Frontwave Blog

Tips for Planning a Home Remodel

Thinking about renovating your home? Make sure you're prepared by choosing a well-liked and trusted contractor. Choosing the right contractor is one of the most important decisions that homeowners make on a remodeling project. It can impact everything from your day-to-day interactions with workers, to the cost of your remodel, to the final results.

Here are five questions you should ask yourself, your contractor, and references if you decide to renovate your home:

  1. Are we talking about the same thing? Make sure that you and your contractor are clear about cost estimates. Oftentimes, a contractor's concept of a "worst-case-scenario" cost can be different than yours. Always tell your contractor what your assumptions are.
  2. Did you experience cost overruns? Talking to references is the best way to learn whether a contractor routinely underestimates projects, either out of optimism or as a ploy to get the job. Ask them, "I’m concerned that the price of my remodel will change a lot during the job. Was your final cost much higher than the quote?"
  3. Did subcontractors view the job and provide estimates? A good contractor will get firm proposals from all the trade contractors. To do this, the trade contractors should visit the site with the general contractor before they provide their proposals and before the job starts.
  4. Can you put that in writing? When the contractor creates a written contract with firm quotes from subcontractors, the final cost should only vary about 3% to 5%. The contract should specify that if things go wrong, the contractor will absorb any additional cost.
  5. What's happening? Asking questions throughout the project is part of the homeowner's job. By talking to the plumber, you may learn that it's possible to turn a large linen closet into a laundry area at minimal cost, compared with the total price of getting the laundry out of the basement. Asking questions can also clarify other choices, especially when problems occur.

There will be problems and surprises, so it's good to know ahead of time how your contractor will react to them. Can he or she deliver solution quickly and help you decide the best way to proceed? Your answer should be a firm “yes” before proceeding.

Also be sure to check the contractor’s license before agreeing to work with them. In California, you can check a contractor’s license on the Contractors State Licensing Board website.

Explore financing options.

Just as important as choosing the right contractor is choosing the right financing option for your home remodel. Here are Frontwave, we offer Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) as well as Home Equity Loans. A HELOC can be useful if you expect to have expenses that span over an extended period of time, while a Home Equity Loan can give you a fixed monthly payment for a one-time large project.

Click here to learn about more about our home equity options. Or apply online today to get your remodel project going!