Taking the Mystery Out of Remodeling – by Reva Kussmaul

It Simply Is Not a One-way Street!

There’s a new reality show on (yes, another one) that is, for the most part, about making contractors wrong and, until a show or two ago, didn’t talk about the homeowner’s responsibility at all.  I’ve watched the show each week since it premiered and was always amazed at the answer to the question, “how much money are you in?”  The answer was usually at least 50% with not nearly that much work done.

I am always baffled when a homeowner gives a contractor so much of the money up-front and wonders why it didn’t work out.  Not that the contractor is “off the hook” and not liable.  It’s simply that in the state of CA where the show is filmed, a contractor can only take 10% or $1,000.00 up-front, whichever is less.  So, if a job is $20,000.00 a contractor can take $1,000.00 and if the job is $9,000.00 the contractor can take $900.00.

Also, many of the jobs were quoted for less than what it would take to complete the job and have the contractor make a profit – in my opinion and having 30 years experience in the business.

The last show I saw actually had the contractor coming out on top because, apparently, what the homeowner told the show’s producers/stars wasn’t the truth and the contractor had all the paperwork to prove it.

During one show one of the contractors blamed it on the fact the he didn’t do something right so he could “work within the homeowner’s budget.”  That’s where honest communication comes in.  If a homeowner wants a kitchen remodel and has $35,000.00 yet the project they want is going to take $60,000.00 for a contractor to proceed, then saying it can be done for what “they have in their budget” is way less than honest.  When a contractor really wants a job but knows they need more than the homeowner has, walking away is the best scenario for all concerned.

This isn’t to make the show wrong, the homeowner wrong or the contractor wrong; it’s about knowing there are always two sides to each story.  Are there nightmares caused by contractors?  Absolutely!  There are also homeowners who contribute to nightmares.

Communication is key.  Asking the right, upfront questions as well as all parties being clear about what is wanted and what is needed to create it is the only way to create a good remodeling relationship where all parties win!

Not sure which questions to ask or the answers to those questions?  Call me, get my book – then proceed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *