Ten Tips for Hiring a Home Remodeler

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

Years ago if you weren’t happy with your house, you moved. With the real estate market as it is today, that is no longer an option for many homeowners. Rather, they are choosing to renovate rather than relocate.

Not only is renovation cost effective, but it is also an excellent investment. And one of the most popular remodeling projects is the kitchen. Industry experts estimate that a major kitchen remodel will return, on average, 98% of the original outlay. That’s not bad considering a survey of members of the National Kitchen and Bath Association found that the average kitchen remodeling project costs about $20,000; and a major floor to ceiling project could cost $50,000 or more.

That is a lot of money. So before you spend a cent, make sure you’re hiring a reputable remodeling specialist. In South Florida there are many companies claiming to offer these services, so it is critical that you ask the right questions before you sign a contract.

We have compiled a list of questions to ask when hiring someone to remodel your kitchen (or any other room in your house).

1. How long have you been in business?
While everyone needs to start somewhere, it is important that you hire a company that has experience completing home remodeling projects. You want to know this company that you are trusting with your home (and personal property) is well established and experienced.

2. What services do you provide?
Some companies specialize in refacing (updating the existing kitchen with repainted or new cabinet doors), while others offer full-service renovations (removing the old kitchen and replacing with new cabinets, appliances, plumbing, etc.)

3. Do you offer design services?
A full-service kitchen remodeling company can make your dream kitchen a reality. Not only does a true kitchen designer have the skills to create the optimum layout for your kitchen, but they can assist you in product selection. A kitchen designer is knowledgeable about the latest advancements in appliances as well as design trends. Many remodeling companies also offer interior design services to complete the kitchen design. An interior designer may accompany you to showrooms to help select cabinets, countertops, backsplashes, sinks, faucets, fixtures, lighting, and even offer advice on paint colors.

4. What type of cabinets do you offer?
As with all products, cabinetry has different qualities and price points. Some kitchen remodelers only use imported, manufactured cabinetry. In some cases, the quality may be inferior. Plus, because it is pre-constructed, you are limited with this type of cabinetry. Other companies offer custom cabinetry, where the cabinets are designed and built specifically for your kitchen. With custom cabinetry, the homeowner can customize not only the size, but also the style and color.

5. Can you do more than install cabinetry?
A remodeling project often requires the skills of multiple trades — carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc. A full-service home remodeling company can do all these things. Many use general contractors who can also complete structural work, such as moving walls.

6. Can you obtain a permit if necessary?
It is often advised to obtain proper permitting when undergoing a renovation project. Not all companies do this, so be sure to ask so that you know you are protected.

7. Are you licensed and insured?
Again, to protect yourself you need to make sure the contractor you hire is fully covered by insurance and licensed by the State. Be sure to do your homework. You can check up on your contractor using the “licensee search” link at www.myflorida.com. It’s also a good idea to check the Better Business Bureau (www.bbbsoutheastflorida.org) to see if there have been any complaints filed against the company.

8. Can you show us actual completed projects?
You should be able to see for yourself the quality of the company’s work. A reputable remodeler will be more than happy to provide you will a list of references. Some will even bring you into the homes of former customers. If possible, ask to see a home that was completed years ago. This will allow you to see how the product and workmanship hold up over time.

9. What guarantees do you provide after the kitchen is installed?
All products will come with a manufacturer’s guarantee. You want to know that the labor is also guaranteed. To be safe, look for a company that guarantees its workmanship for at least one year after installation.

10. Have you won any awards?
With all the competition in this industry, it is quite an accomplishment to have won an award for your work.

Once you have the answers to these questions, you should be able to determine if the company you are considering is qualified and experienced enough to do the job. In next month’s issue will we explore the various options in cabinetry available today.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com.