There are quite a few differences between a home remodel in South Florida and the northern cities and states. From the more laid-back lifestyle to the tropical climate, it’s important to keep in mind some special considerations particular to the Sunshine State before embarking on a renovation.
Whether you want to update your home or buy a fixer-upper in Florida, it’s essential to do your research first. Before renovating your home in South Florida, have a look at these special considerations.
It’s never easy to find the right time to remodel your home, but if you live in South Florida, the good news is that the subtropical climate allows you to renovate your home at any time of the year. The busiest seasons for renovations in this area are fall and winter, so plan ahead if you want to schedule contractors during this period. The combination of heat and potential for hurricanes means that construction slows down in the summer in Florida, but this period is the perfect time to start planning your renovation.
Speaking of climate, a renovation is also an excellent time to think about making your home more suitable to the South Florida environment. Energy-efficient windows, roofs and appliances can significantly lower your electricity bills and also make your home more comfortable to live in. And while you are at it, make sure to upgrade roofs and windows to meet the latest hurricane standards.
2. Find the right general contractor
As mentioned above, the high level of activity in the housing market in South Florida means that there are lots of general contractors to choose from. This can be both good and bad for homeowners because while you’ll be able to shop around for the best quotes, there are also more chances of stumbling upon contractors that may provide subpar quality. As such, it’s crucial to do thorough research and read as many reviews as possible before hiring contractors for your home remodeling.
3. Ask lots of questions
Start by making a list of contractors you like to work with within South Florida, and then call them one by one to get more information. It’s vital to ask as many questions as possible to determine how much attention your home will receive, its availability, and its reliability.
Some of the most important questions to ask to include the following:
- Have you completed similar projects in the last year?
- Can I have a list of references?
- Will I need a permit for my home remodeling?
- What steps will you take to minimize noise and mess to my neighbors?
- Are you properly licensed and insured?
Perhaps the most important question you can ask is whether the contractor carries proper workers compensation insurance. Most consumers are unaware that under Florida law, if a worker is injured on the job, and the employer or the contractor is not properly insured, the injured worker and the state can pursue legal claims directly against the homeowner. A small renovation job can quickly turn into a major liability if you use a contractor who does not have proper workers comp insurance.
4. Get multiple quotes
After conducting multiple interviews, select two or three contractors to get quotes from. Don’t forget to ask for a cost breakdown of materials and labor and any other expenses that may occur.
Don’t automatically go with the lowest bid you get because that could mean that the contractor is cutting corners. By getting multiple quotes, you will also get a sense of how you will get along with the contractor you choose. After all, they will be in your home for quite some time, so it’s important to feel comfortable communicating with them.
5. Get everything in writing
After deciding on a contractor, it’s crucial to get everything you have agreed on in writing to protect yourself.
Here are some of the details you should include in the contract:
- Start date and the projected date for completion
- Payment schedule
- Proof of liability insurance
- Specific materials and products that will be used
- A condition that your contractor gets lien releases from suppliers and contractors
By having a contract, you will not only get some peace of mind, but you’ll also make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the work that should get completed.
6. Set up a payment schedule
Setting up a payment schedule is essential before starting the remodeling. Be wary of contractors that ask for half of the cost upfront because this could be a sign they are nervous you won’t want to pay the rest after you’ve seen their work, or it would also mean they have financial troubles.
As a rule of thumb, a payment schedule should start with 25% when you sign the contract, with two additional 30% payments as the job progresses and then a final payment of 15% when the work is complete.
7. Consider safety issues
Following the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, most reputable contractors in South Florida have comprehensive safety plans in place. It is vital to make sure that your contractor takes all the measures needed not to jeopardize the safety of your family and the well-being of the contractors while they work on your property.
Remodeling your home in South Florida takes a lot of planning, but you can make this task easier by following the tips above. From affordability to the best time of the year to start working on a remodel, make sure you take all factors into account to remodel your house exactly the way you want it to be, and with minimal disruption.