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The Biggest Home Remodeling Mistake to Avoid

What do homeowners really think about contractors?

Each year, Lowe’s attempts to answer this question with its annual State of the Pro report, a collection of insights gleaned from a survey of 1,000 homeowners and 1,000 contracting professionals. From our side of things, it really helps crystallize how we might improve home improvement — and in particular the customer experience. What do homeowners hope will go right? What do they fear might go wrong? And how do we change their doubt into confidence?

There is a lot in the report to unpack, but the most important takeaway was this: the biggest home remodeling mistakes to avoid all stem from a lack of preparation. What this means for you as a homeowner is doing your homework, whether you are taking on a project yourself or searching for a reliable contractor. Don’t DIY projects you aren’t confident you can DIY, and don’t hire a contractor who cannot meet expectations.

What to expect from a contractor that’s right for you

According to the State of the Pro report, home improvement professionals are generally held in high esteem — 78 percent of homeowners believe our kind deserves more respect, with 73 percent agreeing there’s a greater need for us than ever before. About 69 percent of them said the pandemic deepened their appreciation for the trades, likely due to both more time spent at home (and thus more things to find fault with) and also an industry-wide shortage of laborers.

Nonetheless, homeowners still have their reservations about what to expect from a contractor. In the State of the Pro survey, homeowners were asked to list the biggest challenges they had working with home improvement professionals. Here’s what they said, and how a reliable remodeling contractor (such as Ayars) will help navigate them.

Communication

Perhaps more than anything, transparency matters. Communication (or lack thereof) was at the root of most of the respondents’ frustrations, especially relating to:

  • Project cost: 61% of homeowners cited as a major challenge; 21% cited as a minor challenge
  • Project deadlines: 45% said delays were a major challenge; 36% said they were minor. About 37% of respondents were majorly frustrated by contractors not working within the timeframe expected (39 percent were mildly agitated).
  • Correspondence: 60% said non-responsive contractors were a major challenge, 21% said it was a minor challenge.

As this customer can attest, communication is a point of emphasis with the Ayars team:

“Working with Ayars was an absolute pleasure. They were very thorough and professional when they came out to do the initial estimate. During the construction process, they communicated frequently to keep us up to date with progress. The work area was kept neat and they really stuck to the timeline. The finished product was behind what we could have expected! Our basement looks amazing! I would highly recommend checking out their work- truly beautiful work AND amazing people to work with!” — Jason Bintliff

Credentials/certification

One of the key checklist items in choosing the right home remodeling contractor is ensuring that they are certified to perform every service they claim to offer. They should also carry liability insurance and furnish worker’s compensation to their employees (so that anything and/or anyone that is damaged on your property is not your legal responsibility).

Sixty percent of the Lowe’s survey respondents said that it was a major challenge working with a contractor that didn’t stand behind their work, with no form of warranty or quality assurance. If a contractor isn’t proud to show off their work, and confident they will do their job successfully, why use them?

Look for the proof, on the contractor’s service pages, portfolio pages, or in reviews from past customers:

“We have used Ayars services for several projects at three different homes. They consistently provide outstanding service exceeding our expectations. From roofing, windows and trim work to a complete remodel of our kitchen, living and dining rooms their work is exceptional. They show up on time, are considerate and clean up after themselves. Josh is always available to make sure you are happy with the services being provided. It shows that they take pride in what they do. We will definitely look to them again for our next project.” – Roseann Trendler

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Skills/craftmanship

It’s one thing for a contractor to do the jobs they say they can do; it’s another thing to do them exceptionally well. A distressing 64% of the State of the Pro respondents said they had been majorly dissatisfied with the work a professional did on their house (16% were at least displeased). A truly skilled remodeling contractor will leave you impressed withtheir handiwork, and turn a first-time customer into a repeat customer!

