Last updated October 16, 2020
The beginning of a remodel is an exciting time for homeowners. Picking out new paint colors and fixtures down to the doorknobs. Imagining their closed-off spaces opening into beautiful flowing floor plans. Picturing themselves enjoying a fresh cup of coffee in their new all-white kitchen with marble countertops and shiny brass fixtures.
Then things get real.
Sawdust is everywhere, the yard is covered in equipment and debris, and there are people in their home what seems like every hour of the day. Stress begins to bubble up, then an unexpected delay happens, more money is needed, and panic starts to make itself at home.
But there are ways to alleviate your customers’ worries and give them a better home remodeling experience. In this article, you’ll uncover the most common fears homeowners have about the remodeling process and learn tips to help overcome them.
Common homeowner fears during the remodeling process
Here are four of the most common fears homeowners have during their remodel and tips to overcome them:
Fear 1: they’ll be disappointed with the end result
Many homeowners worry they may end up with a finished product they aren’t happy with and will regret their investment. In fact, this was a common fear among 9% of surveyed homeowners. This issue often arises when construction begins and the new space starts to take shape. Despite extended time designing the space down to the finishing touches and looking at model renderings, it’s difficult to fully visualize what a room will look like until construction begins. When walls start coming down, anxiety starts to kick in.
How to help your customers overcome fears of disappointment:
As a remodeler, you know a lot more about construction than your clients. Remember this is a new experience for them, so they don’t know exactly what to expect, which can create false impressions of the end result. Here are four tips to help overcome your homeowners’ fears of disappointment:
- Be extremely thorough: Ask in-depth questions, listen carefully to priorities, and note style wants and needs. Review all your notes with the customer down to the smallest detail to make sure you understand exactly what they want, and they understand exactly what they are agreeing to.
- Document everything: Have an organized way to document every piece of the project from existing plans, measurements, and surveys, to every design element specification, material samples, and even photos the client showed you for inspiration. Everything can be and should be recorded in some form.
- Provide a detailed, interactive 3D plan: Customers want to see their remodeled space as accurately and realistically as possible. Interactive 3D plans offer more concrete visuals making it easier for you to discuss structural and design elements and finalize a plan. Colors and textures can be swapped out helping homeowners pinpoint exactly what they want and seeing a dollhouse model of their home will give them a greater understanding of what the space will look like life-size – easing possible fears that may come up once construction starts.
- Keep a portfolio of past work: Portfolios are great for any remodeler, but can be a great alternative to 3D renderings for those whose budget or resources don’t quite have the wiggle room. Organize before and after photos by room, style, and other notable features so you can show customers remodeled spaces similar to what they have in mind.
Fear 2: they’ll pay too much and have unexpected costs
Another common concern among homeowners is that they will pay an unfair price (12.8%). Homeowners can be weary to state their budget, fearing a remodeler may take advantage of that number and come in as close as possible, even if the remodel could have cost them thousands less. Remodeling is an expensive process and homeowners tend to low-ball the cost, but regardless, this is a legitimate concern.
Closely tied to fair pricing is the fear of hidden and unexpected costs. In fact, this is the number one worry homeowners have. Almost half of homeowners go over their budget due to unforeseen expenses. In 2017, 41% went over because products and services were more expensive than expected, 31% because the project was more complex than anticipated, and 24% due to unforeseen construction-related issues. Many homeowners fear a remodeler won’t disclose fees that pop up later and worry about potential problems during construction that might dip into their savings or require another loan to pay for.
How to help your customers overcome their financial fears
Here are three ways to overcome your homeowners’ financial fears:
- Have detailed discussions early on: During the project analysis stage have multiple, in-depth discussions about the project and your customer’s budget.
- Provide a detailed estimate: Explain the fine details of expected cost; where their money will be spent, and why. When they understand the breakdown the whole project cost will make more sense. Make sure to explain any expected additional fees right away, so “hidden” costs are not a factor and the homeowners can plan and prepare for them.
- Explain the possibility of unexpected costs and how they will be dealt with: It’s rare to have a remodel where everything goes exactly as planned. Most homeowners will already be aware of this but never assume. Always discuss common unforeseen issues that come up during their type of remodeling project before construction begins and the average cost. Take the extra time to explain your process if something does go off-plan, so your homeowners are prepared and know what to expect.
Fear 3: the job will have unexpected delays and won’t be done on time
Remodeling, as exciting as it is, does disrupt the daily lives of homeowners and sometimes, depending on the scope of the remodeling project, may displace them. Some customers may choose to take time off work to oversee a project and be present if something goes wrong to avoid surprise phone calls. Delays may mean more disruption, more days living at their relative’s house, more time off work, and even more money. Overall, delays can be frustrating and disappointing.
How to help your customers overcome fears of delay
Here are three ways to overcome your homeowners’ fears of delay:
- Communicate the way you’d want to be communicated with: Ultimately, fears about completion come down to miscommunication. Use your initial project analysis to give your customers a realistic estimate of how long it will take to complete the remodel and why. Respond to calls and emails promptly, so your customers know they can get a hold of you easily, and immediately contact them if anything goes wrong. Remaining 100% transparent throughout the process and keeping homeowners informed will alleviate some stress if their project does get set back.
- Control everything you can: Manage every variable humanly possible for you and your team. Arrive at appointments on time, be aware of the promises you make and keep them (to the greatest extent you can), and maintain a high level of project management. Stay organized and stay aware. Noticing and fixing small issues before they turn into large ones can save time and money – preventing delays. When homeowners work with a remodeler that’s on the ball about everything, they’ll likely be much more understanding when an unexpected delay occurs.
- Be honest and admit mistakes: If a delay does occur due to your own mistake during the construction process, be transparent with your homeowners. Though they may be upset, they’ll appreciate your honesty.
Efficient team and project management and effective communication with customers leaves little room for error, so these areas of operation should run as smoothly as possible. If an error happens, honesty it truly the best policy.
Fear 4: the job will be done with poor workmanship
The last common fear homeowners have during the remodeling process is that the job won’t be done well because they hired someone with a lack of skills and experience. Many worry about working with an unreputable company and may have heard horror stories from someone they know who had a bad experience. Most of these fears come down to customers feeling a lack of confidence in their ability to choose a quality remodeler and their own lack of understanding about the remodeling process (9%).
How to help your customers overcome fears of poor workmanship
Overcoming the fear of a poor remodel job comes down to trust. Here are three ways to alleviate your homeowners’ fears that the job won’t be done properly by instilling trust:
- Remain transparent: Always be forthcoming about information – good or bad. Homeowners should be notified of every single project detail. Withholding information may make you look unprofessional and untrustworthy.
- Keep your processes consistent: Every remodeling project is different, but your process from start to finish should remain constant from one customer to the next. For homeowners to get an accurate representation of your company, they need to know what to expect from you.
- Put your customers first: Show your homeowners you care about their vision and you respect their wants, needs, budget, and timeframe. Reassure your customers on a daily basis, so they know they can count on you.
Read More: What Homeowners Look for in a Remodeler
It’s all about the process
Remodeling is not always about the end product. It’s mainly about the process of getting there – the experience. In fact, most complaints that remodelers receive are about the remodeling process itself. Every homeowner has an expectation for the way the remodeling process is supposed to go. If those expectations aren’t managed you’ll likely be left with an unhappy customer, even if your work is pristine. So as hard as you work on the project, work twice as hard at taking care of your customers’ needs, and be a remodeler they can trust.