How to Find the Best Contractor for your Main Line Renovation
The Main Line area just west of Philadelphia offers much to attract today’s homebuyer, from fantastic shopping and dining to family-friendly attractions. It’s also an area rich in history, including its architecture—which means many of the best homes in this area were built decades (and sometimes even centuries) ago. If you’re looking for property or live in Ardmore, West Chester, Malvern or other communities along the Main Line, finding a good local general contractor to renovate is a must.
We spoke with the experts at Sweeten, a free service that matches homeowners with vetted general contractors throughout Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks Counties, to gather some tips to help you prepare for your next home remodel.
Start with Your Needs and Wants
What type of renovation are you considering? Do you need a whole-home remodel, or just one or two rooms? Begin by making two lists—a “need” list and a “wish” list. On the first, write down the updates that are non-negotiable for you—things you must have. The second list should contain upgrades that are optional if the budget is available. Note that some items might actually appear on both lists; for example, new countertops might be on your need list, but granite countertops might appear on your wish list.
Determine Your Remodel Budget
Next, it’s time to determine how much your renovations will cost and create a budget for them. Entire home renovation projects typically start at an average of $100 per square foot but may go higher depending on the scope of work or the room itself. For example, kitchens and bathrooms may cost more per square foot than a bedroom due to the additional cabinetry and fixtures. (This guide to Philadelphia renovation costs may also help you determine a budget.)
Next, refer back to the two lists you made. Your goal is to check of all the items on your “need” list and add as many as possible from your “wish” list.
Choose Your Renovation Team
Whether your home is in Bryn Mawr, Chester Springs or Chadds Ford, finding skilled, trustworthy contractors may be one of the most challenging parts of your project. You can go to the trouble of researching and vetting them yourself, but you still run the risk of hiring someone who is dishonest or incompetent. A safer, time-saving alternative is to work with a contractor matchmaking service like Sweeten, which Philly Mag credits with “helping Philadelphians find the right people to do their home renovations.”
Sweeten is a free service that matches you with a short list of carefully screened local contractors in the Main Line area based on the scope, budget and timeline of your project. You then look over general contractors’ work and reviews, schedule to meet with the ones that interest you, compare estimates and select a pro who best suits your needs and communication style.
“We check in with homeowners throughout the process,” explains Jean Brownhill, Sweeten’s founder and CEO. “We're there from beginning to the end to make sure everything's going according to plan. If there’s an issue, Sweeten is there to get things back on track. We want clients to enjoy the process of renovating as well as the result.”
Plan ahead, decide on your budget and choose your team wisely to ensure a low-stress, high-payoff renovation experience. Ready to start renovating your Main Line home now? Go on over to Sweeten to post your project and get matched with the right general contractors for your home.
Sweeten is a free service that matches people with major renovation projects to the best general contractors, providing support until the job is done. For more information, visit sweeten.com or call 212-671-1713.