Everything You Need to Know About Home Renovation Help In Chicago

UPDATED 1/11/21

Home renovation and design can be complex. Even ‘home renovation where to start’ searches can be more complicated than they initially seem since residential restoration and house remodeling are technically both different. Renovating a home is also different from restoring or remodeling it.

When people remodel buildings, they alter the structure of those buildings. A remodeled building has been fundamentally changed. People may remodel buildings that don’t actually need to be repaired. They’re just interested in changing those buildings.

If the building does need repairs, people will have to get it renovated. They may decide to make the building look like it did when it was first constructed. If that’s the case, then they’re getting the building restored. People will both renovate and restore buildings.

House makeover companies may have experience with all three of these different processes. These professionals may focus on home remodeling. However, home restoration is certainly popular as well. Some people want to make an older house modern.

Of course, a house that’s being restored might not be especially old. Individuals who purchase older houses are sometimes specifically interested in homes from earlier eras. Companies should be able to help their clients effectively set home remodeling or home restoration goals.

The individuals who are interested in all new home improvement will often choose to work with building renovation companies. Getting full home renovation work can be time-consuming. People may need to contact electrical contractors at some point, since the house’s wiring might need to be changed. When homes are remodeled this extensively, many of the fundamental structural details will also become relevant.

There are many ways of financing house renovations. Some people specifically save a lot of money before they get their homes remodeled. People may have to save money for years to finance some home renovations, especially if they’re renovating the whole house. Individuals who decide to finance this sort of work themselves may also need to set aside some money for hotel rooms, since they may not be able to stay at the remodeled house the entire time.

Some people may need to spend quite a lot of time away from the house, especially if it is being remodeled very extensively. There are different options available for people in that situation. Some people will temporarily stay with their family members or friends. Even a temporary move can cost money, and people will have to move many of their possessions out of a remodeled house.

Some of the best home contractors can help people with several different household remodeling projects. There are also flooring contractors that can install new floorboards or change the existing flooring in a room. Many of the best local contractors are at least somewhat specialized.

When people read about contractor professionals, they’ll see that contractors may have more than one specialty. However, they’ll still often focus on a particular type of home repair and renovation work.

There are professionals in construction andamp; contractors who have remodeled entire houses. Others may specifically work on floor sanding projects. People who need very specific types of household repairs should consider working with the professionals who primarily have experience on similar repair types.

However, there are household renovation projects that are relatively complicated themselves. Other people are trying to make several changes to their homes all at once. There are contractors who have numerous specialties, and who have the unique sets of skills that will be required here.

Anyone who is setting out to find contractors in this field may need to spend a lot of time researching related local businesses. However, as long as they’re able to communicate with professionals effectively, they’ll be more likely to plan successfully.

Spending on home renovations took off in 2019, with 51% homeowners tackling at least one home improvement project in 2019. Thanks to quarantine and people across the U.S. spending more time at home than ever before, the sheer number of home renovations is only likely to increase. What’s more, spending on remodeling spiked in Chicago and other large cities in particular. “Remodeling activity increased in May in five of the top 10 metropolitan statistical areas — Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C,” Housing Wire writes.

If you live in Chicago and plan to take part in this home renovation boom, do it wisely. Follow this comprehensive home renovation help guide to select a home remodeling contractor that best suits your needs.

best home contractors

Ask Around

First, narrow down what projects are a priority to you. Roof maintenance and roof replacement, for example, are among the top projects. Repairs can significantly improve the life and integrity of your roof and — at times — roof replacement can be a wise financial move. For example, replacing traditional shingles with metal roofing is a popular choice as metal roofs are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and can be made partially or entirely from recycled materials. Whether you undertake major roof repairs or install a new roof altogether, the question remains: Who will do it for you?

When hiring a contractor, one of the first steps to take is to get recommendations from trusted family and friends. “Ask your homeowner friends for recommendations, especially those who have recently had renovations,” Consumer Affairs suggests.

