The 3 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Choosing General Contractors
If you think about it, the people on your home remodeling team are a pretty big part of your life. Here’s how to not mess up.
Choosing a spouse. Choosing a career. Choosing a designer-slash-home contractor for your kitchen and bath remodel.
Okay, so they’re not the same. But are there not just a smattering of similarities? The decision involves money and time; they’ll be at your house a lot; you’ll live with the results every day. What’s more, it’s a relationship that will only succeed, and yield great results, when there’s free and easy communication between the two parties. Preferences need to be shared candidly, and both sides need to feel free to ask questions.
A homeowner’s first home design challenge is to wade through vast amounts of remodeling companies, and that can feel daunting. So let’s talk about some of the biggest, most common mistakes homeowners make in hiring for their kitchen and bath remodeling projects, and discuss what you can do instead.
1. Don’t: Assume you need an architect
If you’re making enormous changes to your kitchen or bathroom layout, or if you’re shifting the structural components of your home, then yes, you can start scouting architects, however be prepared to pay a substantial sum of money for their services. A better alternative is to work with an all-inclusive design-build firm that will incorporate architectural plans into their proposal. Many kitchen and bath renovation plans--even the dramatic ones you may be picturing--don’t require a design focused architect’s services. If you’re not reorienting the bones of your home, it’s likely you don’t need (and therefore don’t need to pay for) a design focused architect (let your design-build firm handle that headache for you).
Do: Work with contractors who are also accredited as kitchen and bath designers. For example, the contractor-designers of Gallery Kitchen & Bath, who’ve honed their focus and their talents in years of renovating New York homes.
2. Don’t: Go with your cousin’s barber’s uncle’s uncle’s uncle’s uncle
Unless he’s really good! Maybe he’s really good. But either way, do: your research.
One resource to start is with Houzz, which has awarded the “Best Of” award to Gallery Kitchen & Bath for three consecutive years. Houzz invites users to browse scads of designers, house remodeling companies, and home repair contractors.
A terrific place to start your research, however, is in the homes of your friends and family. Does someone you know eat in a dream kitchen every day, or brush their teeth amidst the coolest bathroom cabinets you’ve ever seen? Ask around.
3. Don’t: Pick someone who talks more than they listen
An initial consultation is a little like a date. Yes, if you can, it’s nice to jump into discussing your vision and hammering out some first steps. But it’s also important to see what kind of people you might be working with. Remember: life-changing kitchen and bathroom renovations aside, these experts are also folks you’ll be spending a bit of time with at your home.
Even if you can’t explain, in that first meeting, whether you want the herringbone soffit or the houndstooth backsplash (or what those even are), it’s vital that you feel like you can eventually talk with your the creators of your designer kitchen and bath. Ideally, a designer is not only non-judgemental, but also eager to help you home in on, and articulate, your own thoughts. They should be able to hear what design elements you’re looking for, even if you’re not used to speaking in art and design terms, and you should feel free expressing your true opinion of different patterns, materials, and ideas.
If you’d like to see what the Gallery Kitchen & Bath designer-contractors can do you for you, schedule a consultation today.