Remodelors' Council – Taking the guesswork out of choosing a remodelor
Council Directory
For many homeowners, the new year brings with it thoughts of home improvement, perhaps a new deck, a bigger kitchen, or even a three room addition. But then you hear the bad news - "remodelers" who accept large down payments and then skipped town, new roofs that collapse under the weight of a heavy snowfall, and jobs begun but never completed. It's enough to make anybody wary.

The good news, though, is that by asking the right questions and looking in the right places, you can find a professional remodeler who will do an excellent job that both raises your home's value and makes it more enjoyable for many years to come. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelors Council offers the following suggestions to ensure that your remodeling job is smooth sailing:

Do not conduct business with any remodeler or contractor without first investigating his or her reputation and experience. Price alone is not an indication of the remodeler's competency or ability to complete your project.

When searching for a contractor, it is best to seek referrals from family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who have had remodeling work done. Ask if they are satisfied with their project and with the contractor they hired. Also, check with local trade organizations, such as the Remodelors Council of Fort Wayne at (219)420-2020 for the names of members who offer remodeling services. Membership in these organizations indicates a remodeler's commitment to professional customer service and quality construction. It is also a sign that the remodeler is an established member of the local building community.

Check with your local or state consumer protection agency or Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been filed against the remodeler that have not been resolved. However, do not automatically assume that is there is no record of complaints against a particular remodeler that there have not been any problems; it may be that such problems exist, but have not been reported.

Check with your state's licensing agency or local building department inspectors to verify that the remodeler has the appropriate license and a clean record.

Ask for a copy of the remodeler's insurance certificates to verify that he/she carries insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries.

When evaluating bids from contractors, make sure that they are based on identical project specifications. Although it is common practice to make a down payment when you sign a remodeling contract, you should be especially wary of any remodeler who asks for full payment before the job has begun. A payment schedule should be part of your written agreement with the remodeler and may, for example, be tied to completing various stages of the job.

If you sign a contract in your home that is offered through door-to-door solicitation, always remember that the Federal Trade Commission's "Cooling Off" rules gives you the right to cancel the agreement within 72 hours, provided that you have not allowed the contractor to begin work on the project.

Homeowners should be aware that there are industry guidelines that set out minimum performance criteria which responsible remodelers will follow. NAHB's book, Residential Construction Performance Guidelines For Professional Builders and Remodelers, can be purchased by calling (800) 368-5242, ext. 463.

NAHB's "How to Find a Professional Remodeler" brochure takes homeowners through the process of finding and selecting a remodeler. Single copies are available at no cost to homeowners who send a business-size (#10) self-addressed, stamped envelope to: NAHB Remodelors Council, Dept. PT, 1201 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005-2800.

Code of ethics

All Remodelors' Council members subscribe to a Code of Ethics based on professional workmanship and customer satisfaction.

We pledge to…

    conduct our business operations in a manner that will reflect credit upon ourselves, the Remodelors' Council, and the remodeling industry.

    comply both in spirit and letter with rules and regulations prescribed by law and government agencies for the health, safety and welfare of the community.

    avoid any statement or implication which may be misleading or deceptive.

    describe accurately and honestly the price, materials and standards of workmanship used in each project.

    use only materials and products equal to and exceeding the quality of those specified in the contract.

    start the construction process as soon as feasible upon award of a contract and proceed diligently to completion of the project without unnecessary delays.

    cooperate with the Remodelors' Council in responding to and resolving complaints registered against my company or other council members.

    participate in the Better Business Bureau arbitration program as prescribed for all builder members of the Home Builders Association of Fort Wayne, Inc.

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Home Builders Association
of Fort Wayne