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Property Pros: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

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This is a sponsored column by Jim Muldoon, a Northern Virginia native, Arlington resident and one of the real estate and remodeling experts at Legacy Home Improvement Consultants. Legacy HIC is your source for all real estate and home improvement needs. Please email with any questions or topics you would like covered.

Based upon the last poll results, contractor selection is the most challenging part when you are getting ready for a remodel. One of the most important and overlooked aspects of this is creating a good rapport with the companies bidding on your project.

I have experienced a lot of guarded first-time clients which makes turning their vision into a realty extremely difficult. When a new potential client schedules an estimate, I plan for a 5-10 minute introduction so we can get to know each other before heading straight to the project area. It is proven that teams who mesh well together with trust, harmony, and a clear understanding of their common goal have a much higher success rate. Having construction done where you are living is not easy so taking the time to establish that relationship goes a long way.

As a client, you want to know if your contractor can construct what you want, within your budget, in a timely manner, and provide a certain level of customer service. While you are vetting those things, your contractor is also trying to figure out the exact same thing. Instead of two sides holding their cards close to their chests worried that the other one is going to take advantage of them, it makes a lot more sense to be on the same side working together to accomplish a great remodel.

You should start the conversation by talking about the job at hand. This will give you insight on whether this type of project is what the company makes their living off of or if it is not in their normal wheelhouse. Discussing your past experiences and theirs will be the first indicator if it’s a good fit. Next, I would talk about the process the company has after the estimate phase and how they protect your home and quality of life during the remodel. This aspect is very important, so if the company down plays this part of the conversation that is a red flag.

Budget tends to be the most sensitive subject. A lot of people are uncomfortable talking about this so I suggest using a general range. There are a ton of options for most remodels and budget is the deciding factor. Let the companies compete to provide the best package in that range. This will create a better apples to apples comparison of the bids. If a company is going to max out your budget with inferior materials, be happy to part ways before the real work begins. If you already have a stamped drawing, a design, all your materials selected and priced, then don’t worry about discussing a budget because you already have eliminated the variables.

Letting your potential contractor know the timeline you are looking for and any major events that this remodel could impact will alleviate unwanted stress. Trying to fit in a remodel when your family is scheduled to come into town the day after it is supposed to be completed is a sketchy proposition at best. Let them know what’s going on and they will tell you if it realistic. Throughout the conversation you will have a much better feel for the company’s personality and what they will bring to the table.

I’ve spoken with a lot of other remodeling companies and when they hear that I grab coffee with past clients or go out to dinner with them to discuss future projects, they are dumbfounded by that type of relationship. We make it our business to eliminate grey areas so before we start a project we know what our clients want and they know how we plan to deliver. I have found the best way for that to happen is to communicate openly because we trust one another, our work environment is set up to be in harmony with their living space, and we both have a true understanding of our goals and how we are going to accomplish them together.

Email me at [email protected] if there are any topics you would like me to cover in future articles or you have any questions about a remodeling project you are about to undertake. Your real estate is one of your best assets. Let the Property Pros help you get more informed.

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