Condo renovations are exciting and fun, but they can also be daunting. If you’ve never renovated a condo, you may not even know what questions to ask.
There can appear to be so much to think about. So many details to consider, such as shopping, decisions, time, and the list go on and on.
Because of the intricacies of remodeling, most condo owners hire a contractor. Even so, the decision can be overwhelming. How do you know whom to hire? Sure, you want to work with a trustworthy, friendly, knowledgeable, and reliable company with a good reputation and a great team—but don’t they all claim to be or have those qualities? How do you determine whether a contractor is a good fit for you and your project?
Questions to Ask During a Contractor Consultation
Once you have a short list, it’s time to talk with your chosen contractor(s) in more detail. Here are some questions that will help you learn more about the people and companies you are considering hiring for your remodel.
1. Have You Worked on Projects Similar To Ours?
You should always ensure that the contractor you hire has extensive experience working on projects similar to yours. A condo remodeling contractor’s knowledge and experience differ from that of a residential or commercial contractor. Ensure that you hire the ideal candidate for your project.
2. What Is Your Process Like? Do You Handle All Phases of The Project, From Design to Construction?
You want to work with someone whose process is clear and well-defined. They should be able to describe their project management process from start to finish in simple, concise language. This shows that the company knows how to set clear goals and tell people about them. If they do everything from design and renderings to helping you choose fixtures and finishes, getting permits, ordering materials, and building the project, they’re a Design-Build company, which uses a method that keeps the whole renovation process smooth and on track.
3. Tell Me More About Your Team. Whom will I Be Working With? Do You Hire Subcontractors?
Renovating a condominium is a team effort. During the process, you will probably work with a team of people, including the company’s direct employees and any subcontractors they hire for specialty trades. Because inviting these people into your life and home makes the process more intimate, you should trust the people you will be working with at all stages of the process.
4. What Is Your Work Routine Like?
When you’re remodeling, tradespeople will often be in and out of your condo for a few weeks. You’ll want to know when their workday begins and ends so you know when to expect visitors to your condo. You should also ask when you need to be there, if the company works on the weekends, and what will happen if you are away for part or all of the renovation.
5. Are You Licensed And Insured?
These regulations differ from state to state and even county to county. This is a good question to ask to learn more about your state’s regulations. It’s important to find out if the contractor has a license and insurance because you could be at risk if they don’t. Ensure the contractor has worker’s compensation insurance, required state licenses, and liability insurance.
6. How Many Projects Do You Have Going On, And What Is The Timeline For Our Project?
This is an important question to ask to ensure that the contractor is available to work on your project. You’ll also want to know when your project will begin and end. This is a general timeline until your project is fully designed, but it should help you plan and prepare for construction.
7. How Do I Communicate With You?
Communication is the key to a smooth, stress-free remodeling project. Your main contact with the company should always be clear, and you should feel like your voice is being heard. There must be a clear, solid way for you to talk with the contractor’s team. Ask for details, like how they communicate and how quickly they respond.
8. How Do You Handle Unforeseeable Setbacks With Projects?
An effective planning process reduces but does not always eliminate surprises in a remodeling project. It’s common to have a “hiccup” during construction, usually caused by hidden elements within the existing structure that aren’t exposed until construction begins. Your contractor should have the plan to deal with unforeseen elements not specified in your contract scope of work.
9. How Do You Ensure Project Costs? Should We Expect A Lot Of Additional Costs?
When renovating a condo, budget is often the first thing that comes to mind, and for a good reason. Some condo owners were burned by a previous remodeling experience in which they were hit with change orders that doubled the cost of their project. Before signing an agreement, you should understand which costs in your project are fixed and what additional costs to expect. Find a contractor who has a plan to minimize additional costs but is also honest about the possibility that they might happen.
What To Consider Before Remodeling Your Condo
Know Your HOA Rules
What things in your condo unit belong to you, and what things belong to the whole building? This is something that every condo owner needs to know. Some common things, like pools and gyms, are easy to spot, but plumbing and electricity may not be.
Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions are the rules that every homeowner’s association (HOA) has to follow (CC&Rs). You are legally bound to follow these rules when you buy a condo unit. The CC&Rs are extremely detailed to help you understand how the HOA defines common and condo elements that are yours. When first considering a remodel, these will be extremely useful.
Let’s say, for instance, that the faucet in your kitchen breaks. Since it’s your faucet, it’s up to you to fix it. But for that to happen, the plumber needs to turn off the water. Now, other people in the building may be affected. Did you get permission from your condo’s HOA to turn off the water so you could fix the leak? If you did, you could avoid trouble.
Another example would be replacing your unit’s windows with newer, more energy-efficient windows. It would be best if you considered whether the windows should match from the outside to contribute to the overall aesthetics of the condominium. While you may be responsible for maintaining the windows, you may not be allowed to change them unless you use a specific style or color approved by your HOA.
Even seemingly minor details, such as flooring selection, may be restricted during a condo remodel. For example, if you live in a stacked building with units on top of each other, you may not be permitted to replace the carpet in the living room with hardwood floors. The HOA could decide this because your neighbor in the condo unit below might think your hardwood floors are too loud and bothersome.
Adjust your timeline
When remodeling requests require the approval of an HOA, your timeline will most likely be changed. You will need to go through a process to obtain approval to make the changes you desire throughout the renovation, which could take some time. For example, your HOA may only meet once a month to discuss such renovation requests.
In addition to obtaining approval from your HOA, you may need to obtain building permits from the local jurisdiction where you live.
After you have obtained the necessary rights and permits, additional factors may slow down a construction timeline. Your HOA may have policies governing when and how materials can be brought into the building. Your HOA may also impose restrictions on the days and times when construction can take place. There may be limitations on the kind of elevators used to transport construction materials or the locations where contractors can park. Remember that your HOA ensures everyone in the community has a certain standard of living, which may cause hiccups in the condo remodeling process.
Ask For Assistance
Before beginning a remodeling project, it may be beneficial to talk with neighbors who have completed remodeling projects in the building and ask for recommendations and advice. You might also get contractor suggestions from your HOA or neighbors. Contractors who have previously worked in the building are familiar with things like:
- What the elevator turning clearances are so that contractors can move materials inside the condominium
- What license and insurance standards must the contractor meet to be permitted to work in the unit by the HOA
- The location of common elements such as pipelines, vents, and structural supports within the structure.
Call Us Today
We’d be delighted to help you turn your condominium dreams into a reality. To discuss your condo remodeling project, please contact our remodeling company in Cypress, Texas. Call us right away at 832-304-8152!