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Renovating Successfully

Determine What You Want
Magazines and books are a great source for fresh and new ideas. Once the work has started any changes that you make may cost more that if you include them in the original agreement

Develop a Budget
Most people tend to leave this step to the contractor(s). It's a good idea to talk with your financial institution about a relative range for your home improvement project(s). This step can also help you get pre-qualified for your home improvement loan.

Select a Qualified Contractor or Remodeler
See How to Select a Contractor for details

Get Estimates
A good rule of thumb is to obtain at least three different bids. Make sure that you provide all the renovators with the same detailed information.

Ask for References
Good references are your best guarantee that your contractor can and will perform as expected. Don't hesitate to let the contractor know that you will check out the references provided.

Accept or Reject the Contractor's Contract Proposal
The contract the contractor gives you is not etched in stone. Take the time to review it line by line. If necessary seek the advise of an attorney. Don't accept the contract unless the whole document is agreeable to you. If portions are not acceptable, discuss alternatives with the contractor and ask for a revised version of the contract that you both can mutually agree on. Remember that if a contract is grossly lower or higher than others, it should be avoided unless the contractor can explain his deviations from your other contracts

Understand Your Obligations
Often it is assumed that the only obligation expected is timely payments. However, you make need to make alternative living arrangements as the work, or portions thereof, are in progress. Careful planning can greatly minimize inconvenience of living during the construction phase.

Maintain a Good Working Relationship With Your Contractor
Have the contractor update you on a regular basis or at specific interval during the performance of the contract. Be available to make decisions when they are needed so work is not held up.

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