Winter is the perfect time to start planning your home remodeling project |

Winter is the perfect time to start planning your home remodeling project

(ARA) – The long, hot summer has come to an end. The kids are back in school, your garden has been tilled over, and that vacation you enjoyed so much back in June is fading into your distant memory. Before you know it, the flakes will be flying and temperatures will plummet.

Now that winter is on our doorstep, what better time than the present to put your heart and soul into planning a major remodeling project! It’ll give you something to look forward to in the dreary months ahead.

A good place to start is by gathering ideas. Remodeling magazines are one place to turn. They are typically filled with articles outlining the latest and greatest ideas. Other good sources of information include home shows, which are plentiful in the wintertime, and tours of model homes.

Once you’re sold on the idea of remodeling the kitchen, bathroom, or some other room in your house, the next step is to hire a contractor who will take all the ideas you’ve gathered, and run with them.

“Deciding who to hire to do the different aspects of your job requires careful consideration, and a good place to start is by checking out the person’s references and reputation,” says Dennis Day, a spokesman for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), the largest and oldest construction trade association in the United States.

He says you’ll want to do the following:

* Verify the contractor’s licensing and insurance.

* Make sure the contractor has at least five years experience and is an expert doing the type of work you need.

* Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if information on your candidate is available.

* Ask how many jobs like yours the contractor has completed.

* Ask for examples of work the contractor has done on other projects.

* Ask the contractor for references from ten current and/or past clients who have had work similar to yours done. Most business comes to a good contractor from referrals, so investigate these references. Randomly call at least three.

“You should ask the people you call if they were satisfied with the job done, if there were any delays in the work schedule, if workers showed up regularly and on time, and if the work area was well-maintained. It would also be good to know if the contractor held firm to time and cost estimates, how questions and complaints were handled, and if the person you’re talking to would use the contractors again,” says Day.

The contract you sign with the contractor should include clear information on all aspects of the job including the scope of the work, specific materials to be used, start and projected finish dates, and the progress payment schedule. Be sure all parties understand the terms of the agreement or contract. The contract can be used for your protection if the project is delayed, incomplete, or damaged.

For more tips on choosing the right contractor or construction contracts, log on to AGC’s Web site at

Courtesy of ARA Content

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