A while back, I sold a Beacon Hill condo to one of my clients that needed extensive renovations. I just recently asked him what he learned and would he like his experience with my readers and hopefully my future Boston condo for sale clients. So, fast forward to after going through all the building permits, demolition and preparing to move into his Boston Beacon Beacon Hill condominium. Needless to say, he was extremely excited to move into his new Beacon Hill condo…but he learned some valuable lessons, he’d like to share with you today.
Here are some of the red flags I have encountered while searching for a Boston condo renovation contractor:
- The company says that they will be in the neighborhood next week and pushes to schedule an appointment. It is true they will be in the neighborhood if you schedule an appointment. (This one was just a coincidence)
- Promises of a big discount if you sign up right now. They will tell you the can only offer you a discount right now.
- Asking various questions to determine the age of the homeowners. Some salespeople like to bully or scare older homeowners.
Some plumbers or electricians have a lot of favorable reviews on the internet but they charge a lot more than their competitors for the same quality work.
Do some research, ask around, and find out what a fair price is for the work your home repair project. The biggest company isn’t always the best choice neither are the franchises. The company with the best online appointment system may not make the best repair.
Oh and stay away from those online companies that will match you up with the right contractor. A better bet is to ask your neighbors, your friends, your REALTOR, and family if they know anyone and start from there. The “right” or “best” contractor on the web site is the contractor who paid to be on the website.
Lesson #1 – Paying for the Punch List.
Once the Beacon Hill condo renovation is all “done,” it’s time to walk through with the contractor to create the punch list of items to be addressed before moving in. What he learned later is that you have to pay for the labor to address most of the items on the punch list. For instance, every nit-picky issue with the drywall he wanted fixed, he had to pay for… He didn’t realize that. And he didn’t realize how fast those little things add up.
Lesson #2 – Inspections take forever.
Along the way, subcontractors—like plumbing, HVAC, electrical, etc.—call in city inspectors check and approve the work. It takes 3-4 days for the inspector to show up, then if there’s something wrong, it takes another week to fix the problem and get another inspection. After the entire Beacon Hill condo is done, the “final” inspector shows up. Typically, I’m told, this final inspection takes 30 minutes and the inspector is making sure things haven’t changed since the other inspections were completed. Well, this guy shows up with a stack of paper and took two hours to examine the Boston condo. He ended up flagging a couple additional issues that all the inspectors before him didn’t see fit to flag. A week later, we finally get full approval. You just have to roll with it, or it will drive you insane.
Lesson #3 – Make sure you have extra funds to pay missing invoices.
Turns out, we still had some loan funds available, which the lender disbursed to us.Good thing, because that will just about cover all the vendors that didn’t bill us during construction, like the dumpster provider.
His final few nuggets of wisdom for you, should you ever decide to renovate your Beacon Hill condo, remember to cancel your renters insurance, get back your rental security deposit, and cancel the builders risk policy. All the things we’ve already paid for but almost forgot about. And last, but not least, moving is a huge expense and it will take 8 hours, no less, even if you’re moving back into your own home.
Was it even worth it, you ask?
Resoundingly, yes, absolutely! There’s a lot of pain involved—and screaming and yelling, ;)—but you have to let go of your expectations, roll with it, and once it’s over, you have a beautiful work of art that will be part of you for the rest of your life