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Do You Need to be Home at Time of a Handyman Service?

You’ve thought about your remodeling project for months.  You’ve laid out plans and found the perfect contractor. But there’s the big question of whether you should stay in your home or move out during the construction.  No matter how big or small the project, you need to decide if you are more comfortable staying in your home while the remodeling or repairs take place, or if you feel okay with letting your contractor have complete access to your house.

There’s no easy answer to this question, so let’s go over some of the ways you can decide between your options and steps you can take to protect yourself and your belongings.  Some of the considerations are what type of remodeling you are requesting, the kind of equipment that will be used, the type of mess that will be made, if the homeowner has pets or children, how much time the contractor estimates will be needed, and what hours of the day construction will take place.

Type of Remodel

You may only need one room improved, several rooms worked on, the entire house remodeled, or even a second story added that would also need a new roof.  Some homeowners may decide the project is just too much and opt to go to stay with a relative or move into a hotel for awhile. The decision of whether to remain in the home while work is underway will probably depend largely on whether the family will be able to live, cook, sleep, and relax after the workers are gone or maybe while they are still there.  

The most popular types of single room improvements are remodeling the kitchen or bathroom.  If there is more than one bathroom, being excluded from another one may only be an inconvenience.  However, most homes only have one kitchen. A temporary kitchen can be set up for cooking and food storage for a short time.  One homeowner worked completely off the island with a microwave, bar fridge, and hot plate while new cabinets, countertops, and appliances were installed, but when looking back she didn’t recommend this.  If there is only one bathroom in the house, things may get trickier. This is one project that may require moving out for a little while.

Type of Equipment Used and the Mess Created

There are many types of home renovation that will result in large amounts of dust, wood shavings, and pieces of material lying around the work area.  In addition, there will probably be saws and other electrical equipment that demand experienced professionals with proper protection. You contractor may decide it is necessary to use filtering devices such as fans and air filters to reduce dust.  He may also be able to work around your time in the home to decrease loud noise while you are there.

It is common practice to seal off construction areas as much as possible with plastic.  Verify with your contractor if this will be done. If it wasn’t planned and you prefer it is done, ask him to take care of it or recommend a company that will do it for you.  This is really something you don’t want to do yourself.

Kids and Pets

Children and pets are good enough at finding dangerous things to get into without remodeling taking place in their home.  While workers are doing their job, children must be closely supervised every minute.  When workers have left for the day, it is advisable to block off the construction area if at all possible and be sure all solvents are out of reach and equipment is unplugged.

Due to the noise and possibility of being underfoot and in danger, it is best to remove pets to a kennel or a temporary home until construction is finished.

Contractors and Homeowners Have to Talk

Some owners like to stay home during remodeling because they want to follow the progress of the construction.  Short chats with the contractor to ask questions are good communication for both parties. However, your project might lag behind if these talks get too complicated.  All the details should be ironed out ahead of the workers arriving on site. “New ideas” and sudden changes in the owner’s mind are never good. A great solution is for the contractor to give online updates, photos, and to allow convenient communication through emails.  

Please, don’t offer to help.  We’re the professionals and our insurance probably won’t cover accidents that occur with non-employees – regardless of how well-meaning they are.

Steps for Peace of Mind

Any homeowner should be uneasy about handing over house keys to pretty much total strangers.  A solution for this is to install a lock box like realtors have. The lockbox is located on one entrance and contains a single key.  Or you can give one key to the contractor with strict orders not to have duplicates. If you want to be super careful, have one door with a different lock, give the contractor access to the key, and change the key after the project is completed.

If a worker shows up when the contractor isn’t personally there, which is very common, you should still know when he’s coming.  If you don’t, call the contractor and tell him to take care of this. The employees of your contractor should not have total access to your home any time simply because they’ve been trusted with the key.

Surely you have homeowners insurance for theft or accidents.  Read our post on researching a contractor’s insurance coverage for events such as a fire or a truck sliding through your garage door (I’ve heard of that!).  Be sure and have a list of valuables in the home such as game consoles and entertainment systems, and lock away the family’s jewelry collection. This being said, if you don’t trust your contractor not to have thieves for employees, you should probably find another contractor or stay in the home during periods of construction.

Feel free to ask as many questions as you like during the planning process, and taking notes is a great idea.  This will help us to completely understand your project and you should have complete confidence in our abilities to upgrade your home.  Once we’ve met and discussed your project and gone over any arrangements necessary for entry, and for final project inspection by yourself or someone designated by you, then we can carry out your project while you’re going about your day as usual or you can take a little vacation from your home while we do the work.  We know we are guests in your house and will remain respectful of that each moment we enter the door.

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Don’t exhaust yourself using multiple contractors for numerous projects. We have a very broad knowledge base and expertise that can meet all you needs.