Q. How much money down does a remodeler / contractor typically ask for to start a job.

A. There are many different scenarios that determine a payment schedule in the remodeling industry. Receiving some sort of down payment at signing is a good practice to ensure a customer’s sincere intent to do the project. A payment schedule should be part of the contract language. Typical down payments are 25% to 33%. Sometimes even higher depending on the type of work being done . A down payment is highly recommended when products have to be ordered by the contractor immediately. Doors, windows, cabinets and specialty items are usually ordered well before the construction starts. The monies collected at the closing are insurance that the ordered products can be paid for by the contractor and not he /she is left with a pile of bills if the unforeseen should happen. Dividing a project into 3 or 4 equal payments allows the contractor to keep abreast of the project’s labor and material costs. Payments are most likely tied to a production schedule with predefined milestones.

These are only suggested down payments. Although these reflect a norm in our industry down payments and a payment schedule can be what ever is negotiated between the contractor and client. The important think to remember is that a business cannot survive without a cash flow.

Q. How much should my remodeling project cost?

A. This really depends on the size and scope of your project. The materials chosen, the size of the room, and age of the infrastructure can all impact the project cost. Remember when you are comparing bids, that you are comparing the exact same scope from each contractor. If a price comes in that looks to good to be true, it probably is. How much value will my remodeling project add to my home? This also depends on the scope of your project, and you may be surprised which projects add the most value.

Q. How long should my project take?

A. Again, this depends on the size and scope of your project, and what is found during demolition. Unforeseen problems can crop up once walls are taken down that require additional work. Ask your remodeling contractor for the most reasonable timeframe and stay in touch with him or her as the project progresses, so you can plan for a finish date.

Q. I have three different estimates, and the prices vary greatly. Why?

A. There are a number of different factors that go into pricing a remodeling project and choosing the right contractor. Be sure that every estimate has the same scope of work. If the estimates are vague and you cannot interpret that information, go back to the contractor for clarification in writing. If you are unable to get adequate written clarification, it may be wise to eliminate that remodeling contractor from the bidding process.

Q. Why should I remodel green?

A. It’s easier on the earth, it can lower energy costs, and it provides a healthier home in which to live. According to the Sustainable Building Industry Council (SBIC), housing alone consumes 20% of America’s energy. Homeowners who choose to remodel green can lower their energy consumption by 30-50%. It’s widely agreed that forests produce 40% of Earth’s oxygen, and that building supplies use 25% of its forests. Tankless water heaters can help save money of energy costs. Remodeling green by incorporating recycled materials or sustainable species will help homeowners to tread more lightly on Earth’s natural resources. More than 15 million Americans are estimated to have asthma, and more than 28 million Americans suffer from hay fever and other allergies, all of which are aggravated by poor indoor air quality, which can be improved by remodeling green. Solar power is also a popular choice when considering going green.

Q. What can I expect to do while a remodeling project is being done in my home?

A. Most importantly, keep the lines of communication open between you and the remodeling contractor and the work crew. Ask questions. Let them know what your family schedule is and whether you have pets confined somewhere. It’s important to keep the work areas off limits to children and pets for their safety; however, you may have a little extra dust and dirt in your house, so keeping the work area off limits will avoid them tracking the dust to other parts of the house.

Q. When is a building permit required for a home remodel?

A. A building permit is required if you are building more than 100 sq ft or moving walls or doors, a building permit is required in the City of San Antonio.