Kansas City Homes & Style had the opportunity to interview Jan Burchett, Executive Director of the Kansas City chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), who shares her tips for those considering remodeling.
Story by Jeanie Erwin
KCHS: Remodeling is always more complex and involves more steps than most people expect before they begin. What would your recommend as the first step for anyone considering remodeling?
NARI: Before anything else, walk around your home or the specific area you are considering remodeling and take notes. Write down what you like, what doesn’t work, and what you want from the space. In short, know what you want before you begin.
KCHS: Once you have determined what you would really want for a particular space, what can you do to help move the project from idea to conception?
NARI: Keep your budget in mind and then hit the web and start investigating. Look at options in everything you are considering such as types of cabinets, countertops, flooring. Check out Pinterest and gather ideas for yourself, and also to show your contractor or designer. Do your homework. Knowing what products cost can help you stay within your budget.
KCHS: You mentioned knowing your budget before you start planning. What are the important financial concerns when planning a project?
NARI: No matter if the project is small or huge, it is important to plan it out financially. When most people start planning a remodel, they will forget to plan for or underestimate the cost of three things; the cost of labor, the cost of unforeseen problems, and additional things they may need because of the remodels, such as furniture or window treatments.
KCHS: What are your best tips for choosing a contractor?
NARI: When most people are thinking of remodeling, they are thinking of the finished product. But a remodel is a process and you want the right person for the job. First, find one that is highly recommended. Call NARI or check the website for reputable professionals. Then, check their references. So many people will hire a contractor without ever seeing their work or talking to past clients. Make sure they have insurance. Finally, remember it is not just about skill. During a remodel you are essentially living in a job site. You are going to see a lot of whomever you hire and they will see a lot of you during a time of high stress. Make sure the person you choose gels with your family and your lifestyle.
KCHS: Sometimes remodels do not go as planned. How can a homeowner avoid problems and find resolution when issues arise?
NARI: The best way to avoid problems is by doing your homework first. I can’t stress that enough. Then, make sure everything is spelled out in a contract. Include things like by what means will resolutions be found, such as an arbitrator. Also define payment schedules, services, warrantees, and change orders. A well-defined contract can go a long way in preventing and mitigating any problems.