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Blowing the Budget…

Unreliable Subcontractors…

Renovation Meltdowns…

Let’s face it, renovating can be stressful! Like us, you’ve probably heard some terrible stories over the years, but your home renovation doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With good advice and solid planning, you can avoid most of the pitfalls and run a smooth, low-stress project.

It’s true! I’ve been renovating homes in the greater Cleveland area for over 15 years and completed over 2100 projects together with my experienced team. We know a thing or two about how to make your home renovation a success. In this article, we’ll share our professional knowledge, point out the pitfalls and show you how to avoid them with smart insights and handy tips.

Zakhar Keselman – CEO & Cleveland Kitchen Remodeling Expert
Keselman 20 websize Medium - Keselman Construction Group Inc

Challenge #1

“All Top-Rated Contractors Are Booked Up!”

Architectural plans, permits, selections, schedule… there’s a bucket load of things to consider before your home remodeling project begins, be it kitchen remodeling, bathroom renovation, or home addition. But you don’t have to do it on your own. Locking in an experienced construction company early can help you navigate through all these projects from the get-go.

Save time and avoid stress.

The right building team can give you a clear idea of the scope of your project, what’s possible and when. That’s crucial information to know before you draw up complex architectural plans or coordinate the process with zoning and building departments.

Building companies can be booked out at least six months in advance, so the earlier you find one and secure them, the better off you’ll be.

A good contractor will have the knowledge and expertise to:

  • Give you an accurate idea of the scope of your renovation project.
  • Provide a preliminary budget to offer you a transparent idea of costs.
  • Come up with ways to build better, more cost-effectively and with less stress.
  • Introduce you to an architect that suits your needs and budget.
  • Navigate Cleveland area building conditions and building department compliance.
  • Steer you toward the best materials for the job to suit your budget.
  • Know how much subcontractors cost.
  • Sort out which specialized (and often unexpected) subcontractors you might need (i.e. site engineer, structural engineer, specialty designers).

No nasty surprises!

Knowledge is power. If you know how much things will cost before you sign off on any big construction decisions, you can alter your spending BEFORE expensive working drawings are created and building starts. This gives you a solid base to work from.

Find a contractor who understands your vision, makes you feel at ease, and listens. Get the contractor involved early and ask them for a preliminary budget so you’re up to speed on likely costs and can benefit from their recommendations.

Projects that could require registration, bond, and permits from your local Building Department:

  • Foundations, Drainage, Waterproofing
  • Plumbing, HVAC, and Electrical
  • New structures, Additions or Structural Alterations
  • Roofing, Siding and Windows
  • Fences and Decks
kitchen remodeling

Challenge #2

“I Don’t Want To Over-Spend!”

It’s important to have a vision for what you want your home to look like. Collecting ideas and taking photos is a wonderful way to do this. But it’s important to be flexible. If you’ve been watching reality TV renovation shows be aware they tend to – (how do we say this politely?) – exaggerate a little. To avoid getting caught up in all the hype and exaggerated time frames, here’s what we suggest to keep your feet on the ground:

Before you begin, take a good hard look at the scope of your renovation and expectations in relation to your budget. Your renovation wish list is important but keep an eye on your spending.

Avoid over-capitalizing and ensure you renovate your property in a way that adds value to your home and life. Think about how your values and needs will change over time in relation to your evolving lifestyle.

Depending on your total renovation cost, the areas you renovate and location you live in, some renovation choices may not yield the same return as others. However, it might be of value to you personally.

  • Kitchen Remodeling and Bathroom Renovation
  • Home Additions
  • Expanding or altering a living area
  • Adding a bathroom
  • Finishing a basement
  • Increasing indoor/outdoor flow with a deck or a patio
Cleveland kitchen remodeling project with Large white countertops island and surrounding counters

Challenge #3

“I Don’t Seem To Click With My Architect Or Designer!”

It’s important to choose an architect or designer you connect with. Why?

Because architects and designers tend to lean towards particular design trends or concepts they specialize in. This springs from their personal taste, their education and what ideas they’re learning and experimenting with at the time you meet them.

Choose one that resonates with you. Show them your design and color ideas, take photos of houses, kitchens, hallways and exteriors you like (HOUZZ.com is a great resource for ideas). Look at their previous work and, if possible, talk to their former clients.

Having worked alongside many architects and designers, an experienced construction team will be able to recommend a designer or architect who suits your needs and can understand the scope of your project. Architects and designers need time to execute your vision. An average home addition could take 30-60 days for the architect to work from preliminary to final concept, so please plan accordingly.

Kitchen Interior Design Sketch: From Design to Reality

– Zakhar Keselman, President
Keselman Construction Group Inc

Challenge #4

“Our Builder Hasn’t Provided Us A Contract And We’re
Worried We’re Not Protected Legally.”

Not having a building contract and clear scope of work is like traveling without an itinerary. A written contract between you and your contractor protects you.

If something goes wrong, or if there’s confusion, a clearly written contract leaves less room for arguments about each party’s responsibilities. While you may be tempted to accept a builder’s estimate or list of tasks as your written contract, it’s better to go into more detail. That way, if something is unclear, you’ve got enough of the nitty-gritty worked out to know the rights and responsibilities of everyone involved.

In most cases, you’ll have the main contract with the general contractor. They are then responsible for organizing all the sub-contractors. But, if you’re managing the project yourself, acting as your own general contractor, you’ll have to make sure to have signed contracts with each trade such as electrician, HVAC, painter, plumber, etc.

