10 tips to know before home remodeling
The best advice from TimeForUNow
You have just seen a house or apartment that you would like to sign up for. The only ick is that you would need to redo the bathroom and maybe divide a room into two to make space for a little office. After having looked at a multitude of houses, you settle on this one, thinking you would rather undertake a small renovation project than to settle for something that is just not the right fit for your family.
How hard can it be to arrange a simple bathroom renovation and to put up a wall even if you haven’t quite got the level of French required to understand all the technical terms? You have spent hours pouring over Pinterest and now you have a good idea of what you want.
You reach for the builder’s card that had been pushed through your letterbox. You have a vague feeling that it is the same company that worked at your neighbour’s house as you have seen his van in the block but are too shy to go ask the next door person about the company. Oh well! they have a well maintained house so you take it as a sign that the builder must be good and give him a call.
He arrives for his appointment on time (Good sign!) and speaks with so much confidence. He reassures you that he can indeed do anything you wish for. The high step into the shower can be made flat, the light fixtures you want close to the mirror are absolutely no problem, the wall will take a day to build!! He promises to send you his estimate by the weekend. 2 weeks later, you still haven’t received anything. You’re about to give up and look for another builder when you receive the estimate. It seems reasonable enough and the builder was pleasant so you go for it!
The work starts as scheduled, they break the old bathroom, then the builder comes to you and asks you to have the tiles delivered by Thursday. What?!? What does he mean have the tiles delivered? Isn’t that his job? Here is where your well planned project unravels. It seems that the builder had discussed with you that you were to choose and buy your own bathroom fittings including tiles. The amount on the estimate was for his workmanship (that explains the reasonable price)!!
Things go downhill from there and you are stuck with a broken bathroom and will have to wait at least 3 weeks for the delivery of the tiles! Furthermore, you don’t really know where to go for the tiles you wanted. You show your photos to your builder and he comes back with samples that do not even resemble what you have shown him. In desperation, you choose anything to let him finish the work. Unfortunately, the flat shower you wanted cannot be installed as the pipes will not allow it, the wonderful light fixtures that you were promised can no longer be fitted as suddenly the shower is too close to the sink and it won’t work for security reasons. In the end, you get a bathroom that is way over budget, long overdue and not what you wanted. You have spent the last 6 weeks in heated arguments with the builder and wish that you will never have to see him ever again.
Many of you are familiar with variations of this scenario. In order to ensure smoother experiences when contemplating a renovation project, we have come up with the following advice:
- Choose your contractor with care. Do not hesitate to ask your friends or neighbours for recommendations. ALWAYS ask for references and follow them up.
- Have 2-3 builders give you an estimate. Apart from giving you a better idea of the price, you will also have a choice with whom you feel you will be able to relate to. Communication is key in any building work.
- Go over every point of the estimate and clarify it with the builder before you sign
- Make sure that the estimate adjusts the price of the material. So if the estimate show tiles for €40/m2 and you have chosen tiles for €20/m2, make sure to keep note of it before settling the final bill.
- Be clear about your budget when discussing plans with the builder on his first visit.
- Always allow for and expect overtime. Unaccounted for delays do happen.
- Make sure the material is ordered and delivered according to schedule whether it’s your responsibility or the builders.
- Protect your furniture and personal items. Workmen tend to damage property without trying and without necessarily wanting to!
- Check the company’s insurance contract before you sign to avoid any future nasty surprises
- Certain building work may be subject to tax credit. Be sure to check with your builder to see if he has the right certificates for this.
If you feel overwhelmed and would like to avoid most of the above mentioned pitfalls, hire an agent to supervise the project and handle the relationship with the contractor. There are many out there. Time4unow is one of them. Please do not hesitate to ask us for an estimate to compare with any other one you may/should have asked for.
TIME4UNOW is a Lifestyle Management & Concierge Services Company run by two former expats, Aparna and Gabrielle, who have themselves experienced the challenges of settling into a new life in France ( … )