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How to be a Good Client - By Robert Stevens

Are you thinking about buying a new home, or renovating your existing home?

Most discussion revolves around the contractors’ responsibilities and rightfully so. But the reality is this is a two-street. You will get much better results if you can avoid the most common mistakes that many homeowners unwittingly commit. Here are a few things that can mean the difference between an enjoyable experience and the one you would rather forget.

Consider the Following tips:

1. Do your homework. Just because you don’t know construction does not mean you can’t learn some of the basics and lingo. It will help you make decisions and communicate effectively.

2. Know what you want. Start with a wish list, go crazy with it and whittle it down to wants and needs in order to create your spec list. How much do you really need? Do you really need that much space? Don’t forget your carbon footprint.

3. Ask a designer to draft preliminary drawings for your project. It will help with budgeting and selecting a contractor.

4. Select a contractor that suits your personality and design taste. They should share your expectations around the construction process.

5. Select and purchase almost everything before construction starts and make selections as soon as your contractor asks for them. Do not compromise on this. It is the reason for delays, cost overruns and having to settle for second or third choices. Do your selection during the planning stages so that you can develop a firm budget, get firm pricing from the trades and suppliers, do not have construction and or supply surprises, and have accountability from your contractor.

6. Pay your bills on time. The contractor and trades are not banks and should not be treated as such. Late payments are another major reason for delays and bad experiences.

7. Communicate only through your contractor. They are the keepers of the schedules and specifications. Do not make decisions with the trades without the contractor knowing about it. This can cause major issues. Also don’t bring in your own trades! It almost never works out and it is rarely the contractor’s fault. If you must, set very definite goals and expectations.

8. Construction is not an exact science. Mistakes will happen. Delays will occur. Handle these issues calmly and reasonably to reach a resolution more quickly AND EASILY.

9. If you selected your contractor well (Visit for recommendations), they are doing their best for you. Have faith and sometimes a bit of patience with them. You will be rewarded. It is not an easy job at the best of times.

10. Show up to the site with a coffee and a box of donuts once in a while, it goes a long way.

Relax and have fun, your house is the best place you can put your money right now.


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