Homeowner Consultants are a new arrival to the real estate and residential contracting industries. This article from The Honest Carpenter will explain exactly what homeowner consultants do, and how they can help you save time and money when making important decisions about your home.
Here’s A Common Scenario:
One day, while standing in your kitchen, you notice a small, dark stain on the ceiling. It seems harmless enough. But a week later, the stain has become a platter-sized blot, and a steady drop of water has formed at the center.
You know that something needs to be done. So, you call a contractor – or three contractors – to come out and take a look.
The contractors arrive and examine the spot. They begin to lay out complex theories about where and how the problem originated. They mention ceiling joists, roof penetrations, boot flashing, condensation pans.
Their language is unclear and confusing. Their estimates for a repair vary drastically in scope and cost.
So, who do you choose for the project? And how can you be sure that your contractor is giving you trustworthy information, and that their costs are justified?
Before you make a decision, there is one very important thing to consider…
An Estimate Is Not An Impartial Opinion!
A common misconception amongst homeowners is that contractor estimates can serve as a source of critical information about their homes.
This is not the case!
An estimate is a business proposition between a contractor and a homeowner. And the bottom line in a business proposition is, unfortunately, always profit.
When your contractor is putting forth an estimate, their primary concern is job value. As business people, they naturally want jobs with high value versus investment. And, if they are good business people, they will look for opportunities to increase value while limiting investment of time, labor and materials.
This is not to say that contractors are inherently dishonest. They simply have a different set of priorities going into the arrangement than a homeowner might have.
But, the reality of the situation does blur the lines between accountability and profitability.
The single turn of a phrase can influence the cost of your job by hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And if a dishonest contractor does see an opportunity to squeeze more value out of your job, they will likely twist the information they’re presenting to influence your decision-making.
Therefore, you should never let your contractor–or contractors–be your only source of information about your home.
So, who do you turn to for informed, but impartial, information about your home?
Answer: a Homeowner Consultant!
What Is a Homeowner Consultant?
A homeowner consultant is an independent trade expert who can evaluate the details of your home-related concerns and offer trustworthy professional advice.
Their independence is precisely what creates value and reliability for a Homeowner Consultant. Given that they are not in the running to earn your project bid and carry out the labor, their opinion is the only one that can be considered truly impartial.
A small fee is transacted between the homeowner and consultant by way of compensation. And thanks to smartphone camera technology and web capabilities, consultations no longer have to be local–the entire meeting can happen by remote from almost anywhere in the country!
This is something of a new concept in the home industry, where transparency and information have always been difficult to come by.
We here at THE HONEST CARPENTER are extremely proud to be at the forefront of this new and exciting service. And we are constantly expanding the ways in which we can help our clients.
For a discussion of topics that a Homeowner Consultant can help you with, read on…
How Can A Homeowner Consultant Help?
Homeowner consultants are trade experts who have learned their professions by working within the construction industry for many years. Therefore, they have an insider’s knowledge of how contractors develop contracts, negotiate with clients, and execute projects.
In other words, homeowner consultants know all the tricks.
Homeowner consultants can look for vague or disconcerting language in contracts. They can review labor costs, materials selections, and scope of work. They can even analyze your interactions with contractors to help spot predatory contracting schemes.
Think of homeowner experts as coaches and referees for your construction and home improvement projects. They’re here to help you get your best value out of a project, and to make sure things go smoothly and fairly!
Their usefulness isn’t limited to only helping you deal with contractors though. A homeowner consultant’s extensive trade knowledge makes them ideally suited to provide a range of services…
Other Homeowner Consulting Topics
Water/ Storm Damage
Homeowner consultants can be your first line of information when you’re facing water intrusion issues, or the aftermath of storm damage. (These issues are ones used most frequently by contractors to validate excessively large, expensive projects.)
Homeowner consultants can review your submitted photos–or even your live video feed–with an experienced eyed, and determine the presence and possible extent of rot, as well as offer guidance on what a possible remediation might entail and cost.
Home Inspection Reports
Home inspection reports are often required in situations where a bank loan is being issued to help acquire a new property. And homebuyers are often confused by the various line items on these reports.
Homeowner consultants can use their construction expertise to analyze the line items on the report, breaking them down by potential cost and importance. This information helps homeowners prioritize possible repairs, bringing a level of peace of mind to an otherwise stressful process.
Every remodeling project starts with a variety of decisions. And even very small decisions can mean major changes in cost and scope of work!
Homeowner consultants can be there at the outset to provide technical evaluations of the factors involved in your remodel. They can make practical suggestions from a professional viewpoint that will help you avoid unnecessary costs and headaches.
Think of a homeowner consultant as a sounding board–an ally whom you can trust for expert information and an utterly sincere opinion. The small fee you pay for their service can save you thousands of dollars in the long run–and can help get your project started off on the right foot!
DIYers are ambitious and independent by nature. But every DIYer can use a little professional guidance from time to time!
Homeowner consultants have a wealth of real-world, field-tested construction experience. They can be there to help bridge the information gap that DIYers face, offering far more specific advice than anything the internet at large can provide.
Whether you’re planning a large future project – or need fast advice for a tricky phase of a current project – homeowner consultants can serve as your “phone-a-friend” trade expert.
Get Help With Your Home When You Need It!
Homeowners often succumb to the temptation to let major problems slide in their homes. Or, just as bad, they come to rely utterly upon the opinions of contractors for advice about their homes.
This need not be the case though.
Homeowner consultants can serve as that much-needed source for information and advice about your home. One suggestion may be enough to quickly curb a developing problem in your home – or save you from costly involvement with bad contractors!
If you have a phone or computer, then you have all the resources you need to reach a homeowner consultant! So just keep them in mind as you approach your next home improvement project, remodel, repair, renovation, purchase…
A tiny home consulting investment can go a very long way!
Honest Carpenter Consulting is proud to be an early provider for home consultation services. If you’re in need of home advice, or just want to know more about our business, simply click the link below!