It’s Remodeling Season. Vet Your Candidates Carefully

It’s Remodeling Season. Vet Your Candidates Carefully!

You’ve been dreaming of that new kitchen makeover, bathroom renovation, or addition for years, and now you’re ready to make it a reality. Selecting the right home remodeling company can be the difference between realizing your dream and ending up in a living nightmare. At first glance, all the candidates may look very similar and tell you what you want to hear. But what happens when you start asking the tough questions. The strong contenders won’t shy away, sweat under the spotlight, or try to redirect your attention to one of their talking points. They’ll welcome the scrutiny and answer your questions directly and thoroughly. Once properly vetted, only the strong will remain, the ones worthy of your vote and your hard earned investment dollars. Here are some key issues to raise as you evaluate the nominees.

What Kind of Track Record Do They Have?

How long have they been in business? What kind of references can they provide? Is it an extensive list where you can call and speak to whoever you want? Or do they just present a list of rather anonymous testimonials? “Steve in McLean, Mary in Alexandria… etc”. When you ask for references does it take days or weeks for them to get back to you? These are signs that they may have a hard time pleasing customers consistently or have something to hide.

Does their Rhetoric Pass Your Fact Check?

Don’t just take their word for it. Do your own investigating and independently verify their claims to be true. Reliable 3rd party sources, such as www.guildquality.com, the nation’s leader in customer satisfaction surveying for the building industry, provide hard data on how companies measure up, as well as reviews from previous clients. www.consumercheckbook.com is another vetting source. They provide not-for-profit ratings of local service companies. Angie’s List, Yelp and Google are also useful tools. Check them all. Some companies may have a few glowing reviews on one sight and a few scathing digs on another. Opinions vary, but listen for common themes. The reliable metric is a combination of quantity and quality.

Do They Have a Plan?

A renovation is a complex project that requires detailed preplanning and skillful execution. The more through and detailed the plan, the smoother the execution will go. That being said, unforeseen circumstances will occasionally arise. For the unprepared, a minor setback, such as a part damaged in shipping or a weather emergency, could create a bottleneck that delays the overall project. A reliable firm will have a comprehensive plan with built-in contingencies to stay on track.

Do they Have their House in Order?

Do the companies you are considering have a “bricks and mortar” office or showroom you can visit, or do they operate out of a truck with a website and 800-number. Be sure to get a copy of their business license and current certificate of insurance. What does their contract look like. Is it a professional document that is detailed yet easy for a layperson to understand, or is it a cryptic legalese that only a lawyer can decipher. Or worse, is it simplistic and vague. The home improvement industry has suffered many a black eye from shady contractors who disappear after a deposit has been given, or even worse, mid-project. If they do finish your project on time and on budget, what does their warranty cover. Remember, a warranty is only as good as the company providing it. If they go out of business, any warranty they’ve provided goes with them. Make sure the company’s foundation is as stable and secure as the one you’d have them pour for you.

Would You Trust Them to Hold Your Baby?

When you renovate your home, you are essentially inviting a stranger, or group of strangers into your house to tear it apart and put it back together again. Who are these people? How do you know you can trust them? A smart home owner will make sure everyone involved is properly trained, licensed, insured, drug tested and background checked. Taking these extra steps will result not only in peace of mind for the safety of your home and family, but also for the quality of the work being performed. If a problem should arise, those who go through the proper channels have recourse not available to those who gambled on a lower price, faster finish time, or some other carrot dangled to entice an easy victory.

When it comes to improving your home, vetting the candidates is a critical step. After all, once your vote has been cast, you’ll be living with the results for years to come. Choose carefully!

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

written by: Dory Clemens, Design Consultant – Foster Remodeling Solutions, Inc.


 

 

Making An Entrance With Home Additions

Building an addition onto the front of your house can balance out other changes in a multi-faceted Northern Virginia home remodeling project. When changing the number of stories or extending the higher floors already in place, adding another dimension to the front is one way to increase square footage and have more space to call your own. An overhang or structure above the front door provides visual sophistication and protection from the weather. Add outdoor lighting along the walkway and the entrance to make your guests feel safe with a warm welcome.

Porches and Porticos
One way to make your house grander is to add an entrance to your front door. Rather than a simple doorstep and a flat front, creating another dimension to your home with a distinctive front walk that ends in a porch or portico – or both — makes a statement. Add furniture to the porch for a cool respite from the hot Northern Virginia sun and perhaps an outdoor ceiling fan for those muggy summer days when you don’t want to be cooped up inside. A wide entryway should blend in well with the front of a two-story or three-story Colonial-style home. A covered front walk over a split-level or split-foyer house is another option.

Welcome Area
Consider features like columns or a veranda along the entryway that turn a flat front door into a grand entrance that lets your guests know that they have arrived. It can give texture and character to the house where matching and coordinating colors and trim are used. The angles of the new roof can mimic the rest of the home’s roof pitch to make it fit in while standing out.

Making Connections
For a ranch-style home where you’re putting a home addition on the back, a wrap-around porch that connects the new addition and opens up near the front door is another way to add depth and grandeur to your home.

Changing your entrance and building a home additions Arlington VA should take into account the shape of your property and the current structure of your house. To learn more about the possibilities for making your home larger and more welcoming to your visitors and guests, contact our office at 703-550-1371.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

Whole Home Remodeling Meets the Changing Family Dynamic

For many Alexandria homeowners, making changes in the house is necessary to meet the needs of the changing family dynamic. For those whose older parents are joining the household, a home remodeling project means more than just converting a nursery into a comfortable bedroom. Instead, the trend is to make several changes to the existing structure and create an in-law addition as well. This allows the family to use the existing space more efficiently while building a safe, close and comfortable place for parents. At the same time, families with young children need room for them to grow. Oftentimes, they will buy a home with the intention of building out the attic or the basement into individual bedrooms when the kids are older. All of these needs of the changing family dynamic can be met through a carefully planned design build remodeling project for the Alexandria home.

Remodeling Versus Moving
There are a number of reasons why homeowners prefer to remodel instead of buying a larger home. One important point is availability. According to Trulia.com, the number of listings on the Alexandria residential housing market has steadily decreased over the past year. The options are simply not there. Rather than relocating and trying to find a larger home that meets the family’s needs, it is more practical to stay in the same neighborhood and make some changes. This is a critical reason for families who love where they live, but just feel a bit cramped with the addition of new members into the household or demand for more space as the children get older. For those new to the area, it may make more sense to buy an Alexandria home that comes close to their preferences and make necessary changes to it before moving in, rather than holding out for something that may never materialize. Changes to flooring, ceilings, lighting, wall structure and appliances can be made to suit the household, customized to the family’s needs and wants.

Home Additions
Adding an in-law suite offers parents of adult children privacy and comfort without compromising their need for independence. They can design a bedroom, living room, kitchen, bath and storage space to meet their individual needs. Mobility features can be designed into the plans for comfort and safety. For Alexandria properties that have space on either side of the present structure, home additions on the opposite side of the house from in-law suites can accommodate garages, additional bedrooms, home offices and entertaining areas. When building on to the rear, second and third stories over the existing structure can offer much-needed bedroom, bathroom and living space. Decks and hardscapes are also options.

When combining all of these projects into one, the structure and style of the home is protected. The grandchildren can have improved space, like their own bedrooms, without feeling neglected or compromised. The seniors can have their independence and privacy without overly concerning their adult children. The parents can have peace of mind.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!