examples or look elsewhere.

Finally, ask your friends and acquaintances if they recommend a remodel contractor. Try to ask several who have remodeled and see if a name or two continues to surface.

Creating Your Dream Remodel Without Breaking Your Piggy Bank – the Initial Interview

Once you have found your contractor (or narrowed it down to a couple), an initial phone call interview/consult is a good idea. Preparing for this call is an important part of the process. Think through exactly what you are looking for, what questions are important for you to ask, and what the contractor will need to know to provide you good information.

Here’s a short guide of questions to ask, and information to provide, to get you started:

  1. “How many home/basement/kitchen/bathroom remodels have you done in this style? Do you enjoy this style and do you feel your team has a good feel for this style?” (The answers will likely be “yes” to all, but listen for the experience and confidence).
  2. “Please provide as many examples as possible of our chosen style.”
  3. “Do you have a professional interior designer who can work with us?” Utilizing a professional designer can make a big difference for your dream remodel project.
  4. “Please provide references.”
  5. “Have you worked on a similar project with our budget?” (Have your budget in mind – providing a range is okay). Listen to how the contractor explains how they will work with your budget.
  6. “Please explain the process of working with you and your company.” You are looking for procedure and professionalism. Having structure during the remodel process will save a lot of headaches.
  7. “Please explain how you will communicate and update us?”
  8. Please explain options and ideas you would consider for this project based on our budget.” This gives you a chance to hear the contractor’s vision and creativity.
  9. If you are concerned about a more modest budget, “Are you confident you can create a quality finish with our budget?” It’s a fair question, especially if you have a modest budget. It is important to align expectations before starting the project.

With answers to these questions, you should have a good idea if this contractor is a good fit for you. Talking through the process of a remodel can be important for you and your family. Will your main bathroom or kitchen be off limits for days or weeks at a time? If so, this can require some serious planning on your part to maintain a quality of life. This is especially true with a larger family. Making sure you and the contractor are in sync on what parts of the house will be off limits, and when, can help make a smooth process.

It’s a Go! Agreeing on Your Contractor

Great job! You have agreed on your contractor. Now, be sure and get a signed agreement that has sufficient detail about what is to be done, the cost, and the expected timeline. Look for a clause about “out of scope” requests or “modifications” to the plan. What you consider a modification and what the contractor considers a modification may be two different things. With that finalized, you are good to go. And just like all relationships in life, happy people make for good partnerships. Do you part to be positive and respectful and the contractor should do the same.

With all these components in place, you are looking at an enjoyable, rewarding and on-budget project!

Bryan Casey Construction is an award-winning home remodeling and interior design company based in Kansas City, Missouri. Co-Founder Bryan Casey is a licensed builder and contractor and has built premium-quality kitchens, basements and bathrooms for over 20 years. Co-Founder Julie Casey received her degree in Residential Interior Design and has created beautiful custom design projects for over 20 years. To Contact Bryan Casey Construction, call 816-716-8258. To Contact Julie Casey JC Design, call 816-616-3758.