Research Before Selecting a Remodeling
by Jim Neidner
Jim Neidner is a national award-winning
builder/remodeler and radio home host.
Visit Jim's award-winning web site at www.iHomeline.com
Before you start
the remodeling process, be mentally prepared for some inconveniences. Delays can
occur due to weather, homeowner change-orders and out-of-stock building materials, all of
which can add up to homeowner frustrations and frazzled nerves. Expect your home and yard
to be in disarray at times. Lots of dust can be kicked up inside your home so make sure
you change your A/C filters routinely. Try to get some background information on your
contractor you are allowing inside your home. With the recent kidnapping in Utah it was
found that the remodeler had a criminal record. Most good remodelers belong to trade
associations like the BBB, Home Builders/Remodelers Association, etc. The good news is,
once the remodeling project is completed you will have the long-awaited home improvements
to enjoy with your family for many years to come. The following home-tips might help your
home improvements go smoothly.
If you know a friend who is satisfied
with their remodeling project and contractor, ask them for the contractor's name and
number. Also, ask if you can preview their home to make sure this is the quality you are
Check with your local home builders'
and remodeling association to see if the company you are considering is a member. Ask the
association what they stand for and what they expect from their members. If the company
you are considering is not a member of a local association, that does not mean their
company has a bad reputation or does bad work.
Call the local Better Business Bureau
to see if any outstanding complaints are on file. If so, ask the company about any
Make sure you feel comfortable and
communicate well with your home improvement representative/owner. You might be spending
many hours, weeks and/or months with this person.
Ask for at least 10 references. If you
don't call all of them, at least mix up the way you call them, and ask pointed questions.
Also ask for and call references that are over one-year out of warranty to validate that
the contractor follows through.
Ask the home improvement company for
warranties and guarantees and get them in writing.
Look closely at extremely low bids and
keep in mind you get what you pay for. Always get at least three bids and make sure all
plans and specifications are the same and up to date for each bidder. Try to be very clear
with your plans and specifications so there are no misunderstandings. Two reason for the
third bid are, first, to establish a price range. Second, to make sure you find the
contractor you can communicate with and one whom can deliver quality workmanship.
Have an attorney review your contract,
draw stages, and specifications. Additionally, have an attorney explain the mechanics
materialmans and builders lien laws so you understand how your property can be tied up.
Remodeling and Contractor laws are changing to better protect the public. Ask about
any new law changes in your state.
Examples of new law changes in Texas:
Texas New Law Changes 1999:
(1.) Lead Hazards Disclosure Rule: Contractors and Remodelers have to
deliver the new EPA pamphlet to homeowners and receive back a signed acknowledgment if
their home was built prior to 1979. This disclosure explains that Lead Base
Paint could be present in your home and can be hazardous to your health before a
remodeler starts disturbing as little as 1-square-foot of painted surface area.
(2.) Texas Statutory Disclosure Statement: This new law requires paperwork
that must be given to the homeowner before signing a contract explaining that liens could
be filed against your property, monitor contractor payments and the work-in-progress, ect.
This disclosure warns homeowners that some contractors could be unscrupulous and buyer
(3.)Texas Trust Fund Statute: This new law is like the Real Estate
Industry Law regarding CO-mingling funds. Contractors/Remodelers can not take your money
(deposits/draws) and use them on someone else's job. Contractors/Remodelers can not
deposit your funds in their normal operating business account. Remodeler must deposit your
funds in a separate trust checking account and can only pull your funds from that account
as their work progresses on your home. Contractor can draw against your funds once the
construction is under way towards his expenses, profit and overhead. If
contractor/remodeler doesn't abide by or decides to misuse this new law, they could go to
(4.) Statutory Lien Requirements on a Homestead: For a Lien to be valid the
contract should have the legal description and have both spouses signature notarized. Also
no labor or material can been furnished to the job site before the contract is signed.
Additionally, if you obtain a home improvement loan, work can not start before for 5 days
allowing the homeowner time to change his or her mind. Contractor and Remodeler are
supposed to give the homeowner a list on his or her subcontractors and supplies with their
address and phone numbers at signing of the contract. Lastly, you should receive before
the final payment "All Bills Paid Affidavit" from your contractor.
These new law changes are in my
"Readers Digest" short form, ask your attorney to explain in more detail so that
you better understand your homeowner rights.
Jim Neidner is a national
award-winning builder/remodeler and radio home host. He is also a Realtor/Broker and can
help you in Houston or Colorado. If you have a home question or concern, email Jim at email@example.com.