Top Questions to Ask a Builder Before Signing a Contract

October 30, 2018

As the economy continues to grow in a positive direction, many homeowners are looking to renovate their homes. One of the biggest obstacles for homeowners is preparing for the expense of a remodel, while crossing their fingers that their investment and renovation will go smoothly. 

Check out our new blog featuring the top questions to ask a builder before signing a contract and why it is critical to do your due diligence in finding the right remodeler for your project! 


Image via Lensis Builders, Inc.


1. How Long Will It Take?

The timeline for any project varies based on the scope of work and the size of your project. Obviously building an addition will take much longer than remodeling a bathroom, but by working with a qualified remodeler, you should know exactly how long your project should last. 

On average, a bathroom remodel can take 2-4 weeks once the permit has been received. A kitchen remodel can take about 2-3 months to complete depending on if any structural work has to be done, while an addition can take up to 2-4 months depending on the material selections. Most builders do not use stock cabinets because they are not of high quality, so expect your cabinet order to take up to a month go through production and be delivered to your home for installation. 


BudrowStacysFavePicSevenImage via  Lensis Builders, Inc.




Image via  Lensis Builders, Inc.



2. What If I Want to Change Something After Construction Has Started? 

Key things to look for when working with a remodeling company is their paper trail and how prepared they are before your project even begins. If a contractor shows up at your home and asks for a deposit before any design work has been done, you should be very leery of doing business with them. 

A reputable builder or remodeler will do extensive leg work in the design phase of your project to ensure there are no hidden surprises once construction has begun. No one likes to receive a change order, especially a homeowner that may have already maxed out their renovation budget. Because of this, it's important to be patient and decisive when working with your designer to ensure all of the material selections have been made upfront, that way you are receiving an accurate price for the cost of your renovation. Keep in mind that if you decide to upgrade any material choices after construction has already begun, the cost will be passed on to you. 


SCREENEDINPORCHONEImage via  Lensis Builders, Inc.


Image via  Lensis Builders, Inc.


3. How Hands On Is Your Company?

This is one of the questions that is easily assumed upon by most homeowners. It's easy to think that every contractor will treat your remodel with as much importance as you see it deserves, but this is not always the case. Some remodeling companies have salesman that can sell you the world, only for you to realize that you are dealing with a completely new set individuals once the construction part of your project begins. It can be incredibly frustrating for a homeowner to feel confident before signing a contract, only to then feel that they have literally no control or confidence in their remodeler's ability to perform the work. This is something that Lensis Builders is against and for good reason. 

One key aspect of any qualified design build company is a production manager, also sometimes known as a project manager. These individual’s sole responsibility is to oversee the progress of your renovation, which includes ordering the correct materials, overseeing the field workers, communicating any questions or concerns you may have during the building or renovation process. They essentially take the stress away from the homeowner so that the renovation can be as seamless as possible. 



Image via  Lensis Builders, Inc.



Image via  Lensis Builders, Inc.


4. How Do I Legally Protect My Remodel? 

This is one question that many homeowners don't think about until it's too late. What that means is that many reputable contractors will have a contract that protects both the remodeler and the homeowner. There should be a mutual agreement that any work performed or materials purchased should be the financial responsibility of the homeowner. At the same time, the homeowner should be protected from poor craftsmanship by either the builder themselves or the subcontractors that work for them. This is why signing a check on the spot during an initial estimate is one of the worst things you could possibly do with your renovation dollars. 

One key questions to ask any builder is whether they require their subcontractors to sign a lien waiver. This is done for many reasons, the main one being that it allows the builder to stay in control and to protect the renovation of your home. Most subcontractors are smaller companies that do not have the capability to operate at full capacity like most builders, and therefore are not usually as financially stable. By requiring subcontractors to sign a lien waiver for any work performed before they can receive payment, it protects the homeowner from any legal recourse in the future should the subcontractor fall on hard times and it protects the builder from passing any hardships incurred to the homeowner. It truly is one of the best legal safety nets available in residential construction. 



Image via  Lensis Builders, Inc.



Image via  Lensis Builders, Inc.



If you live in the Northern Virginia area and you’re interested in a free estimate, or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or fill out a short contact form. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page. 

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