Remodelers Council

Tips for a smooth Home Remodel

Remodeling your home can be a daunting task, whether the project is a small bathroom update or a full blown gut of your kitchen. The WABA Remodelers Council is sharing these 10 tips to help you navigate the process smoothly.

  1. Establish effective two-way communication with your remodeling contractor. It is essential to have good communication for a smooth home remodeling project. Does the remodeler listen? Does he or she answer questions clearly and candidly? Can you reach him when you need to? Does he return phone calls promptly? Does he let you know when problems arise and work with you on solving them?
  2. Make sure you are compatible with the contractor. You will spend a lot of time with your contractor, so it is important to have a good rapport and trust in him or her.
  3. Set a clear and mutual understanding about the schedule. You and your remodeling contractor should agree on the schedule up front to avoid conflict and problems later in the project.
  4. Request a written proposal and statement of work. Often, two people remember the same conversation differently. Get the proposal and scope of work in writing and work with the remodeler to ensure it reflects your wishes.
  5. Get a clear and mutual understanding on miscellaneous details up front. There are a lot of little details that need to be settled before work starts. What times of day will they be working? How will he or she access the property? How will cleanup be handled? How will they protect your property?
  6. Remember to be flexible. Remodeling is an interruption of your normal life. Remember to be flexible during the project so that you can handle the unexpected and go with the flow.
  7. Discuss and agree on how change orders will be handled. With home remodeling there is always the chance you may want (or need) to change materials or other project details during the job. Before work starts, make sure you agree with your remodeler about how these changes will be handled. Also understand that changes could affect both schedule and budget, so it’s important to have all changes in writing.
  8. Agree on a well-written contract that covers all the bases. The contract should include these elements: a timetable for the project, price and payment schedule, detailed specifications for all products and materials, insurance information, permit information, procedures for handling change orders, lien releases, provisions for conflict resolution, notice of your right under the Federal Trade Commission’s Cooling Off Rule (your right to cancel the contract within three days if it was signed someplace other than the remodeler’s place of business), and details on the important issues (such as access to your home, care of the home, cleanup and trash removal).
  9. Ask for a written lien waiver from the home remodeler upon completion of the work. If the remodeler hires subcontractors for portions of the work, then it is their responsibility to see the subcontractors compensated. In order to ensure this has been done and to protect yourself, ask for a written lien waiver when the work is finished. This document will verify everyone has been paid.
  10. Establish a project plan, covering all phases and dependencies in the work. Plan your big picture goals with the remodeler and discuss your needs. Hire a remodeler who will plan with you, listen to concerns and answer questions.

To find a remodeling professional for your project, search the WABA Remodelers Council Directory. All members of the Council are committed to maintaining the highest industry standards of professionalism, quality workmanship, and ethical business practices.

Remodelers Council

What are the Best Ways to Add Value to Your Home?

Which home remodeling projects are the best ones for those looking for a solid return on their investment — and higher profits come selling day?

Americans spent over $158 billion on home remodeling in 2019, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Remodeling is expected to outpace new home building in about 10 years.

All home remodeling projects are not equal when it comes to increasing the selling price of your house. Here are some top ways to add value to your home:

A Home Office Remodel
Home offices are becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity, with more people working remotely. The number of Americans who work from home is now in the millions, and that number will continue to grow. With many companies cutting costs and becoming more aware of their carbon footprints, working from home has become a viable solution for many. Making sure that your home has a state-of-the-art space for work-from-home professionals is a surefire way to increase your home’s value.

Renovate or Add a Family Room
With open floor plans becoming more in demand, a family room is an excellent way to make existing homes more like new construction. Remember, it’s a good idea to keep in mind what homes in your area are like. People like to purchase homes that blend with other homes around them. Chances are you’ll find many of your neighbors are investing in family rooms as well.

Replace the Roof
The roof is one of the first impressions people have of a home. Make sure yours passes the test by replacing an old roof. You can also change the character of your home by looking into architecturally styled roofing tiles.

Update your Outdoor Space
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, outside spaces have become more popular than ever. As people stay closer to home, they are looking for great outdoor space – for family time and for entertaining. Backyard landscaping can transform an ordinary space into a perfect entertaining area by including an outdoor kitchen, lots of seating, and even a firepit. Be sure to consider your area’s climate. If you live in an area that receives temperate weather year-round, you’ll find that your new landscaped yard adds value to your home and increases your living space.

