Hi, I’m Brad with Remodelitkc.com, and today we are with Susan in her home. We are going to ask her some questions, because she has done a few remodels. Her opinion might be of great value to those of you with less experience.
So Susan, how many remodels have you done in your home, we know you have been here about 20 years.
“I believe 8”
Over that same time, have you used the same contractor each time?
“No, we haven’t. I think six or seven. Sometimes because they were specific type of contractor, but sometimes it was because I wasn’t pleased with the last one.”
So you find a different one. How do you go about picking a contractor?
“That is the problem, because you have more than one to choose from. Word of mouth, advertisements, but often it is by Hook and by Crook.”
So, there is no fool proof method?
“Not that we have found.”
So, even though you have done 8 remodels over 20 years, you are not a professional contractor picker?
“Not at all.”
Well, I would say you are above average, because 8 remodels over that period of time is quite a bit and you seem to go at it with a good attitude.
When there is a contractor working in your neighborhood, and you approach that contractor, have you ever done that?
“I sure have, we have done that twice.”
So, thinking back, what was your criteria for picking that contractor.
“The one I had talked to a neighbor who had had her kitchen remodeled, and we wanted a bath remodeled. They cleaned up, had a good work ethic, they showed up every day, and she liked their work.”
So, just showing up matters. In our economy, just showing up makes a difference. Later, we will do a video about the mathematics of picking a contractor, because it is really easy to determine which ones are going to show up, and which ones are not. In the interview they kind of tell you that, not verbatim, but they tell you with their information.
So, when you make that final payment to a contractor, when do you think you will see them, again?
“Well, there is always that optimistic hope that you will see them again, soon, if something goes wrong or comes up. Realistically, once I write that last check, I figure I won’t see them again. I would like at least a phone call, but maybe never see them personally.
We’ve talked about this, but you really feel that the relationship between you, your contractor, and the job has a lot to do with money.
“Money, yes, but actually there has to be a level of trust. I need to be able to believe him when he says what is going to happen, and what is going to be done, and I guess he needs to make sure I have got a good check.”
How important is planning to a remodeling project?
“Oh, I don’t know, I would think everybody would need some planning. You wouldn’t just start a project on a whim. I think you need to know your end result, and how much is it going to cost to get to that result. And then go from there, it is like anything else. You should set a goal, and determine the most efficient way of getting there.
And I think that is wise. So if you find that you and your spouse are sitting around talking about a bathroom remodel on Wednesday, and you plan to start it the same weekend, you might want to slow down a little.
Would it be beneficial to using a General contractor over and over again? You would know that this person is practiced at getting projects moving and completed, week in, week out, even though it might cost more in the short run?
“Yes, I would be willing to pay a little more, because in the long run you sometimes have to do these jobs over.”
And doing them over costs a lot more, doesn’t it?
“Right, it does, and it is just irritating.”
Our company, New Look Tile, has done a little work for you, what kind of recommendation would you give us?
“Oh, I highly recommend you. You do good work, you come back, and if there is an issue, you come back! It is the best part, I have already written the last check, and yet you come back to resolve an issue.
What kind of advice would you give to a young couple who has purchased an older home, and let me tell the viewers that you were raised on a farm and that usually farmers tend to do things from the ground, up, and so what sort of advice would you give these people?
“Well, the very first thing if I was going to buy a house, again, is to spend the extra money and get your own inspector. You have to have an inspection, anyway, but have more than one inspection before you purchase the home. Spring for the money to have an electrician and a plumber come through the home, have someone look at the roof, and make sure these things are not going to cost you thousands of dollars three months after you move in.”
“Then, after you have been in the home and you begin to look around at the things that you might want to change, I would start with the kitchen, but I am a caterer.
Pick your priority of what you want done first, and determine how much money you have to work with. You may not be able to get granite or high end backsplash you wanted. But get the best you can for the money you have.
In another video, we talk about planning and how you can only go as fast as you can afford, so that is great advice.
When you are young, you want all of the fine things, because…
“Because you do!”
Yes, because you do.