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Six steps to running a successful long-distance remodel of your home

(Public Domain Photo)

If you’re a snowbird or you take really long vacations, you’ve probably wondered about having your house remodeled when you’re not around.

What a concept! You avoid the difficulties of living in a construction zone and go back to find a great new kitchen or a beautifully renovated house.

There are advantages, according to Tom Reilly, owner of Renovations, a Prescott-area remodeler that has renovated many second homes in northern Arizona for Phoenix and Tucson residents.

“It is easier to work without having anybody living in a house but there are challenges,” he said.

Here are some key points to remember:

Choose wisely

When doing a long-distance remodel, it’s vital to choose a licensed, insured and highly experienced contractor whom you really trust to do the work when you’re not around.

You want to check out him or her thoroughly before you sign a contract. Call and visit with references. You may want to hire someone who you have used before.

Even if you’re not thinking about doing a remodel until next summer, start now on your research to find the right person.

Make a plan

Have the contractor give you a plan and timeline for the repairs as well as a finishing date, that way you can track what’s supposed to be done and when.

Provide the contractor with pictures and websites so he or she can visualize what you have in mind.

Decide before you go

Pick out and order all the flooring, paints, cabinets, appliances, hardware, sinks, toilets and whatever else is needed before leaving the area. Hopefully, almost all those materials will arrive at the remodeling site before your departure as well.

“It can be a challenge if the homeowner starts making selections from out-of-town dealers that may not be available locally,” Reilly said. “You can’t always get everything you want in some areas.”

Check in

Have the contractor email or text photos of his progress to you regularly so you can be sure of progress at the construction site. Have him shoot photos from several possible angles of various rooms or areas.

You might even want a video or two.

Don’t stay away too long

Talking on the phone regularly is fine, but you really should pay an on-site visit now and then to be sure that the job is moving along successfully.

You especially want to be around near completion time so that you can ask for any last-minute fixes that need to be done.

Stick with it

Try very, very hard not to make any change orders along the way. They will add to the expense of your remodel and will usually slow down the progress on your job.

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