Pride and Joy - Page 4

Boosting your enjoyment of life—and the value of your real estate too—through smart home improvement
Pride and Joy
This upgraded kitchen area honors the spirit of the original architect.

Hire the right professional

It's always a smart move to contact professionals for a design consultation before investing in any major renovations to help you figure out how to prioritize the investment and how to figure out how projects may overlap. MCM homes often have projects that must work in tandem, such as those near the roof and under the slab.

For instance, to completely upgrade all wiring in an Eichler home, the original designs and construction methods used require that a homeowner perform roof work and remove the wall coverings on at least one side of each wall. That means insulating all walls, installing new wall coverings, and applying stain or paint need to be considered. If the roof is old, a roof replacement with added roof insulation could also be included. If you're already working on the roof, it's a good time to think about electrical upgrades and additional lighting and skylights.

If budget is a concern, which it always is, a professional can identify ways to control costs and reduce the scope of work to a particular area (or areas) of the house. "Leaving large portions of the house completely untouched helps eliminate that slippery-slope problem that many people will have when renovating," Klopf says. "You know what I mean—the 'while we're at it' syndrome."

Finding a qualified professional remodeling contractor doesn't have to be a difficult task, but there are specific things to look for that will make the process easier, leaving you better prepared to make informed decisions that best suit your needs. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry makes the following recommendations:

Hire local

Hire a contractor with an established business in your area. Ask neighbors for recommendations, check the Contractors State License Board, Better Business Bureau, and online consumer reviews.

Be consistent with bids

As you solicit bids from multiple contractors, be sure they are bidding on the same scope and quality of work. Discuss variations in bids and beware of any bid that is much lower than the others.

Get a contract

A well-written agreement is essential and should detail what the contractor will and will not do, including:

• A detailed list of materials for the project, with information such as size, color, model, brand name, and product.
• Approximate start and completion dates.
• Study the design plans carefully. Insist that you approve them and that they are identified in your written contract before any work begins.
• Known as the 'Right of Recision,' Federal law requires a contractor to give you written notice of your right to, without penalty, cancel a contract within three business days of signing it, provided it was solicited at some place other than the contractor's place of business or appropriate trade premises.
• Make sure financial terms are understood and spelled out.
• A warranty covering materials and workmanship for a minimum of one year should be in writing.
• A binding arbitration clause is also a good inclusion in the event a disagreement occurs. Arbitration may enable you to resolve disputes without costly litigation.

 

Photography: Sabrina Huang, David Toerge, James Fanucchi, Ernie Braun

STORY RESOURCES

Starburst Construction
Cindy Carey
Starburstconstruction.com

Transcontinental Construction Concepts
Jeff Fracker
Transconconst.com

Klopf Architecture
John Klopf
Klopfarchitecture.com

Lucile Glessner Design
Lucile Glessner
Lucileglessnerdesign.com

Erdal Team
Kevin Swartz
Erdalteam.com

NARI
Nari.org