How do I choose a remodeler?

Remodeling your home increases its value and improves your quality of life.
Remodeling your home increases its value and improves your quality of life, so it's especially important to choose the right remodeling contractor to perform this important project.

Find profiles of local remodelers on Kudzu.com, then follow these simple guidelines to make the search for the right remodeler a little easier.

  • Know exactly what you want from your remodeling job

    The more detailed you can be about the size and details of the project, the better. Knowing this information will help you decide what kind(s) of contractors to contact for an estimate, and allow those contractors to give you the most accurate estimate possible.

  • Know when you want your remodeling project completed

    Do you want the new guest rooms in your mansion finished in time for the holidays? Do you need your living room remodeled before the new year? Know whether or not this deadline is hard or soft. Is this when you want it completed or when it must be done?

    When contacting potential contractors, briefly describe the project you have in mind and ask if it's their specialty. Your objective is to find out whether a contractor has experience with the kind of work you need done. If you want to change your roofline to accommodate a new solarium, for example, a contractor with little to no experience in roofing won't be able to help you.

  • Get estimates from at least three remodelers

    The cost of remodeling fluctuates greatly. Make sure each contractor provides an estimated completion date, a step that can save you thousands of dollars and weeks — if not months — of construction disruption.

    Find out how long potential contractors have been remodeling homes. Also, ask whether they use subcontractors (such as drywall installers, bricklayers, or electricians).

    If so, find out how much experience these specialists have. For example, if you want a floor plan changed and don't have an independent architect, could the contractor or someone in the contractor's company design a new floor plan?

  • Check your remodeler's availability

    If a remodeling contractor can't even start on your home for two months, you'll need to decide whether that will fit with your desired completion date.

  • Check the remodeler's references

    Make sure you get references from each remodeling contractor and that you follow up with each reference. A few minutes on the phone could save you months of aggravation.

  • Confirm insurance and licensing

    For remodeling jobs, a contractor should have three types of insurance: worker's compensation, general liability, and property damage.

    If you're having electrical or plumbing work done (and, in now-rare cases, asbestos removal), confirm that your contractor has the appropriate license.

    In most states the professional licensing divisionperforms license verifications online. In order to use the service, get the contractor's full name and license number.

  • Understand your contract

    Review sample contracts of your potential contractors. Confirm that the contract includes a detailed description of work to be done, its cost, payment schedule, start date, and estimated completion date.

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