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How to Choose a Contractor for Successful Home Remodeling

I have been a contractor for over 25 years, always living by honesty, integrity, transparency, and full disclosure.

The key to the success of our home remodeling projects of any size is that we listen to our clients needs and work within their budget.  We design our projects accordingly and assist our clients in choosing the elements that go into their home up front to avoid cost overruns.

Unfortunately, when consumers interview and ultimately hire a contractor for their home improvements, it is not always a level playing field.

Here are some common tactics to watch out for:

Contractor has you sign a design retainer where in you are obligated to pay substantial up front costs.  Typically the agreement states that the contractor estimates construction cost between X and Y.  Not only are you paying for an estimate, there is no guarantee the contractor will ultimately build your project for the “estimated” price range.

Contractor and homeowner enter into a contract where in allowances are called out.  Later on you find out the allowances do not cover the caliber of fixtures and finishes desired.  Then the infamous change order comes.  You are caught with the choice substandard fixtures and finishes or approving an expensive change order.

Contractor chosen is substantially lower then other bidders.  When it is too late, you find out why when change orders are delivered on a regular basis.  Some contractors knowingly under cut their competition and try to make up the shortfall with change orders.

During construction, when you request a change, mark up is accelerated.  Sometimes the profit margin is 100% over cost.  Another words, you are charged $1,000 for something that costs $500.

My next post will have advice/steps on choosing a contractor wisely and how to enter into a contract so the end result will be a successful, cost effective home remodel.

Home Remodeling Nightmares Are Avoidable
Home Remodeling Definitions


Gregg Cantor, a third generation contractor and owner of Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel has successfully remodeled thousands of homes in San Diego County. Gregg's is experienced in all phases of construction and home remodeling including design development, project management, best building practices, code requirements, and contract law. He also writes articles for examiner.com and is co-host of The Home Pro Show Saturday's at 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on A.M.600 KOGO San Diego. Follow Gregg's posts.

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