Read The Reviews And Research Credentials

Another way to pick out the best possible roof repair service is to read customer reviews. Many companies today have a strong online presence. In fact, marketers invest as much as 51% of their budget into online advertising strategies, such as mobile advertisements. That means the most reputable companies will not only have a website, but also reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other social media.

As long as roofing contractors have a fair number of reviews, chances are you can trust them. According to Inc.com, 91% of consumers read reviews, and 84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends. Do your due diligence. Read through reviews carefully. Look for a consensus and look out for reviews that use details to back up what they’re saying.

Substantiate reviews or initial customer impressions using credentials. If you are able to narrow down your search to a few highly-rated contractors, narrow it down even further by looking into those contractors’ credentials. Companies offering quality home renovation help will likely have the right credentials. What are some credentials to keep an eye out for? Search for “designations from any professional associations such as the National Kitchen andamp; Bath Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the National Association of Homebuilders,” HGTV recommends. Ensure contractors have all required licenses, and keep an eye out for professionals who underwent training and testing to earn certifications.

Look At Contractors’ Portfolios

Home renovation help is not the same across the board. For example, roof repairs are straightforward. As previously mentioned, look for a top-rated company with certifications and the appropriate licenses. When it comes to hiring a residential or commercial roofing company to install a new roof or replace an old one, on the other hand, it is wise to peruse the contractor’s portfolio before hiring them.

A contractor’s portfolio is indicative of their abilities and ought to display the best of the best when it comes to their past work. If possible, search for photographs of roofs before and after replacing them. Some contractors may include sketches, initial designs, and/or the blueprints they used to help guide them through projects. If so, this can give you an inside look at their process and whether that process seems productive to you. It is also possible to use portfolios as a starting point. If you are particularly fond of a particular roof, project, or renovation, ask if you may contact the customer and use them as a reference. If all goes well, you can talk to the customer directly and get a firm grasp of what it was like to execute the renovation or remodel that you like so much. Some questions you may want to ask references are, did the contractor stay true to the proposed schedule? and how is the renovation or project holding up?

Vet Communications

When it comes to home renovation help, one of the biggest takeaways is that contractors — whether residential roofers or kitchen remodeling contractors — should prioritize open communication with their customers.

First and foremost, it should not be a challenge to get in touch with local contractors. Their company name, phone number, email, and any other contact information should be prominently displayed on their website. If you call or email them, they should get back to you relatively quickly — within a few business days at most.

If you get them on the phone, consider asking them few initial questions to get a better idea if they are the right fit for you. This Old House recommends asking how many projects they tackle at once, if they work with subcontractors (and, if so, who), and whether they are willing to disclose some of their past clients and/or provide examples of their prior work.

Many companies will offer estimates or quotations for remodeling projects or repairs, such as flat roof repairs. Favor companies that are open to providing estimates and being as transparent as possible about pricing. Remember, home renovation help should not be a nebulous or particularly confusing undertaking. Show preference for companies that prioritize fast and effective communication.

View Promising Prospects Through A Critical Business Lens

If you are planning to seek out home renovation help, remember to treat contractors the same as you would treat any other business or company. For example, not only should you look for a strong online presence and prominently displayed contact information, you should expect it.

Assess contractors like you would any other business. Ask yourself: Do they have a permanent address? How many years have they been in business? Does the remodeler maintain a solid relationship with experienced contractors such as plumbers and electricians and work with them as a team?

Another thing to look for is adequate insurance. Contractors, such as roofing services, should have insurance to protect themselves and you should accidents happen. With liability insurance, they will have recourse if they fall off your roof, for example, and you will not be stuck paying for exorbitant medical bills. A reputable company will have this coverage and be open about it with you.

Consider how much demonstrable experience they have. Ideally, portfolios should display up to 10 major repairs or remodeling projects. If a contractor’s portfolio shows just one or two, it is more than reasonable to ask for an explanation and/or more examples of their work.

Finally, it’s not required that contractors are a member of any trade organizations, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Contractors that can proudly advertise these memberships often have to complete work of a certain caliber to earn and maintain them.

