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America is known for its rugged individualists and its I-did-it-my-way entrepreneurs. Homeowners are no exception to this rule. When it comes time to improve our dwelling, many of us elect to do the work ourselves. It can be personally satisfying, as well as a source of homeowner pride.
But the do-it-yourself, or DIY, path can be a slippery slope.
Before embarking down that slope, be sure to ask yourself these questions. Do you really enjoy physical work? Are you up to speed on building codes and permits? Do you have the tools and skills needed to pull it off? Do you have the patience, the persistence, even the time to complete the project?
To DIY or not to DIY, that is the question.
If your answer is to hire a professional remodeling contractor, you'll be in good company. From 1994 through 2003, homeowners completed almost 500 million improvement projects, with 60% of those completed by professional remodeling contractors.
Once you've decided to use a professional remodeler, it will help to understand the various types of remodeling contractors available to you and the service each type offers. According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) there are four primary types of remodeling contractors for you to consider: Architect, Designer, General Contractor and Design/Build Contractor.
• Architect - If your project is substantial enough, it will require blueprints or architectural renderings. Not all professional remodelers are licensed to create construction drawings, so you might need an architect. Be sure to seek an architect who specializes in remodeling projects.
• Designer - Licensed designers usually have expertise in specific remodeling areas. If you're looking at a limited remodel project, such as only updating a kitchen or bath, and you need a design, consider talking to a professional designer. A well thought out design can both meet your expectations and save you money.
• General Contractor - If your project has already been designed or will not require a professional design, consider going with an experienced general contractor. He or she can leverage years of experience in remodeling methods and materials to ensure that a design or plan is implemented correctly.
• Design/Build Contractor - To get the benefits of both a general contractor and an architect or designer from the same company, consider a Design & Build firm. This approach provides you with consistency and quality throughout the project's life span.
Next, we'll discuss how to find these four types of contractors and give you tips to choose the one that will work best for you. To read the next part of this article click the link below.