3 Facts You Should Know Before Remodeling Your Kitchen

The Truth About Kitchen Remodeling

3 important facts to consider as you begin planning the future of your home.

Concerning your best interest, we would like to take a few moments of your time to inform you of what we consider to be the most important facts to examine when beginning a kitchen remodel. We understand that this may be your first time undertaking a large remodeling project or that you may be a seasoned remodeler and are hoping to find the smoothest route. Either way, we want you to love your kitchen, and love the experience. For that reason we hope to guide you through the entire process from start to finish, helping you to avoid common mistakes and risks that you may have been left unaware of, and thus, to arrive at the greatest satisfaction upon the completion of your project.

1. The Kitchen Is YOUR Investment.

This is your money, your home, your investment, your life, so take your time, and educate yourself well. Do not let yourself be convinced otherwise or pressured into making quick decisions, because the investment choices that you make today will remain with you always in memory or actuality and the aftermath of those decisions will be the fruits that you either enjoy or regret for years to come.

Whether the decision to remodel your kitchen is made with the intention of raising your homes marketable value or to heighten the personal and sentimental value of your home, upgrades to the kitchen are ever more appealing to the eyes of potential buyers or guests. As follows, the decision to remodel will always be a great investment. Studies show that even simple remodels, including only cabinetry and counter tops have a return value close to 92.9% of what you put in. If you have made the decision to remodel for personal interests, to heighten the quality of your home life, your return will reflect on how satisfied you are in the end, in other words, how much you really "love" your kitchen. We all know how investments work, investment is the commitment of money or capital to purchase financial instruments or other assets in order to gain profitable returns in the form of interest, income, or appreciation of the value of the instrument.

In the case of a durable consumer good, the individual acquires a lasting possession, hoping the services from the good will make his life better. This being so, we think it unacceptable to settle for less than what you hope to receive, this includes not only the product but the entire experience you have with your kitchen remodeling project and the lasting benefits that will be yours to enjoy for years to come.

2. Contractor Relationships Should be Built on More than Blind Trust and Promises

It's an unfortunate fact that (according to the Consumer Federation of America and The National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators) home improvement has consistently ranked as one of the top 2 industries noted for consumer fraud and customer dissatisfaction in the last decade. Improving your home and quality of life should not have to be a gamble. The Better Business Bureau receives over 1 million inquiries a year from people asking for "reliability reports" on specific contractors to help ensure that a company is trustworthy enough to hire. Gaining trust is more than a few nice words and a handshake, we would like to invite you to look deeper into these common points of conflict.

Reliability - The only way to accurately judge the reliability of a company you are considering to hire for work in your home is through an on-site inspection and an inspection of the facilities where your product will be produced and handled. Ask the sales representative for names of recent clients, and arrange to examine projects similar to yours and schedule an appointment to visit the shop and meet some of the employees. Don't be satisfied with a few pictures of their work and a good standing with the Better Business Bureau, these types of accreditation can often be misleading, be sure to talk with as many previous customers as you can, and don't hesitate to ask the most scrupulous questions.

Some questions to ask previous customers:
Were you happy with the company you hired?
Did they complete the job in the time frame they promised?
Did they show genuine concern for your best interest and dedication to your complete satisfaction?
Were they respectful of your home and of your time?
How was the quality of work?
Was the contractor readily accessible and did he respond to problems as they arose in a timely manner?
Did the contractor willingly make any necessary corrections?
Did the workers show up regularly and was there supervision?
Did they keep the project moving?
Did the project come in at the cost stated on the contract?
Would you recommend this contractor and would you use him/her again?
Ask the contractor how long he/she has been in business and have they done projects similar to yours.

Pricing - Before hiring a contractor, you'll probably solicit various bids. If one comes in much lower than the others it's natural to think you've lucked out, but that's not necessarily the case, says Lisa Curtis, former director of consumer services for the Denver district attorney's office. Because of the fixed costs of materials and labor, a stunningly low bid is a red flag. A common tactic includes starting a job based on a bargain-basement price, then telling the customer that the work is more complicated (and more costly) than originally thought. You may pay more than you would have with a reputable person who started off at a reasonably higher price. Also, it is unfortunate that most home improvement companies require a down payment before any work is done, if this is your situation, be careful to never pay more than 10-30% down, and to work out a clear payment plan. Not surprisingly, according to Mark Levine, co-author of "The Big Fix-Up", a consumer guide to home remodeling, some contractors will set up a schedule that puts your payments ahead of the work. When that company has received 50% of the money for 25% of the work, that's when they stop showing up as often. Typically, you will be told that the up front cash is for materials, which often times translates to poor credit or bad relationships with the suppliers.