Replace Old Windows
Thirty percent of a home’s energy is lost through its windows. Replacing old windows with energy-efficient ones signals to home buyers that you really care about the house and it reflects on the quality of the house as a whole. Plus, who doesn’t like to save money on energy bills?

Remodel Your Basement
Look at space you already have. Do you have unused space that serves as a black hole for all of things you don’t know where else to put? Try finishing or remodeling your basement. Remodeled basements can make excellent game rooms or guest suites, adding value to your home without adding square footage.

Paint, Paint, Paint
Enough said. But remember to hire a professional if you need help and keep the colors neutral if you’re looking to sell. Nothing looks worse than a poorly done paint job in bright fuchsia.

Remodel Your Kitchen
Small changes can result in big value. Upgrading appliances, countertops, or cabinet hardware and painting tired walls can add new life to your kitchen, and add value to your home. The general rule when doing a remodel is not to overdo it…unless it’s the kitchen. Kitchens sell a home, and in this case, size does matter. If you are a DIYer, know your limits. Sometimes doing it yourself can save money, but always bring in a professional for the big jobs.

Remodel or Add a Bathroom
A bathroom remodel can often mean simply making the most of your current space, by upgrading fixtures, flooring and lighting. Have a little more money in the budget? Adding a bathroom is a great way to increase the value of your home. Is your only bathroom upstairs and not convenient for dinner guests? The area under a set of stairs may be the perfect place for a powder room.

Need help finding a reputable remodeling contractor to increase the value of your home? Start by searching the WABA Remodelers Council Directory. Council members are committed to maintaining the highest industry standards of professionalism, quality workmanship, and ethical business practices.

Remodelers Council

Don’t Get Scammed: Find a Qualified Remodeling Contractor

Across the country each year, many people become victims of tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, or wildfires. These natural disasters directly impact the U.S. economy for billions of dollars annually. One of the untold costs associated with these disasters are those losses due to fraud. Often, “fly-by-night” contractors appear and further traumatize the disaster victims by swindling them out of their precious, and often limited, resources.

There are thousands of legitimate, ethical contractors in business around the country. Whether you are recovering from a natural disaster or are looking for a remodeling contractor for non-emergency home improvement, be sure to find a company that is experienced, reputable, and will be around for years to come. Here are some warning signs to look out for:

  1. Does not have license and insurance. All professional contractors should be insured and able to show their certificate proving such insurance. Although all states do not require licensing, contractors in states requiring licenses should have it and be able to provide a copy.
  2. Asks you to sign anything before you have hired them. If they want you to sign an “estimate” or “authorization” before you have made the decision to hire the contractor, look out. They may be trying to get you to sign what is an actual binding contract.
  3. Does not write contracts. Professional remodelers have clear contracts that outline the job, the process, the cost, and clarifies how problems will be managed. If you do not have a contract, you are not protected when something goes wrong. Do not hire anyone who tells you a contract “won’t be necessary.”
  4. Requires cash or payment in full before starting the job. Shady contractors demand cash and then run with the money. Many homeowners have been stranded by paying in full up front. A deposit towards materials is common, but only pay it once you have a contract signed by both you and the contractor. It is also suspect if you are asked to pay cash to a salesperson instead of a check or money order to a company.
  5. Vastly underbids all other contractors. They may have the best price, but that does not guarantee the best work. Such contractors may cut costs on quality, which can end up costing you more when you have to have the substandard work redone.
  6. Offers “special” pricing. If you are told you have been “chosen” as a demonstration project at a special, low price, or you are told a low price is good only if you sign a contract today chances are that a scam is being attempted.
  7. Cannot provide customer references. Professional contractors should have current references they can provide from current and past clients — and you should be able to reach those references, not just an answering machine.
  8. Difficulty contacting the contractor. Professionals have a physical office, mailing address, phone, and email. They should respond to your queries in a timely manner. Make sure you can verify the contractor’s business address. If they only have a Post Office box, be wary.
  9. Tells you to obtain the building or remodeling permits. Professional contractors go to the county or state offices and get permits for their work themselves. Asking the homeowner to do it is a sign that they are not a legitimate contractor.

Your best bet is to take your time, do your research and choose someone you feel completely comfortable with. If your state requires contractors to be licensed, look them up on the state licensing website even if you have seen a piece of paper that looks like a license. Make sure they do not have a record of consumer complaints lodged with your local Better Business Bureau (

The WABA Remodelers Council is comprised of reputable businesses in all areas of home remodeling. Council members are committed to maintaining the highest industry standards of professionalism, quality workmanship, and ethical business practices.