House Renovation Builders: Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring One

When starting a renovation project, homeowners are often preoccupied with the exciting parts, such as which floorplan best meets their needs or which cabinet finishes they prefer. However, before you make any further decisions, you must choose the house renovation builders to work with.


While you may take a chance and hire the first builder you come across, we highly suggest taking a more deliberate approach. 


To begin, determine your pricing range as well as the size and kind of home you desire. Examine a house renovation builder’s portfolio to see if they specialize in the homestyle you want and if their pricing is within your budget.


Once you’ve whittled down your selection to a manageable size, it’s time to start contacting builders to learn more about your options and their processes.



Their Experience

Knowing the relevant experience they have on their belt is very important as this will represent the quality of their previous jobs. Here are some questions you can ask:

  1. Do you have any prior experience renovating properties the same as mine?
  2. How do you assess the subcontractors’ capabilities that will work on my home?


Each type of house poses its own set of problems. You want to know that your builder is aware of these issues and can apply knowledge learnt from previous renovations on properties like yours. You should also be familiar with the scope of their previous projects. Has the contractor conducted renovation projects with a scope similar to yours?


You should also find out how familiar the house renovation builder is with the local subcontractor network. Have they established long-term ties with your top local subcontractors? Do they conduct extensive background checks on new subcontractors before allowing them to work on a project?



Get an Estimate

When starting a project, it’s best to ask for different estimates from different house renovation builders. You should never compromise the quality of your project for a cheap price. However, it’s a complicated process since you have a planned budget to stick with, so it’s better to ask for estimates and how they will maximize your budget to build the house you desire. 


The most significant sign of smooth building operations is accuracy and precision during the estimate process.

  1. Could you tell me a little about how you go about estimating? 
  2. How can you ensure that your budgets are correct?
  3. How long would it take you to provide me with a quote for my renovation project?


Always ask your house renovation builders for the “comprehensive estimate” if available, as this will give you a better look at how well they work on the budget and schedule. To provide you with an idea about the difference, here are two types of estimates that your builder will provide. 


After an in-home consultation and a precise specification of the project scope, a preliminary estimate will be handed to you. It should be based on both previous costs and the available market prices. It can take anything from three to ten days to get a preliminary estimate.


After the plans and requirements are finalized, a comprehensive estimate is completed. It should be based on firm bids from the builder’s network of vendors and subcontractors. They should get multiple bids from high-quality subcontractors and make sure for accuracy and completeness. The builder’s budget should not include any gaps. 


It can take two to three weeks to provide a comprehensive estimate, depending on the scale of your renovation.


If the builder says the estimates will take longer, be sure to inquire as to why. It’s likely that your project is unusually complicated and needs more time to estimate.


It’s also possible that your builder could be implying that they are overbooked and currently have a lot on their plate, which could be a warning flag that your project will not be prioritized.



Talk About Scheduling

All house renovation builders know that time is money, and a good schedule is crucial for all projects. 


It’s helpful to know when everything should be completed. Questions regarding how long the job might take can give you an idea of how organized and proactive the builder is.

  1. How long do you think it will take to complete the renovation?
  2. How can you overcome potential issues that you will encounter during the project?


The length of time it takes to finish your renovation depends on the scope and intricacy of your plan. These questions can help you figure out how well the house renovation builder’s systems and processes are organized, how much experience the team has, and how diligent they are about updating the project schedule regularly. 


You’ll want to know how proactive they are at spotting possible issues and resolving them before they become a problem.


There will be delays on your project; it’s better to ask your house renovation builder how to mitigate these issues. These delays can result in substandard build and additional expenses from you. 


However, delays can sometimes be inevitable, primarily if the weather causes them. House renovation builders know this; they put a great deal of importance on time management. They understand that they are legally bound in a contract, and they know that sticking to a specified time frame can lower the overall cost. 


One of the project manager’s roles in construction is time management. It can be tough to keep everyone working correctly when there are so many people on the job. We will discuss this next.



How Well They Manage a Project

Inquiries about management provide insight into a house renovation builder’s working method. You’ll learn about the builder’s teamwork, organization, and documentation abilities, as well as how closely they’ll monitor your project.

  1. How will you collaborate with my architect and interior designer?
  2. Is it possible for you to send me an example contract, budget, timeline, and warranty?
  3. Who will be in charge of my project, and how often will it be supervised directly?
  4. During the renovation, how will potential issues and concerns be addressed?
  5. What is the procedure in the event that there are design revisions or unforeseen circumstances that result in additional costs?


To avoid adjustments later in the project, close communication with the architect and interior designer is necessary. It avoids misinterpretation, which can result in stress, scheduling delays, and additional costs. 


Understanding how your builder communicates with other professionals can also help you predict how you will communicate with them.


Although house renovation builders may not be able to tell you who they will assign to your project at this time, the question provides insight into the project team’s makeup and the amount of work they have at any given moment. 


A construction manager alone, or a construction manager and a project manager, for example, could make up the team. You can also find out how much additional in-office support the team can provide.


When it comes to intricate, high-quality renovations, the project should be overseen every other day at the very least or every day if possible. If the management team is too overburdened to give that degree of oversight needed, your project may not receive the attention it requires, resulting in blunders and schedule delays.


Understanding how inquiries and concerns are handled is an essential aspect of the build. You need to know that the builder values your thoughts and concerns and will listen to them. 


If the builder offers to set up regular meetings with you, the subcontractors, and the design team, it means they place importance on organization, accountability, transparency, and efficiency.


If your design is complex, changes in plan or schedule are rather usual. Before the work begins, there are a lot of unknowns. Make sure you have a system in place for tracking changes, presenting costs and options to you, getting your consent, and implementing the changes quickly.



Materials and Warranty

Knowing the preferred materials and processes and the warranty services of house renovation builders demonstrates their knowledge and professionalism.

  1. Can you offer me some examples of building materials and procedures that you prefer to use and why?
  2. How do you handle warranty issues after the project is finished?


You’ll want to work with house renovation builders who have experience with high-end home renovations. You don’t have to be an expert on the materials to understand why they were chosen, the builder should explain why.


Service under warranty should be prompt and thorough. There should be minimal delays and wait times.



Ask For References

All house renovation builders can submit a list of their favourite clients, friends, and family members as references. If you want to learn more about their character and reputation, you’ll need to go beyond a few emails and phone calls.


Ask the house renovation builders for at least three references that they have worked with for the past five years. Call them up and ask these questions:

  1. Were you happy with the results?
  2. Did your project cost more than it should have?
  3. Were the contractor’s subcontractors (subs) courteous and professional?
  4. Do you think you’d hire these house renovation builders again?


It’s almost certain that this first list will exclusively include happy consumers. It’s helpful, but it doesn’t give you the whole picture.


There are various reasons why a contractor’s work may deteriorate from one assignment to the next. A one-time problem is fine, but a pattern of recent disgruntled customers is cause for concern.


As one of the leading house renovation builders, our team at MKJ Project would gladly address any queries you may have. Please do not hesitate to contact our team. We are excited to speak with you.

Related post

Request a Quote

Please fill out all of the form fields so that we can better serve you. The more we learn about you, the more we are able to assist.