Whether you are planning to remodel your kitchen or build an addition, home improvement projects are complex, time-consuming and often expensive. Working with a trustworthy design-build firm on your renovation helps alleviate stress, keeps your project on track and protects your budget. However, picking the wrong remodeler can result in delays, budget overruns and an unsatisfactory final product. From reading through testimonials to checking insurance and licenses, follow below for ten ways to find a reliable remodeler in Everett, WA.
Choosing Between a GC and a Design-Build Firm for Your Renovation
When remodeling your Everett, WA home, you will likely choose between two different project management approaches. Oftentimes, homeowners choose between hiring a general contractor for their renovation or hiring a residential design-build firm. General contractors interview and hire subcontractors like flooring installers, roofers, plumbers and electricians. Each of these hires results in a separate contract with the homeowner. They may also handle the permitting process for your renovation, working with city inspectors to ensure building codes are followed. However, general contractors do not always manage the timeline, budget or scope of each element of your renovation. General contractors are rarely involved in making design choices and thus do not direct the project in this way.
Conversely, design-build firms usually provide a more holistic experience for the homeowner. When working with a design-build firm, homeowners sign a single contract for the entire project. The design-build firm assembles a team of in-house designers and trusted third parties — e.g. vendors and subcontractors — with input from the homeowner. A single contract lessens the possibility of delays, budget overruns and litigation. Design-build firms manage each project from the planning stage all the way through to completion. This way, they maintain the homeowner’s vision, budget and timeline. Because the entire process is streamlined, Washington State homeowners often opt to work with design-build firms on their residential renovation projects.
10 Tips for Finding a Reliable Remodeler in Everett, WA
Tip #1 – Look for Awards and Designations
When picking a design-build firm for your home remodel, find a list of each company’s designations and awards first. Look for both local awards and national awards, focusing on professional platforms and organizations like Houzz and the American Institute of Architects. For example, Vanderbeken Remodel has won regional and local awards. These include the BIAW Excellence in Remodeling Award from the Building Industry Association of Washington and. They also include The REX and T-REX Awards from the Remodelers Council of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. Vanderbeken Remodel has also won national awards like the Chrysalis Award and the Best of Houzz Service Awards. Choosing a design-build firm with both local and national designations ensures your choice is consistently recognized for their professionalism and excellence.
Tip #2 – Check for a Permanent Address
Next, homeowners should make sure each remodeling company they consider has a permanent location in or around Everett, WA. Unfortunately, home improvement scams are incredibly common across the country. According to the Federal Trade Commission, “general contractors” attempting to scam homeowners will rarely have a permanent address associated with their business. Beware those who provide a PO box number as their company’s mailing address.
Tip #3 – Determine the Number of Years in Business
Homeowners planning to hire a remodeler in Everett, WA should also check how long each design-build firm or general contractor has been in business. Unreliable remodeling companies might have only been in business under their current name for a few months. Be wary of a remodeler whose website says the firm has been in the industry for years but whose business license is brand new. Vanderbeken Remodel has the collective wisdom of over thirty years in the industry, and has been serving Snohomish County clients since 2007, with the documents to prove it.
Tip #4 – Identify Their Professional Memberships
Identifying which professional memberships each design-build firm holds can also weed out unreliable remodelers. Distinguished remodeling companies in Everett, WA will belong to both regional and national associations with strict membership requirements. For example, Vanderbeken Remodel belongs to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish County (MBAKS). Less reliable remodeling firms or general contractors may not meet the requirements of such professional organizations.
Tip #5 – Ask About Partner Vendors and Subcontractors
When interviewing remodeling companies, be sure to ask each firm about the subcontractors and vendors they partner with. Ask about both local businesses and national brands. By asking each design-build firm about these partnerships, you will have a fuller picture of how your project might develop under their management.
Tip #6 – Seek Out Recommendations
Next, homeowners should ask friends, family, colleagues and organizations for recommendations. When asking friends and family for recommendations, make sure each person you ask executed a similar type of project. In addition to asking friends and family, homeowners can contact their local building trade association or chamber of commerce for professional recommendations. For example, Everett homeowners might contact the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish County. Homeowners might also consider placing a request for recommendations in neighborhood groups on Facebook and other online platforms.
Tip #7 – Make Sure They Are Licensed, Bonded & Insured
When searching for a reliable remodeler in Everett, WA, homeowners must ensure that each company is completely licensed, bonded and insured. Homeowners should keep in mind that in the state of Washington, general contractors are not required to apply for a license. They are, however, required to provide proof of general liability insurance. Be sure to research which types of coverage and licenses a design-build firm should have before hiring. Washington State homeowners should also ask each remodeling company about the warranties they provide. For example, Vanderbeken Remodel provides homeowners with a guaranteed two-year warranty on workmanship. Click here to visit the website for Washington State Department of Labor & Industries where you can look up a business to verify their license information.
Tip #8 – Read Through Online Testimonials
Next, homeowners searching for a reliable remodeler in Everett, WA should read through online testimonials. They should look through both testimonials on the company’s website and through reviews on home services sites Houzz, and last but not least of course is Google. When sifting through testimonials look for well-balanced reviews. Be wary of companies that have only 1-star or 2-star ratings as well as solely 5-star ratings. If there were complaints about schedule, cost, quality, etc. be sure you read both sides of the issue. Sometimes a disgruntled homeowner has unrealistic expectations that no matter how good a remodeler is, they will never be reached. In other instances, some people give poor reviews to companies after only one exchange. A reliable remodeling company will have a variety of star ratings and include feedback about everything from their craftsmanship to their time management skills. Another key testimonial to look for are those that say they have (or would) hire the remodeler again. To learn about what past clients of VanderBeken Remodel have to say, click here.
Tip #9 – Request References
Ninth on our list of tips for finding a reliable remodeler in Everett, WA is to request references from each design-build firm. These contacts can provide you with more information about each team member’s personality and project management style. They can also provide you with more information about vendors, subcontractors and general workmanship.
Tip #10 – Look for Detailed Oriented Communication and Processes
Once homeowners have winnowed down their list of remodelers to two or three, they should dig deeper to understand the process of each. A reliable remodeler will provide clear and consistent communication to you throughout your project. Look for companies that prioritize in-person weekly status meetings as well as ones that leverage technology, such as BuilderTrend–an online platform where homeowners can see photos and log notes about their project every step of the way. Ask up front if you will receive a detailed production contract with “change order clause,” “express limited warranty” and a “dispute resolution clause”, which outlines how disagreements will be mitigated, and a waiver of lien. If your questions are ignored or worse yet, dismissed as not important, move on to another remodeler. A reliable remodeler will take time to guide you through their process and answer your questions.
Working with VanderBeken Remodel on Your Everett, WA Home
As mentioned above, VanderBeken Remodel has over thirty years of experience in the remodeling industry. The company belongs to several professional associations. These include the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish County (MBAKs). VanderBeken Remodel has also been recognized nationally and locally. They have received designations like the BIAW Excellence in Remodeling Award and the Best of Houzz Service Awards. Working with an esteemed local business like VanderBeken Remodel ensures your project will stay on track while fulfilling your vision.