Why Buying Remodeling is Nothing like Buying a Car

Legacy jobsite photo

Craig consults with Plymouth client. Garage built, painting underway and preparing for driveway pour.

I recently heard the editor of Remodeling Magazine compare the experience of buying a remodeling project to that of buying a car. Crazy!

Before we purchase a $40,000 car or truck, we research brands and models (Sorry VW diesel), compare performance, safety, reliability and price, weigh options packages, and browse pictures and videos of exactly how our vehicle will turn out. Then, as we narrow the list, we even get to test the finalists in actual driving conditions to assess comfort, handing, ergonomics and ‘curb’ appeal before we secure financing and complete the transaction.

Now consider the experience buying a major remodeling project that often costs much more and has an even greater impact on our daily lives. Bottom line is that we commit to order something, sight unseen, that a group of independent tradesmen and suppliers will assemble over months in our home, probably while we are still living there. Oh, and no two projects (models) are exactly alike because options for floor plans, surfaces, materials and features are endless and must be fitted to our existing homes.

So how DO we gain the confidence to make sound remodeling decisions and end up with environments that suit our lifestyle, sense of style, practical needs and budget?

At the risk of oversimplifying, it’s about choosing the right general contractor, preferably somone who can oversee both the design and the build phases of the project for the best integration, accountability and budget control.

Choosing a general contractor

Craig Jansma photo

Initial measurements for master bath remodeling project in 5-bedroom colonial built in 1991.

As the housing market recovered over the past few years, the number of “paper” contractors has grown. These are people who know sales and how to run a profitable business but have no personal, hands-on experience remodeling homes. They see themselves as remodeling businesses, not remodeling contractors. They rely exclusively on subcontractors.

When you choose The Legacy Building Company, you get a business owner who learned construction – and business – from the bottom up. While I don’t strap on the tool belt every day like when I started, my team and my clients can count on me to understand every aspect of the job and find solutions when something unexpected arises.

You also should consider a general contractor’s systems and communications tools. In my book, they’re a lot more important than a big office and fancy showroom that  add a lot of overhead and a little convenience. The Legacy Building Company’s transparent, online JobSight platform encourages clear communication, orderly project flow and personal accountability. Remodeler who operate from their trucks and clipboard won’t have this valuable tool.

Although the Legacy Building Company can’t show you your finished project or let you take it for a spin up front, we don’t want you embark on your remodeling journey blind. So browse photos of Legacy projects on our website and Houzz page to develop a sense of what we do best. While you are there, read the online reviews that our clients post directly.  Look for consensus on both the remodeling experience and the outcome. We also can provide renderings and drawings to help you visualize your own project before demolition begins.

The editor was right. Buying remodeling services is nothing like buying a car. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do your homework and make smart choices. From everyone on Legacy Building Company team, we would be happy to help.

About the Author
Craig Jansma is the president of The Legacy Building Company Inc. in Minnetonka, MN.

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