SA Building & Remodeling
Taking the Guesswork Out of Choosing a Remodeler
Rudy Niño (May 24)
For many homeowners, this time of year brings with it thoughts of home improvement -- perhaps a new deck, a bigger kitchen, or even a three room addition. But then perhaps you might hear some bad news -- "remodelers" who accepted large down payments and then skipped town, new roofs that don't hold up to the weather, and jobs begun but never completed. It's enough to make anybody wary.

The good news, though, is that by asking the right questions and looking in the right places, you can find a remodeler who will do a job that both raises your home's value and makes it more enjoyable for many years to come. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelors™ Council offers the following suggestions to ensure that your remodeling job is smooth sailing:

* Do not conduct business with any remodeler or contractor without first investigating his or her reputation and experience. Price alone is not an indication of the remodeler's competency or ability to complete your project.

* When searching for a contractor, it is best to seek referrals from family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who have had remodeling work done. Ask if they are satisfied with their project and with the contractor they hired. Also, check with local trade organizations, such as the Remodelors™ Council of the Greater San Antonio Builders Association. Membership in such organizations can be a sign that the remodeler is an established member of the local building community.

* Check with your local or state consumer protection agency or Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been filed against the remodeler that have not been resolved. However, do not automatically assume that if there is no record of complaints against a particular remodeler that there have not been any problems; it may be that such problems exist, but have not been reported.

* Ask for a copy of the remodeler's insurance certificates to verify that he/she carries insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries.

* When evaluating bids from contractors, make sure that they are based on identical project specifications.

* Although it is common practice to make a down payment when you sign a remodeling contract, you should be especially wary of any remodeler who asks for full payment before the job has begun. A payment schedule should be part of your written agreement with the remodeler and may, for example, be tied to completing various stages of the job.

* If you sign a contract in your home that is offered through door-to-door solicitation, always remember that the Federal Trade Commission's "Cooling Off" rule gives you the right to cancel the agreement within 72 hours, provided that you have not allowed the contractor to begin work on the project.

Call Rudy Niño for a quote at (210) 723-2616 or Request an Estimate online.
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