It happened again this afternoon. A homeowner came into the design studio, to look at cabinets. As we chatted, I discovered the reason she’s looking is because the outfit to whom she’d already given a deposit is not returning her phone calls. They were past their installation date, and she’s come to the realization that her deposit is probably lost. She said, ‘He was a friend;’ was being the operative word here. I asked the name of the company. She told me, but I didn’t recognize it. That is unusual for me as I have heard of most of the kitchen design professionals in the area. She then told me that he usually did closets, but he was doing the kitchen for her as a favor. Some favor…
Economic downturns have many negative facets. As a homeowner, you have to do your homework and be aware of who you’re dealing with. If one person’s price is much lower than everyone else’s – that’s probably a bad sign. If they just ‘branched out’ into the type of project you’re considering – probably another bad sign. And, believe it or not, it takes a whole different mindset to remodel a home than it does to build one. If you have a remodeler who has only done new construction in the past, don’t expect them to automatically have the sensibilities to conduct a project while the homeowner is living in the house.
Do your homework – ask for references. Make sure the references aren’t all for 5 year old projects either. Ask to see some finished projects – or projects under way now. Make sure you satisfy any nagging questions you might have about a potential kitchen remodeler. Trust your gut – if the price sounds too good to be true, be wary of it.
A tight economy means that there are more people vying for your remodeling dollar than ever before. You’ve got to protect yourself and make sure that you are dealing with a reputable kitchen & bath specialist. Don’t get taken to the cleaners.