If you’ve never hired a professional firm to do a major renovation for you, you probably have some questions and concerns. Below are answers to some of the most common queries we receive. Of course, we can and will address all your concerns and questions during the planning process, but the below information can provide you with additional peace of mind and/or aid in your decision-making process. In reviewing the FAQ, you’ll get a better understanding of our process and how you can help ensure things run smoothly!
Do you design the spaces you build?
At JMF, we don’t design remodels and renovations. Instead, we have a team of architects and interior designers that we can refer you to in order to get your plans laid out for your new space. You can also choose to work with the designer or architect of your choice and bring us the design. We will, however, be happy to design your deck, porch, front entry, built-ins, and various architectural elements in other areas of your home.
I have the design ready for my project. What happens next?
We meet with you to talk about your project, using the design as a springboard for our discussion. Once we have a detailed understanding of what you’re looking for, we’ll create a comprehensive proposal for your review. You’ll sign the proposal and return it along with a deposit, which is usually around 10% of the total project cost.
Okay, we’ve signed our proposal and submitted our deposit! When can you start?
Before we can start the actual renovation work, we need you to pick out your materials. This is the fun part! But don’t delay, as it can really hold things up. If you need help choosing from the myriad of paint colors, countertops, tiles, and cabinetry finishes, let us know, and we can put you in touch with one of our interior designers. Once you’ve picked everything out, we will order the materials and agree on start and end dates as well as a payment schedule.
Once we’re ready to start, when and how will you gain access to my home?
Honestly, the best way to do this is for you to go on vacation and give us the keys! You’ll come home to a clean home and a completed project. What could be better? While this is certainly ideal, we understand it’s not always realistic, especially with an extensive remodel. We will ask you during our planning meeting if you have any travel plans coming up. If you do, we will take full advantage of your absence—with your permission, of course. If you have no plans to leave town, giving us your keys is the next best thing. We know this may make some people nervous, but we can assure you we have an impeccable reputation and do background checks on each and every one of the professionals we contract with. We are fully insured and bonded as well. That said, if you’re just not comfortable giving up the keys, you’ll need to be there to let us in and out. Please make sure we have always have access to the area we are working on when we need it in order to prevent unnecessary delays.
I’m worried about the potential mess and loss of access to my kitchen. How do you address these common concerns?
The first thing we do is move your essential appliances into the dining room and set you up with a makeshift kitchen. Then we mask off areas that we aren’t going to have access to. Be aware that when you walk through these masked areas, you WILL track dust into other areas of your home. Avoiding these masked-off doorways will go a long way toward keeping your home clean. We lay down mats to protect your flooring on the paths we’ll walk from front door to project area, and we’ll clean up at the end of each day. We know this can be a stressful time, and we do everything we can to keep your home as clean and comfortable as possible.
How long will this take and how can I avoid unnecessary delays?
The prep work and planning on a major remodel can take three to four months. Once we get underway, things will move quickly unless you change your mind along the way. That can really halt the process, as can restricting our access or not choosing materials in a timely manner. Sometimes, getting the necessary permits and inspections can take time. Once we get started, the average kitchen remodel takes three months and the average bath remodel takes one to two months. Other projects vary depending on the work involved. Another issue that often causes delays and headaches? Not allowing us to act as general contractor. Read on for more on this issue.
I was thinking about acting as the GC to cut costs. What are your thoughts?
When you choose to act as the GC, you’re signing up for a huge number of decisions and potential challenges you’re likely not equipped to handle. Regardless of how much knowledge you have of the construction/remodeling process, it requires a lot of time and attention to detail to manage a remodel. You need to research and hire subcontractors and then schedule them according to the job’s requirements. You risk scaring off quality subcontractors who don’t want to deal with the headaches associated with working with a homeowner who’s the GC, and if you’re lucky enough to get them aboard, you may end up frustrating or losing them along the way if you make scheduling errors a seasoned pro would know to avoid. Also, even the most talented of architects may not be able predict problems that come up during the course of a build, when plan changes need to be made on the fly. Without a professional GC, these decisions will be left to you. Ultimately, the cost savings are limited when considered alongside the time and energy you’ll put in by taking on the job yourself.
I’d like to talk to some of your customers. Can you provide me with references?
Of course! We have plenty of happy clients you can speak to. In fact, the vast majority of our business comes from repeat customers and via word-of-mouth marketing! Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide you with the names of clients whose projects were similar in nature to the one you’re planning.