Tips for Hiring a Remodeling Contractor

Molly Buttleman

Embarking on a home remodeling project can be an exciting yet daunting endeavor. Whether it's updating your kitchen, adding a new bathroom, or reimagining your living space, the success of your renovation largely depends on the contractor you choose. Hiring a skilled and reliable remodeling contractor ensures your vision becomes a reality within budget and on time. Here are some tips to help in selecting the right contractor for your home renovation in Grand Traverse County.

Define Your Remodeling Project

Before reaching out to contractors, have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. Detailed plans and a list of specifications will help contractors provide accurate quotes and suggest realistic timelines. This clarity will also minimize misunderstandings once the project is underway.

Start with Recommendations

Word-of-mouth is invaluable when it comes to finding a reputable contractor. Ask friends, family, and neighbors in Grand Traverse County about their experiences and whether they would recommend their contractor. Local real estate professionals, like Molly Buttleman, often have insights into the best contractors in the area.

Check Credentials and Experience

Once you have a list of potential contractors, do your homework. Verify their licensing with the state of Michigan and ensure they carry both liability and workers' compensation insurance. Experience specific to your project type is crucial, so ask for examples of similar projects they've completed.

Read Reviews and Check References

Online reviews and testimonials can provide insight into a contractor's reliability, quality of work, and customer service. However, take the time to contact references directly. Previous clients can offer detailed feedback on their experience, including any challenges faced and how the contractor handled them.

Get Multiple Estimates

Obtaining multiple bids helps you understand the cost range for your project and assess what each contractor offers. Be wary of bids that are significantly lower than others, as this could indicate a lack of experience or cutting corners. A detailed bid should transparently list all costs, including labor, materials, and any subcontractor fees.

Assess Communication and Professionalism

The contractor you choose will be a significant part of your life during the renovation. It's essential that you communicate well and feel comfortable with them. Their professionalism in initial meetings, responsiveness to your inquiries, and ability to clearly explain processes are good indicators of future project management.

Understand the Contract

A well-drafted contract is fundamental to a successful remodeling project. It should include a detailed description of the work to be done, materials to be used, timelines, payment schedules, and how changes to the project will be handled. Ensure you understand every part of the contract before signing, and don't hesitate to ask for clarifications.

Discuss Project Management

Understand how the contractor plans to execute the project. This includes their team, the role of subcontractors, daily work schedules, and how they intend to protect your property during construction. Knowing who will be on-site managing the day-to-day operations is essential for communication and accountability.

Plan for Contingencies

Renovations often uncover unexpected issues, particularly in older homes. Discuss with your contractor how unforeseen problems are identified, communicated, and resolved. Having a contingency budget of 10-20% above the project estimate is wise to cover these surprises.

Focus on Quality

While budget is an important consideration, the quality of workmanship and materials will determine the longevity and value of your renovation. Invest in quality where it counts, and trust your contractor's advice on where to allocate your budget effectively.

Stay Involved

While you've hired experts, your involvement is key to the project's success. Stay engaged, ask questions, and make decisions promptly to avoid delays. Regular site visits and meetings with your contractor can help keep the project on track and ensure your vision is being realized.

Prepare for the Unexpected

Renovation projects can be stressful and often take longer than anticipated. Prepare for dust, noise, and some level of disruption to your daily routine. A reputable contractor will make efforts to minimize these inconveniences, but patience and flexibility will make the process smoother for everyone involved.

Ready to Get Started?

Renovating your home can significantly enhance its comfort, functionality, and value. By carefully selecting a remodeling contractor who aligns with your project goals, you can ensure a successful and rewarding renovation experience. Remember, a successful home improvement project not only transforms your living space but can also elevate your property's appeal and market value.

As you contemplate future projects or consider the impact of your renovations on your home's value, Molly Buttleman stands ready to provide expert Grand Traverse County real estate guidance. Her knowledge of the local market and dedication to her clients' needs make her an invaluable resource for homeowners looking to navigate the real estate landscape.

Ready to transform your home or explore new real estate opportunities? Reach out to Molly Buttleman today, and take the first step toward realizing your home's full potential. Let her expertise and passion for Grand Traverse County real estate guide you through your next big adventure.


Molly is known for listening and problem-solving, often putting her own real-life buying, selling, and renovating experience to use for her clients. Her construction industry connections also give her clients an extra sense of trust, especially if they are looking to add value to a property with a remodel.

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