Here are some reasons why a home remodeling company will ask you for a down payment:

  • They do not trust their employees to complete the job successfully and without costly mistakes and damage fees.
  • They do not trust their sales representatives to sell honestly and fairly and to make reasonable promises that are in compliance with the company policies and capabilities.
  • They do not trust you any more than you trust them.
    While normally, it should be the consumer dictating to the vendor the desires and needs, often times in this industry, it is the vendor who is always trying to gain the upper hand; to do minimal work for the maximum price, to secure his payments, and to assure that you are locked into the project. While he may be running multiple projects simultaneously, it is no surprise that yours is likely to fall on the back burner. you are now at the mercy of when and how they will proceed with the project. Now they demand your compliance, else, you may never arrive to end of the project, except by extraordinary and unhappy means.

Now, this doesn't sound like very pleasant business, but unfortunately, it is a reality experienced by many. So how do you avoid getting yourself trapped in this situation which is every home remodeler's worst nightmare?

Look for the signs.

If a company trusts in its own employees expertise and the sales representatives confidence and knowledge of the product he is selling, than the customer's trust will be a satisfactory downpayment, because the true goal behind everything is to prove everything that was promised at the initial appointment, and to earn payment by honest means. Working in the remodeling business it is essential to maintain a perfect history of customer satisfaction, with the reputation that contracting has, and the amount of competition on the market, it is all too easy to choose the wrong company for the job. Don't let yourself be one of the many unsatisfied! Look for a company with a long standing history of excellent service within the community, never pay more than you bargained for, and do your research well! Otherwise; you may end up like the countless homeowners who wish they could tell you today the unhappy tales of being promised one thing and receiving another.

Timing - The best contractors are those who care about the project as much as you do, and who work around your schedule and household routines. Develop a timeline and a target completion date, be diligent in ensuring all of the companies working in your home are in communication with each other, poor communication and lack of care often lead to conflict, mistakes, and projects that drag on to extreme lengths.

Experience - The dissatisfaction of many homeowners lies in having hired workers with little expertise and experience. The consequences of this common mistake are a reflection of low-standards, poor quality, poor work habits, and shoddy business practices. According to the Administration of Small Businesses, choose a company with a minimum of 5 years of good standing in your community.

Quality - Hire a company who's comfortable with close supervision. It is an unfortunate fact that in situations where homeowners aren't likely to ask what's going on, contractors use sub par materials or generally do a sub par job. If they do the job at all, they may do shoddy work with low-grade materials. Regrettably, these tactics cheat homeowners out of $20 million per year in Colorado alone. Do not sacrifice the quality of materials used for savings, a few months from now you will not remember the small margin of an increased price, but you will deal with the reality of broken parts. But don't just take our word for it, ask your family and friends, ask the hundreds of thousands who have made this mistake and are now living with regret.

Service - If the company you choose to hire does not make you feel that they are concerned only about your best interest and are willing to do anything within their qualifications to ensure that you love the outcome of your project, then they most likely aren't interested in your personal welfare and benefit and you can expect poor customer service. Be scrupulous and trust your instincts; they will reward you in the end.

3. You CAN Have Exactly What You Want

Don't settle for less than you deserve. Often times kitchen remodeling companies will tell you that a certain feature you were hoping to have installed in your new kitchen is not only unreasonable but impossible. Every kitchen is as unique as it's owner and years in business have taught us that all dreams can be realized, whether they be design related or otherwise. Typically, if you are being told that something you want cannot be done for you, you are dealing with either a lazy contractor or a very limited one that is more concerned about his own interest. These omissions and adjustments imposed on you by your contractor often lead to dissatisfaction and regrets once everything is said and done. These commonplace practices can easily cheat you out of your investment opportunity completely. A quality contractor will consider all of your desires and won't, for example, talk you into buying a premanufactured wholesale cabinet or refacing a cabinet that should be replaced in order to make a quick buck. According to a recent study done by Remodelers 360, 93% of consumers who recently remodeled their kitchen said they would not have spent less on their project or would have spent more were they to do it again. This means that a few minor upgrades result in fewer regrets later and far greater satisfaction with the overall remodel, particularly given that many desired upgrades often equate to a relatively small fraction of the overall cost. Some of the things that these consumers reported they would have done differently were different/better cabinets, bigger change in the size of the kitchen, and better planning. In retrospect: that buying products they really wanted would have added little to the budget but would have added greatly to their overall long-term satisfaction. Let's take a quick look at the two key elements of remodeling satisfaction.

Quality - True quality built into the production and installation of your kitchen retains its beauty and durability for years to come, choosing a company with high standards in quality will protect you from frequent service calls and the frustration often caused by careless work, poor quality, and undependable service commonly associated with pre-manufactured cabinetry, retail cabinetry, and low grade materials.

Design - First class design is created individually for you, it doesn't come off of a shelf or from a catalogue. Since every kitchen space is different, the perfect design should be created with you right in your home, considering your personal desires, it is a fusion of your taste and the designer's expertise with an accent on not only beauty but functionality.

Wishing only the best for your upcoming kitchen project!