When Remodeling, Select the Right Professional

By on May 9, 2019

By Phillip B. Burum

Whether to customize a home to meet one’s personal tastes and needs, increase the home’s value, comfort and/or energy-efficiency; or to bring the home to current development standards before it can be placed on the market; at some point, nearly every homeowner will require the services of a trained and certified remodeling professional. This is why America celebrates National Remodeling Month in May as the second of a three-month celebration of homeownership.

Whatever your specific reason for engaging in a remodel, after determining a general plan and conceptual budget for the undertaking, the most important step to take before the project begins is to locate a qualified local remodeling professional. Start your search for the right contractor by visiting the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) www.NAHB.com website and click on “Builders & Remodelers” for a directory of professional remodelers.

Building codes and construction practices evolve over time and to ensure that these professionals are up-to-date, NAHB provides course material to their network of contractors, allowing them to boast current certifications for remodeling specialties. NAHB offers a variety of official certifications and designations such as Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR), Certified Green Professional (CGP), Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) or Graduate Master Remodeler (GMR) among other designations. The certifications and designations will help guide you to finding the right contractor to fit your specific needs.

These highly-trained and certified remodelers offer specialized skills, experience and knowledge about their areas of expertise. For example, a CAPS-trained remodeler has learned the current trends and best practices regarding modifying homes so they are safe, comfortable and accessible for those who are aging-in-place.

To find the right contractor, interview several. After the first round of meetings, narrow the field down to a few that feel like a good fit for your project. Be sure to check the status of their contractor’s license numbers by calling (800) 321-CSLB (2752) or visiting at www.cslb.ca.gov online.

One often overlooked descriptor in the above recommendation is the word ‘local’. Local professional contractors will save you time and resources based on their familiarity with development standards and inspector’s requirements in community. Use of a local professional contractor will also enable homeowners the ability to speak with verifiable references or even tour examples of their prior work.

When a candidate is selected, allow for time to discuss your plans in depth and confirm the project’s direction before finalizing plans. A trained and certified professional remodeler will provide more value to the project by helping solve design and space problems, making sure all required permits are in order and help you stay within budget by offering a range of product selections. Experienced professional remodelers will also understand a home’s structure, electrical wiring, plumbing and other details that must be considered before attempting a home remodel and can anticipate, prevent or solve unexpected problems.

At some point in your life, someone told you to be sure to use the right tool for the job. That is great and simple advice, never clearer to me than when I tried to use a flathead screwdriver as a prybar and nearly lost an eye. The same advice should be applied to your choice of contractors. Finding the right contractor may not be the difference between ending the day with one eye or two but it will help put you on the path to a successful project with a more predictable result.

Homeownership is often the first and most important step in creating personal wealth and a lifetime of financial security. Protecting your investment in your home is one of the most important reasons we celebrate National Remodeling Month. Because remodeling both protects and enhances the value your home, using experienced and certified professionals is essential to protecting that investment.

The Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of homeownership. For more information, visit www.biabuild.com on the web.

Phillip B. Burum is Vice President-Land at D.R. Horton and Board President for the Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter.