It’s NOT Either/Or — It’s BOTH!
What is a Homeowner Advocate? Many contractors conclude that an advocate always take the homeowners’ side against them, which is not true. Remodeling is a team effort. If everyone remembers this, and takes their individual responsibility seriously, there’s no need for anyone to take sides. In 28 years, there have been only five times where a dispute arose, clear evidence that the contractor had done something very wrong:
- Not providing products and services specified in the approved plans and their agreement without communication.
- Changing the scope of the project without communication.
- Not providing a written change order with additional charges explained in full before extra work begins.
- Selling products at an inflated price because “warranty service” is provided, without specifying in writing exactly what is included and excluded.
- Comingling funds, i.e., using proceeds of the current project to pay for products and/or services for a previous project.
There have been hundreds of times in the past 28 years when I have been the contractors’ advocate, when homeowners had (or developed) unreasonable expectations:
- Getting perfect results for a low investment.
- Demanding a lifetime warranty for everything in the project (including natural wear-and-tear).
- Withholding payment unreasonably.
- Wanting the project finished by a specific date (although they didn’t understand why their project would take so long, or created delays without accepting responsibility).
- Required replacement (or payment for) of personal property they claimed was damaged by workers.
My first responsibility, as an advocate, is to provide reliable communication with my clients about:
- Their expectations: results, investment, and time.
- The logical steps involved in their project.
- How to work with construction professionals.
- How to work with distributors and suppliers.
- How their product choices affect their investment.
- Why it’s important to select and purchase all products before construction.
- Help them stay on track with product selections.
- Include all of their decisions in detailed plans.
- To reduce the chances of change orders.
- To achieve realistic estimates.
- To achieve the best results.
The projects that have had the best results, with the fewest hassles for the contractor and the homeowners, were the ones where the homeowners were not only receptive to professional advice, but took the messages seriously. Ultimately, the contractors involved made more money, because there were fewer delays and there was very little hand-holding required.
99% of the contractors I work with have more than ten years of experience in residential building and remodeling. Over 90% of the clients I work with have little or no building and remodeling experience. Most of them are overwhelmed, anxious, and fearful. I choose to help them, because I want them to have a great experience. I want them to achieve the best results possible for their investment, which is why I do not not sell them products, but refer them to suppliers who will sell products at my discount. If this qualifies me to be a homeowner advocate, then I humbly accept the appellation.
To talk about ways that I can be your personal Homeowner Advocate, contact us today, using the simple form below. Or, you can call me at 503-632-8801 for more information.
© 2010 Diane Plesset, D. P. Design – All Rights Reserved