Our goal was to create a modern bathroom with a fireplace and free-standing tub. That’s why we took a close look at a new home and remodeling gallery and were dazzled by what we found. But now the challenge was to find the right builder to help us realize our dream bathroom.
So, we started asking our neighbors, who were in the midst of their remodels. One of these neighbors was Bruce, who lived on the same street. He had started a major rebuild of his home using a well-known and well-regarded builder. But no more than six months after his project’s start, this builder and Bruce were threatening each other with lawsuits and a work stoppage! Fortunately, Bruce was open to share with us the details of his experience with this builder. He organized his mistakes into four major categories:
References; Bruce had failed to check references and courthouse records with a fine-tooth comb. If he had, he would have discovered that his builder was leaving clients with a lot more than remodeled homes. The builder left his clients with Mechanics’ Liens that prevented them from selling the properties!
These liens came from this builder’s sub-contractors. Bruce learned the hard way that this builder was not paying his sub-contractors, leaving them no choice but to place liens on Bruce’s home to force payment.
Cost Overruns: Bruce also discovered that his expectations of quality and workmanship were not aligned with his builder. His builder had one thing in mind while Bruce was dreaming of something else. So, to avoid a nightmare scenario, he recommended that we visit a prospective builder’s recent projects and document which bathroom finishes we liked and which ones we did not. This way, no one was confused when selecting the plumbing fixtures, tile, and shower enclosures we wanted in our dream bathroom.
License Check: Another way to avoid a nightmare remodel that Bruce missed was to check the status of his builder to look for violations that might have been reported. A builder typically assigns the actual work to his sub-contractor. But he is still responsible for final delivery, even if his sub-contractors do not perform as expected.
Background Check: The final piece of hindsight Bruce shared was that he should have ordered a background check on his nightmare builder. He discovered too late that his builder was very nearly bankrupt. This builder was using funds from new projects to finish old jobs. This meant that, unless his builder was able to acquire new clients, he would not be able to finish Bruce’s project.
The moral of Bruce’s remodeling nightmare story? We need to research builders if we want to avoid his experience. Remodeling our home is a major investment, and we need to make certain the builder we select is well-regarded and financially secure to finish our project on time and on budget.
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