“This is our second time using Ayars Complete Home Improvements, and my husband and I wouldn’t use anyone else. We have had our master and guest bathrooms remodeled, and the entire project from planning to completion was seamless. Chip and Josh are perfectionists when it comes to design layout and installation. They are hands on and with our last remodel this summer, Josh was by at least once a week during the three weeks it took to complete construction. All of their employees – Chuck, Butch, and Eric – were attentive to what we wanted and made the entire process less stressful.” — Mariellen Kerns

Professionalism and respect

Homeowners hate a disorganized professional (51% strongly dislike, 29% mildly dislike), one that leaves a mess or leaves them hanging. Ayars takes tremendous pride in leaving each customer’s home better than we found it, being respectful of your property, neighborhood, and all the people in it. From start to finish, it is our hope that you won’t mind — and may even learn to enjoy — having us around, as did this customer:

“Ayars were absolutely spectacular from their designs, communication, craftsmanship, professionalism, and price point. They’ve been absolutely wonderful at answering our questions and concerns and were flexible with our wishes and wants. I would recommend them for any large or small home improvement projects.” — Nick Schober

Ayars makes it easy

Home remodeling shouldn’t be a headache. There’s a reason why Ayars is one of the most trusted and reliable contractors in all of South Jersey, and we are confident that our work speaks for itself.

How to Choose a Home Remodeling Contractor

As much as we’d like to believe in ourselves as a nation of DIYers, the fact of the matter is that most Americans are not handy — more than 80 percent enlist outside help for home improvement projects on an annual basis. Although many prioritize essential utilities like HVAC, electrical, and plumbing in their budgets over shelling out for a professional home remodeling contractor, home remodeling services remain highly coveted — particularly for kitchens and bathrooms.

While kitchens and bathrooms typically require the most investment, any project is an investment, which is why knowing how to choose a home remodeling contractor is crucial. Given the constant demand, there are a lot of us out there — but how do you know whether they’re the right fit? Before you sign up, make sure you can answer the following questions.

Do they have the capabilities?

Your first priority is finding a home remodeling contractor with compatible areas of expertise. If you’re using a search engine, be as specific in your query as you can in describing the job you want to have done. 

The contractor’s website should be upfront about what they can and cannot (and/or will and will not) do, whether that information is divulged on the homepage, a services overview page, or in a list of FAQs (frequently asked questions). Service subpages and portfolio pages can give you a great snapshot of what the contractor is capable of. 

What is their reputation?

The best predictor of the future is the past — if you want to know how to choose a home remodeling contractor, start by confirming that others would choose them. Read reviews on Google, Facebook, and sites like Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Houzz, and Porch.com. What do past clients have to say about the contractor’s:

  1. Communication skills and accessibility? 
  2. Adherence to budget and schedule? 
  3. Quality of work and materials?
  4. Professionalism, respect, and stewardship of their property?

There will always be outliers whenever and wherever opinions are gathered, but the consensus will rarely lead you astray. Social proof is incredibly important in this business.

Are you in their service area?

Choosing a home remodeling contractor that is close to you is common sense for a lot of reasons:

  1. A local contractor will know your community best (and vice versa).
  2. A local contractor will know the area’s zoning laws and restrictions best.
  3. A local contractor has the ability to be more attentive and responsive to your needs.
  4. If a contractor is willing to range too far beyond its base of operations, it could be a major red flag — why are they unable to find work in their own area? Are they reputable? Be wary of unfamiliar or unproven companies.

(See Ayars Complete Home Improvements’ service area in South Jersey)

Are they licensed?

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway — do NOT choose a home remodeling contractor who is not properly licensed or certified to do the work! Licensing and certification requirements vary by jurisdiction and the type of job, so there is no universal answer of what to look for. But for anyone to enter and perform work on your home without the proper (or any) credentials is not only unethical, it’s unlawful. 

Beyond licensure and certification, the home remodeling contractor should possess liability insurance (to cover any potential damages to your property) and offer worker’s compensation to their employees (so you are not liable for any injuries/accidents that happen on your property).

Why choose Ayars as your home remodeling contractor?

If you live in Gloucester or Camden counties in South Jersey, you should choose Ayars as your home remodeling contractor because:

  • We’ve been serving South Jersey since 1970, an area we know and love — it’s our home, too!
  • We’re committed to the continuous education and certification of our employees, to develop a level of craftsmanship seldom paralleled in our industry. 
  • We have over 7,000 satisfied customers to our credit
  • We’re fully insured (General Liability and Worker’s Compensation)
  • We’re a Guild Quality member, Angie’s list certified, and own an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

And remember, if you have any further questions or concerns, we are only a quick phone call or message away.