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Pick A Professional When Remodeling

Aug 15, 2008
So you've made the big decision to remodel your kitchen or bath and have crunched all the numbers you want to spend and know what new appliances, cabinets, counters, vanities, fixtures or flooring you want to replace. You know what colors work for you and goes with the rest of your condo or house. Now after deciding all that, you think the hard work on your part is done. Wrong. You need to put just as much, if not more, effort into finding a professional to do the actual remodeling or construction work. That is assuming you aren't handy enough to do it yourself.

You don't want to spend a significant amount of money on new finishes and materials only to have them installed wrong or possibly ruined. Skimping on who you get to actually do the work could jeopardize the entire project. A reliable professional will quote you a fair price and time estimate as well as be willing to provide references, both in the form of previous happy customers as well as finished projects that ideally you could visit and see for yourself.

Many owners of Chicago condos and single family homes are opting to renovate as opposed to buy a new property. It not only improves the living experience of the home owner, but makes the real estate more valuable should it ever be sold. There are also some new developments and rehab projects where you can buy an "as is" or unfinished unit for a reduced price and do the finishing yourself. You can shop around or check with some of the developers listed here http://www.bestchicagocondos.com/condo-developers/index.html for any available units waiting to be sold as is.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association projects that an estimated 6.9 million kitchens will be remodeled in 2008. That amount of jobs is certain to attract both qualified professionals as well as amateur carpenters looking to make a quick buck. Trying to save on your contractor fees so you can spend more on fixtures is never a good idea. And if you also need someone to guide you though the process of actual design, then it's even more important to find someone who has experience and is trustworthy. There are a few basic steps you can take and questions you can ask to be as assured as you can that the designer or contractor you hire is a professional and will do a good job for a fair price.

Word of mouth may be the best way to find a professional to help you with your remodeling project in your condo or home. There is probably no better advertising than a happy customer who tells friends or family and gives a glowing recommendation about work they've had done. So if you know anyone who has had a good experience with a remodeling job, ask their opinion and to see the finished room. Most people will be more than happy to show off their new kitchen or bath and you can get a really good first hand look at the designer or carpenter's work.

If you don't have any personal recommendations, then the next place to start looking is for locally advertised contractors or designers. Keeping it local is better because you won't have to drive a long distance to meet with them or see their showroom if they have one, and you'll be able to check out references much easier. Even your local hardware store, furniture store or lumber supplier may be able to provide you with the names of some professionals.

Once you've settled on two or three different professionals, take the time to meet with each and see what they have to offer. A design specialist should be able to come up with several different suggestions and not box you into one look for your kitchen or bath. He or she should also be willing to work with you and not force ideas, but provide suggestions on how to achieve the look you want for the price you are willing or able to pay. A design specialist should ask enough questions to get a feel for what you are trying to accomplish with your project and be able to show you samples of paint, fabrics, fixtures or furniture and know how to take measurements.

On the construction side, if any is involved, a good contractor will be able to also take measurements and give you a written estimate of the cost of materials and labor plus have written proof of licensing and insurance. A written agreement should also be in place that sets some sort of standard about pricing should the project run over the estimated time frame or something unexpected come up and more materials and supplies need to me purchased.

Finally, as simple as it may sound, finding a professional you can get along with is almost as important as finding one who is qualified. Needless to say, it is difficult to work with someone you don't like. Remodeling your kitchen or bath should be a fun and exciting experience, not a do it yourself nightmare or design disaster.
About the Author
Paula Cherrist writes articles about Chicago real estate, housing-related topics and home trends.
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