Make sure your contract contains:

  • The scope of the project
  • An expected timeline
  • The assigned tasks
  • Warranties and guarantees
  • Payment Schedule
A bright and spacious kitchen featuring light wood cabinetry and a marble island

Challenge #5

“I Don’t Feel In Control Of My Renovation.”

Congratulations! You’re renovating your dream home. You have design ideas, an architect, and a contractor.
Work is about to start and your money is about to be spent.

Now’s the time to take a breath and sharpen your people skills.

Face-to-face communication is key to bringing your renovation to life. The team you’ve engaged needs to understand your renovation vision clearly.

When it comes to Cleveland kitchen remodeling projects, bathroom remodels, or home additions, communication and setting expectations is key.

Make sure you are comfortable talking to your architect and contractor on all matters, big or small. Renovation projects can last for many months. You need to be sure you’re kept in the loop and it’s essential you feel at ease approaching your team.

There’s no such thing as a silly question. Before you begin, think about this:

  • Do you feel your architect and contractor are easy to approach with questions and concerns? Do they
  • listen?
  • Are they open to your ideas?
  • Do they have a clear understanding of the final result that you all agree on?
  • Have you set up regular face-to-face meetings to keep the lines of communication open?
  • What systems of communication do you have in place to cope with changes as the renovation evolves?
  • What happens if there is a problem or issue? Do you have a positive way of communicating complaints so any issues can be dealt with quickly and with transparency?

Pondering these questions before the project takes off may save you trouble in the long run

Kitchen remodel in Cleveland OH Keselman Construction Group Inc modern, white marble counter with flowers and fresh cookies.

Challenge #6

“My DIY Turned Into A Disaster Because I Bit More Off Than I Could Chew.”

We’re a nation of DIY heroes, and we’re proud of it. But when it comes to complex home renovation projects, there can be an enormous underestimation of what it takes to get the job done.

DIY Contracts – As mentioned under Challenge #4, if you have a contract with a general contractor, they will use subcontractors they’ve worked with before, and know their skill level. But, if you decide to be your own GC you’ll need to source and organize all the contracts with each separate sub-contractor. Do you have the capacity and experience to organize all of these people? DIY Discounts – If you think you can talk your way into bulk discounts for quality building materials, think again. Most builders have long standing relationships with suppliers, allowing them to purchase the best materials at the most cost-effective price.

DIY Project Management – While you’re cutting out the middleman, giving you the illusion of control, many renovation tasks require coordination of multiple subcontractors and processes. Through years of experience, a professional builder and his team have relationships with the right people, and know when they need to call them in to work. They have systems in place to coordinate basics like insurance, warranties, contracts, payment, city compliance and consent.

DIY dealing with building and zoning departments – This takes knowledge, patience and experience. Building and zoning departments, whether right or wrong, treat DIY homeowner and general contractors differently. General contractors know what hoops thy need to jump through before ever talking to the city officials, and they know how to make the approval process smooth and efficient.

A reputable and experienced contractor and their team will save you time, money, and most importantly give you peace of mind.

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What Our Clients Are Saying

Read more on our Google, Facebook & Houzz pages.

It was a pleasure working with Keselman Construction since the moment they stepped inside our house. They were respectful, responsive and reliable. There was not a problem or issue they couldn’t fix. The quality of their work was outstanding. A big shout out to our project manager Petr. His positive attitude and calming presence made our first remodeling project a success. Petr went over and beyond his duties to help us and he made sure that we were totally satisfied with their work. He was simply awesome. Thank you, Keselman Construction for making our dream house a reality.

It was a pleasure working with Keselman Construction since the moment they stepped inside our house. They were respectful, responsive and reliable. There was not a problem or issue they couldn’t fix. The quality of their work was outstanding. A big shout out to our project manager Petr. His positive attitude and calming presence made our first remodeling project a success. Petr went over and beyond his duties to help us and he made sure that we were totally satisfied with their work. He was simply awesome. Thank you, Keselman Construction for making our dream house a reality.

Keselman did a great job of remodeling our master bathroom. They were fair and reasonable in the contract negotiations, the workmanship was excellent and they very accommodating to our preferences. We would use them again.

Simply amazing! Customer service is the best! They are dependable, they show up on time, return calls, and the quality is top notch. I Highly recommend Keselman Construction Group.

I just wanted to tell you how impressed we are by your service! You definitely came through and made everything great! I would recommend your company to anyone!

Keselman Construction Group literally rebuilt our house into our dream oasis. From the initial consultation, we gained so much trust in Zak and his company. We knew that we were in great hands! The craftsmanship and quality of work was terrific. Everyone was extremely professional and respectful. The daily communication and follow through from Vitaliy, our project manager, was extremely impressive. Our project was a larger scale whole home remodel / addition and had many aspects that can be overwhelming especially for someone who has never been through a remodel. Vitaliy made it stress free and enjoyable. Every step of the way was exciting! We honestly do not know what we would have done if it wasn’t for them. They took our visions and made
them a reality. After completion, they still maintain a relationship to make sure everything is up to the owner’s standards. From making the architectural plans with Joe Myers to Vitaliy, our project manager, to Pat Cloonan, the landscape architect, and High Tech Pools, everyone went above and beyond during our project! We highly recommend Keselman Construction Group.

Comfortable blue chairs against a bar-style counter in a bright, modern kitchen remodel

Contact us for a free kitchen remodeling or home renovation consultation today.

Looking for more inspiration?

Checkout our Cleveland Kitchen Remodeling portfolio, our Bathroom Remodeling portfolio, or our Home Additions portfolio for more!