11 biggest remodeling mistakes

Choosing your contractor based just on price

It’s understandable that you’d want to choose the contractor who gives you the lowest bid. With your plans and design already finished, aren’t you just hiring labor?

"Homeowners look at price as the primary differentiator and tend to assume that everyone will provide the same quality, level of service, turnaround time and the same set of specifications," says Barry Miller, president of Simply Baths and Showcase Kitchens, a design-build remodeling company in Monroe, Connecticut.

But you can't know if you're comparing bids for a similar scope of work unless you give a detailed list of project specifications to each prospective contractor.

Your specifications should include the following:

  • Project summary.
  • Architect’s plans.
  • Designer’s plans.
  • Start and finish dates.
  • Details for each trade. For example, a paint job should specify the paint grade, number of coats and color, Miller says.
  • Special parameters. Miller says it’s important to let contractors know about factors that might complicate the job, such as a family member with asthma or your homeowner’s association’s limits on work hours and days.