How To Achieve A 5-Star Renovation Experience – 3rd Star Criterion!

Our intent from the beginning of this 5-part Series was to provide you with some common sense interview questions, educated dialogue, and somewhat of a checklist for your family when selecting a Renovation Professional for your Home Makeover project.

If your desire is to truly have a Five-Star Experience, before, during and after your Home transformation project, these keys are designed to provide helpful education as you navigate one of the most challenging endeavours your family will embark on.

The next checklist will be helpful in the final decision-making process as you choose your Renovation Firm. It provides some basic understanding for you on the ins and outs of our industry and shows you how accomplishing your goals can be achieved; this is critical information that you need to know in order to make the best decision in awarding the right Builder Professional with your project.

If you watch any HGTV you’ll know that sadly it really is like navigating a minefield when attempting to find a Builder/Renovation Specialist that truly has your best interests at heart.

So here it is – Checklist #3:

1) Determine your investment comfort-zone before you begin your interviews; convey this to the Firms you are interviewing early in your discussions. Watch and listen carefully to the response of the Team on the other side of the table; and listen to your intuition; did the feeling of trust erode, or accelerate? If you honestly feel the Builder/Design Team is doing their best to get you the maximum value within your investment comfort-zone, chances are you are in good company.

2) Decide how you would score ROI (Return on Investment) or ROL (Return on Lifestyle). If you plan on being in your home for longer than 10 years, chances are you want to implement ‘Best-Practice’ decisions which include –

  • Great quality products installed in your home.
  • Environmentally conscious design and construction.
  • An extensively enhanced lifestyle as a result of your new Custom Home or Renovation.

These choices are what we call ROL; you may not ever see a true ROI on these choices but your ‘quality of life’ has been enhanced as a result of these choices.

3) Ensure the Firm you are considering is a member in good standing with RenoMark™, BBB & CRHBA. Good standing in these 3 categories mitigates an estimated 50% of your likelihood of a receiving a call from HGTV producers for the wrong reasons.

4) Become acutely aware of pros and cons with Design-Build with Builder accountability/liability to project costs; versus Cost-Plus with Homeowner accountability/liability to project costs. Determine who you wish to OWN that responsibility. Statistically more than 80% of projects that end up in litigation do so as a result of the Homeowner owning the cost accountability. A great question to ask those you are interviewing is “Have you been in court or been sued in the last 15 years?” (Need we to tell you what to do if they answer “Yes”?!)

5) Ensure they have been in business at least 15 years. In Alberta that means they’ve weathered at least one, if not two, economic downturns; chances are they’re financially sound and will still be in business to honour their warranty obligations.

6) Find out if they operate with a Team of Professionals from an established office or Design Studio. In Calgary, as the White Collar capital of Canada we all know that Professionals SPECIALIZE; your Builder-Team should be no exception. Be wary of a one-person show who says they can do it all.

7) Find out if they have an established record or historical data dating back at least 10 years of delivering projects on time and on budget and ask if they guarantee they will deliver your project both on time and on budget.

8) Ask if they engage in a 3rd Party Customer Satisfaction Survey after projects are completed; and find out if this historical data is available. Nothing tells the real story like a non-biased 3rd Party evaluation; getting references on the other hand will most certainly be cherry-picked.

9) Find out if they have opportunities to tour actual projects; preferably more than one that will also allow you to meet with or converse with the Homeowner.

If you can complete this 3rd Checklist along with the 1st and 2nd we posted in this series; and your Builder/Renovator meets “all of the above”, you should be smiling as they are scoring 3-Stars out of a possible 5-Stars!

When your project is completed, laughter, excitement and hugs should be common-place, not court rooms and lawyers! Your family should be thrilled with the experience from start to finish!

Check back for future postings when we present the ‘4th Star’ in your quest for a 5-Star Renovation Experience!