Last week we discussed some ways that you could better prepare for an exterior renovation, such as understanding your neighborhood and budgeting; this week, we will continue with a couple of more tips.
Make Sure You Are Doing Things in Code
About 9 or 10 years ago, one of my neighbors tore apart his garage and was remodeling it to become another wing to his house. His parents had moved in with his family and he was looking to make his house more spacious by adding another bedroom and bathroom. Many days into his project, a code compliance officer showed up to let him know that his project was not up to code and that he did not have any of the permits that the city required for the type of remodel he was doing. Not only did my neighbor have to scramble to get these permits to prevent receiving a large fine, but he had to completely redo the wiring for all of the electrical outlets he was installing. Perhaps the worst part of his predicament was that he could have easily prevented it by talking to a home inspector about how to stay in code and by doing some basic research about what work the city requires a permit for. Always know what you are getting into with home exterior renovation, especially when it comes to code and permit issues. Nothing is worse than having to redo some of your hard work and face a fine from code compliance. Obviously the easiest way to avoid these problems is by hiring a professional that is well-versed in municipal building regulations.
Grill Your Contractor
If you are using a professional for you remodel, which I would almost always recommend doing, be sure you are using someone that is qualified. While it can be tempting to hire someone off of Craigslist for $50, for bigger jobs I would definitely recommend a contractor that has real credentials. Be sure you ask about their history, if they can provide you with referrals, and if they are licensed to do the work you are asking them to do (if applicable). Understand that not every contractor is out to take all of your money in exchange for a poor job done, but there are companies out there that prey on ill-informed clients. Typically the best way to find a good contractor for your remodel is by asking your friends who they used and how happy they were with the job. There are also resources, such as the BBB and Angie’s List that can assist you in finding out more about potential contractors. Don’t be afraid to ask the contractor as many questions as you feel you need the answer to, as exterior remodeling can be a pricey affair and it would be shameful if you had a job completed in a way you were not happy with because you didn’t want to “bug” the contractor. You are their boss when they are working for you, so don’t be afraid to ask them as many questions about the job they are doing or their work history as you feel necessary.