Home improvement contractors in Rochester, NY, can do amazing things with your home – but they’re not miracle workers. Sometimes homeowners come in with some unrealistic expectations about how their renovations will go, and that can lead to uncomfortable conversations.
We want to help you create your dream home, but that does involve understanding the nitty-gritty of how renovations work. So, in this article, we wanted to talk about a few hard truths about home upgrades – straight from expert Rochester home improvement contractors.
Seven Truths You Should Know Before Hiring Home Renovation Contractors
1 – Contractors have good reasons for wanting to work with people they know
Occasionally a homeowner may be trying to hire workers piecemeal, like hiring one group to do the floors, another to do the walls, and so on. They might even try to hand off work to friends or relatives of theirs.
Unfortunately, this approach usually just leads to chaos, miscommunication, and delays. Your work will go faster and more smoothly if you let your primary contractor bring in their own people, who they can trust and know how to work with. They aren’t trying to rip you off; they just want a solid team with experience working together.
2 – They may not be able to reuse your cabinetry, flooring, or other fixtures
Sometimes we get requests from a homeowner that we preserve and reuse a particular fixture, such as an antique cabinet that’s always been with the home, or vintage wood flooring. Here’s the problem: older fixtures tend to fall apart once they’re taken down. Depending on how they’re mounted, removing them without damaging them may be virtually impossible.
If there’s a piece you really want to preserve, your contractor will put in their best effort to save it, but sometimes this just won’t work out. That said, sometimes the remains can still be repurposed! For example, the doors of an old cabinet could be turned into display pieces.
3 – Jobs rarely go 100% according to plan
No matter how well a home is surveyed before a renovation begins, there’s probably something unforeseen that will come up. For example, a particular section of a wall might have crumbling drywall behind it, or a crack might be found in the foundation after the flooring is pulled up.
The contractor isn’t trying to pad their bill; these things just happen. Plus, the older your house is, the more likely it’s hiding problems and defects that no one will know about until work is underway. You’ll probably have to roll with a couple of unexpected punches that complicate the work.
4 – Local zoning regulations are rarely flexible
Are you thinking about upgrades that are outside of what’s permitted by your city/county/state regulatory boards? Chances are, they aren’t going to happen. Home renovation contractors know how to work with government agencies and can help you obtain your permits – but we can’t get the laws changed for you.
Of course, it never hurts to ask. Sometimes there are loopholes. But if your contractor says “sorry, we’ll never be able to get the permits for that,” they’re telling the truth. Hopefully, they’ll be able to suggest some alternatives that will be acceptable within local ordinances.
5 – The contractor’s fee is usually not negotiable
The plain truth of the matter is that no one ever gets home upgrades “at cost.” A contractor needs to be able to profit off a job. After all, they have a lot of overhead. Besides their physical office and personnel, they’ll also have plenty of expensive equipment, tools, and materials that need to be maintained. Some also require permits, licensing, or so forth.
The contractor’s fee for the job is absolutely necessary for them to keep the lights on. Often, they really aren’t making that much money. The vast majority of what you’re paying is going to business expenses, and they won’t be able to compromise on the fees.
6 – Don’t be afraid to specify your needs in detail
Believe it or not, home improvement contractors in Rochester like it when a customer is detail-oriented and specifies exactly what they want. You’re not being difficult or demanding – you’re making the contractor’s job easier by telling them the parameters of the job.
This is much better than a client who’s afraid to speak up and only starts complaining or making demands after work has been done.
7 – We’d like you out of the house
Trying to do home renovations while a family is still in the house is extremely difficult. Sometimes it’s impossible. Even if it can be done, it’s guaranteed to cause delays and drive up the overall cost of the project. Your life and your contractor’s life will honestly be much easier if you find somewhere else to stay while the work is done (but feel free to drop by and check out the progress).