If you are a homeowner with a renovation project in mind, you may be hesitant to put your plan into action because you don’t know how to get started. Here are steps you can take and a list of must-have qualities to look for in a contractor.

Step One: Research what your project will cost using resources like the Remodelers Cost vs. Value Report.

Step Two: Understand your finances and how you will pay for your project. Financing your project will take longer than using cash resources, so understanding your funding source will help you plan accordingly with your contractor for project start dates and mobilization.

Step Three: Attend the Seacoast Virtual Home Show and make a list of 3-5 contractors you want to learn more about.

Great Northern Builders Spotlight Projects

Step Four: Put together a list of must have qualities for a contractor. Here are six qualities Great Northern Builders suggests you consider when you hire your contractor:

Len Bogh and Maya Bogh of Great Northern Builders
Len Bogh and Maya Bogh of Great Northern Builders
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1. Training & Accreditation: At Great Northern Builders, Len Bogh is a Certified Aging In Place Specialist and Maya Bogh is a Certified Graduate Remodeler, both through the National Association of Home Builders. Homeowners looking to work with a reputable remodeling contractor should make sure to ask about any designations the contractor has, as well as their commitment to continuing education. Building professionals working in the State of Maine are not required to hold a license to operate, so asking these questions to make sure your builder has the proper training is crucial. Great Northern Builders is committed to ongoing education into the latest advances in building science.

2. Warranty: One of the areas Great Northern Builders makes sure their clients understand is the Great Northern Builders’ warranty process. Perhaps based on past experiences with other trades people, some clients worry that once they make their final payment, and work is complete, that they will never see them again.

In fact, just the opposite is true. Their goal is that every Great Northern client becomes a client for life. Their post production, and warranty process are as much a part of their work as any other phase of a project and they are a part of what makes clients come back to us for multiple projects over the years. Using their project management software to submit questions or concerns is easy. They work with quality trade partners and quality products, and have skilled carpenters on staff, so they do not expect issues, but when they do pop-up, they are well equipped to respond.

When considering hiring a contractor, their advice (other than call Great Northern) would be to ask them: “Describe your warranty process to me”. Warning - you may see some blank stares! But if you are dealing with a high quality, professional company, they will be able to clearly and succinctly describe their process in detail.

3. Process: Having work done in your home can feel chaotic, so you’ll want to make sure you ask a contractor if they have processes in place to make sure the project will run smoothly. In Great Northern Builders' 20+ years of experience, they have put in place a highly developed process to streamline and make the remodeling workflow as efficient as possible. It is their goal to make their work together a predictable and stress free remodeling experience.

4. Communication: One area where many contractors can fall short is communication with the homeowner. Great Northern Builders has invested in a collaborative project management tool called Co-Construct. This state of the art platform is important to us because we believe that frequent communication and transparency removes a lot of the questions and unknowns that often come up in the home remodeling experience.

5. References: If you find a contractor that you’re ready to work with, before you sign the contract, make sure to ask for references who can speak to projects of similar size and scope. Don’t be afraid to ask for trade and vendor references as well.

6. Likability: Last but not least is trusting your gut. If you have a bad feeling about someone you’re considering hiring, trust your intuition. You will be spending a large amount of time with your contractor in the planning and construction phases of your project. They will be in your home frequently, so don’t discount the likability component - it’s important.

Step Five: Speak with your list of 3-5 contractors to learn more about working together. This should include an in person meeting for the contractor to get eyes on your project.

Once you complete these five steps, you will have the information you need to make a decision. Put your plan into action so you can finally get that home update you’ve been dreaming about.

If you want to learn more about Great Northern Builders, call 207-615-0479 or visit greatnorthernbuilders.info.

As another look at their work, here are some before and after photos for a recent condo renovation:

Before and After