The time has come. You have decided to make some improvement to your home. Congratulations on making the decision to move forward. Now what specific project are you interested in? You may be thinking about replacing your drafty windows or having vinyl siding installed to add curb appeal. Heck, you may even want your kitchen remodeled and updated. That is great! But you have to be realistic in your expectations in what you are planning. Prepare a budget with an action plan. Are you looking to invest in a project for your long-term future at your home, or are you looking for a cost effective project because you plan on selling your house within the next five years? These are simple questions that should be asked and answered before you move further along. Now that you have answered these questions and have a game plan of what you would like to have done in place, it’s time to find the right company.
Let’s face facts; there are so many home improvement companies or contractors out there that it can be difficult to find the right one for you. You have to find a company that you feel comfortable with and can build a solid working relationship with. You want a company that understands your wants and needs, and makes those a top priority. You deserve a company that is not only reliable, but is respected with a solid reputation. Before making any phone calls to arrange an appointment, do some investigating of your own to find companies that fall into all of these categories. Ask family members and neighbors. Go to the internet, research companies from your area and look at customer reviews. Be sure to go to Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Google reviews and Houzz. These are great resources from past customers, who can detail their personal experience with a company. When researching look to see if the business has a storefront and a showroom? Some people may not think that is of importance for a company to have this, but to me it is and it should be to you. If you have an issue and need to speak with someone, it is easier to get a response from a company who is visible and accessible, than a company who operates out of their home and uses a P.O. Box as their mailing address. These are all issues to think about. When you have done your research and visited the company’s websites, you can now comfortably make a decision on whom to call.
The day has come. It’s time to start getting your estimates! First thing first, make sure you are receiving a free consultation on your home improvement project. Now when it comes to dealing with sales representatives, do not, and I mean DO NOT fall for over-the-top sales techniques. These include sales representatives who get on their hands and knees to create an elaborate show, almost a spectacle, or create urgencies by inventing a false narrative. As I said earlier, this is when you ask yourself, “Does this company really have an understanding of my wants and needs?” The answer is most likely “No”. They only see dollar signs. You deserve a company that is above that. Remember you invited this company into your home with a phone call and they should respect the opportunity and time that has been given to them. There are companies that demand that a sales representative stay at your home for a minimum of two hours. Is that really necessary? In some cases yes, but in most cases no. Remember, you’re time is valuable. If the company has the ability to give you an estimate, on spot, with a down to the penny price, check it out! Read over the project description with the representative. Is it vague or is it in-depth? If the description and the products peak your interest and you like what that sales representative has proposed to you, do not be afraid to ask for a demonstration of the product. If you’re interested in a roof, see if they have such programs as a shingle visualizer to help you envision what your home will look like with that new roof.
Many consumer organizations’ state that a homeowner should receive a minimum of three estimates for the project that they are interested in and I can see their reasoning and logic for doing so. But at the same time, if you have arranged an estimate with an established company, who has longevity in the industry and you feel comfortable with them, why wait? There is a reason that that a company has a solid reputation, while also being in business as long as they have. They take care of, not advantage of, their clientele. If a company, in any line of business, were to take advantage of customers, their reputation would have been shot years ago and they would not be around today.
Now that we have discussed the initial process of planning your home improvements, I hope that some of this information will help you when it comes to decision time. Home improvements are not cheap by any means, and outside of purchasing your home or a vehicle, often times this is one of the largest investments a person will make. That’s why it is so important to follow these tips and make sure that you are receiving what you deserve. Until next time, keep improving!