Compare Prices

There is a consensus when seeking home renovation help: nearly all professional contractors will offer a free estimate, quotation, or consultation. Take advantage of them!

Let’s start with estimates and quotations. In many cases, these are entirely free. For the most accurate idea of what you’re in for, be prepared before getting on the phone or emailing a contractor for an estimate. For example, break a kitchen remodel down into its parts. Get an estimate for appliances, lighting, and flooring. From there, ask the price of materials and labor. Itemizing estimates will help you compare prices more accurately rather than relying on a single, broad estimate that may or may not include costs like installation and manual labor.

An important lesson to learn from home renovation help is that an estimate and a consultation are not the same things. To start, a consultation may or may not be free. Often, it depends on how involved the consultation will be. For instance, a consultation over-the-phone or a quick tour of your home with some cursory suggestions typically will be free of charge.

If you opt for a design agreement, remember that this does not guarantee or lock in your renovations. It will include detailed designs and plans for execution. The contract for renovations and repairs will come after, and you will not be reimbursed for the work the contractor put into the design phase for you.

During a thorough walkthrough consultation — which may or may not come at a price — expect contractors to begin taking measurements and assessing the structure and foundation of your home. Lastly, during the final stages of consultation, the contractor may send over product samples to give you a more concrete idea of what to expect and to get the ball rolling.

Avoid Scams

Of course, one of the most important things when it comes to home repair and home renovation help is to work out how to avoid scams. With regular maintenance and asphalt roof repair, the average asphalt roof will last at least 20 years. Without proper maintenance or with incomplete or shoddy repairs, you risk the water damage, leaks inside your home, and structural damage. Avoid scams for repairs and remodeling by looking out for the following red flags:

  • A contractor without a website. A contractor wants to be visible to potential customers and wants to make a good first impression. These days, professionals will not rely on word of mouth alone. If they are lacking some of the most basic information, like a website or social media presence, there may be unfavorable reasons behind it.
  • A portfolio with one or two pictures only, or with poor photo quality. Unless the company is very new, they should be eager to show off their projects — not go out of their way to hide them. If a contractor is new but you are inclined to go with them, ask if they have any unofficial work samples to show you. It is very possible they completed projects on the side or in their own home before starting their own company. Further, a contractor’s portfolio is a reflection of their professionalism and abilities. If they choose photos with poor image quality or grainy photos, that says something about their company. If they do not pay attention to these details, they may overlook details during repairs or renovations as well.
  • An unwillingness to put things in writing. It is very standard for big projects to be sealed in writing. Do not proceed without a contract. According to HGTV, this contract should clearly lay out your estimate and payment plan, a schedule, a change-order clause, the specifications of the project, and a dispute resolution clause. If any of these elements are missing, get answers. Also review the contract for any signs of lacking professionalism (i.e., typos, spelling errors, missing words, etc.) or unbalanced or unfair language.
  • Significant time gaps between projects or references. Again, a contractor is running a business. Like any other professional, expect them to keep up a reliable and consistent employment history. If there are any glaring gaps between projects, inquire as to why.
  • A quiet or hesitant reference. A reference can be a great home renovation help, but keep in mind that they’re only human. Most people will politely and enthusiastically talk about the positives and may overlook small things. That said, if references are awkwardly quiet or hesitant to answer your questions, they may be trying to be polite or trying to carefully word things so as to be as kind as possible while avoiding lying to you. If they have an ordinarily sunny disposition, look out for any sudden changes.
  • Overly strong or overwhelming sales tactics. Contractors want you to choose them and their bid. However, saying the bid is only available for a few hours or a day at a time crosses a line. A competitive bid is a good thing. Overwhelming pressure is not.

In recent years, homeowners averaged $383.3 billion on home improvement projects and major repairs. When it comes to home renovation help and tips, remember that these renovations are an investment — one that will pay off as you continue to enjoy your home and eventually when it comes time to sell. Put the appropriate amount of time and dedication into protecting that investment. Go the extra mile to choose the contractor that is right for you.

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