Once you’ve contacted a few homeowners, and they’ve invited you over, make the most of your opportunity. Be sure to address the following four issues:
There is a list of detailed questions, located at the end of this section, to guide you.
Six to twelve months after a job has been completed is an excellent time to interview homeowners. During that interval their remodelers will have responded to some warranty item claims. (Note: the industry standard is a 1-year warranty on all labor and materials installed by a remodeler and not covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.)
Because professional remodelers address warranty claims quickly and thoroughly, such claims are an excellent test of their reliability and professionalism.
You’ll find that visiting remodeling projects are an excellent source of design ideas. Ask the homeowners how they arrived at their particular choices. This information will both help focus your own ideas and develop your understanding of the design process.
In your tours of these different homes, you’ll begin to appreciate the different levels of attention to detail and quality of finish. You’ll begin to discern a good drywall job: smooth, blemish-free walls and ceilings with invisible seams. You’ll begin to recognize quality interior trim work where the joints are tightly fitted–in contrast to poorer jobs with gaps and misalignments. You’ll begin to appreciate that better remodelers stay on top of all details all the way through to the end of the project.
The more you learn, the greater your comfort. The greater your comfort, the greater command you will have over the selection process.
Come prepared with a camera, pen and paper, or a tape recorder. Be sure to ask for permission to take notes or photos. You’ll want records of what you learn as you begin to compile a list of possible remodelers.
Here is a list of essential homeowner interview questions: