By Gene Maida of Georgian Renovations Inc.
As a renovation contractor, I’m very good at helping people imagine a dream for their homes and then making it a reality. But renovating is complicated and the homeowner may be fraught with fears. I believe the primary source of stress for homeowners is often fear of the unknown. This isn’t a bad thing, but working with a renovator who can properly and clearly communicate the process and expectations will help ease these fears. When you break your renovation project into manageable steps it becomes less daunting and easier to understand, then less stressful.
Ask questions, then ask some more
When selecting your renovation team (contractor, designer, etc.), ask them questions about everything you’re concerned about. Think about the cost, scheduling, the process, payments, etc.- all these things are common concerns your contractor should be able to address.
A good renovator will also ask you important questions like, “Will you stay in the house during construction or live elsewhere? How are you paying for the renovation? When do you want it to be finished? Why are you renovating?” These questions help your renovator understand the reasons behind why you want to renovate and allow him/her to propose things you may not have considered initially. Through this process you should start to feel less stressed and understand the renovation process a lot more.
Understand your role as the homeowner
Once your initial concerns are resolved, it’s time for you to understand your role during construction. Renovating your home is not a hands-off process where you can leave for a six month vacation and come home to completed renovation. During the renovation process, you will have regular meetings with your designers and contractor, and you will be expected to make decisions in a timely manner. Please be aware that if you delay in providing an answer or direction there may be a construction delay, extending the length of the project, or you may incur additional costs.
Trust your contractor’s professionalism and experience
Remember, you chose a team of knowledgeable experts with plenty of experience in the type of renovation project you’re undertaking. Take the time to listen to their recommendations and ask questions if you don’t understand something. They are here to help you make the decisions.
Sometimes there may be disagreements, and this is okay. It’s important to remember everyone has your best interest at heart and is looking to finish the project successfully. Everyone should take time to try to understand where the designer, contractor, homeowner is coming from and ask questions. You are the client and the goal of your construction team is to complete a renovation that makes you happy.
It’s also fair to be mindful that the contractor is running a business and needs to pay his staff, trades, and make a profit. If there is a disagreement that can’t be resolved, consider bringing in a third-party person to help. This other person can act as a mediator and help both sides come to an amicable agreement.
Determine the wrap-up process
The last part of the project is often the busiest. All the skeletons in the closet find a way of sneaking out in the final weeks. It is important to have a clearly defined process on how to wrap up the project. This includes how and when you get to visit the finished project and identify any issues. Ideally, you visit the project regularly and the only issues at the end – if any – are minor and superficial like a scratch on the wall or floor.
Rely on the expertise of your renovation team. Professional renovators, like those who participate in the RenoMark program, will provide you with a proper contract and warranty.
Lastly, take the time to breathe and relax. I know that renovating your home takes a lot of time, attention, and energy, but it is also very rewarding. You will be excited to move back in and start to enjoy your home. Whenever you feel stressed just remember what you will have at the end of the project and smile.
Gene Maida is the president and founder of Georgian Renovations Inc. and Georgian Custom Homes. With over 50 years of experience he is an industry leader and author who revolutionized home renovation by creating a unique 10 step process that ensures a smooth renovation. Georgian became a member of BILD in 1963, of Renomark in 2013, and has been an accredited member of the BBB with a A+ rating since 2013.
Have a question? Get in touch!
If this column has generated any thoughts or questions regarding a past or future renovation, please send your questions email@example.com and look for our answers in the next Ask a RenoMark Renovator column.