How can I find a qualified builder to remodel a home for elderly parents?

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Q: My senior parents want to make their home safer and easily accessible. How do we find qualified builders who will do a good job?

A: It seems a bit counterintuitive, but it is actually a good time to find bargains from highly qualified builders. Most good contractors have been able to stay in business throughout the current downturn, and many less qualified builders have left the scene. Contractors will offer price incentives at this time in order to gain your business, so it pays to shop. Be sure the builder you select has a good track record, references and a current valid contractor's license.

As with most skilled professionals, a good builder can be reliably located through your own community network of referrals. Local alliances on aging or senior services providers are often a good source. Also, the National Association of Homebuilders website offers a state-by-state directory of builders who are Certified Aging In Place Specialists. These certified builders and remodelers have training in the unique problems of home construction for aging and can offer good value for the money. If you choose to engage an architect or interior designer to help plan your project, they will be able to refer you to builders that they have deemed reliable.

When you are selecting a builder it is also important to determine if the prospective contractor is sensitive to the emotional stresses that owners and residents can feel during construction. Feel free to ask questions before hiring, and trust your instincts. A good rapport with your chosen builder is an important ingredient in surviving, and even enjoying, the remodeling process.

Alan Kanter, A.I.A., specializes in home design and modifications for aging. Certified as an Aging in Place Specialist by the National Association of Home Builders, he helps elders live at home independently in surroundings that are safe, healthful, and environmentally responsible.

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2 Comments

Don't forget to check Angie's List and the Better Business Bureau in your state. You might also check on how a particular modification will affect the resale value of the house. You don't want anyone to be unsafe. But if the modification will need to come out before the house can be resold, that needs to be considered when it is installed. As with most things, there are ways and ways of achieving them. Get a good builder to give you an opinion., And good luck
if your in indiana im one of the best general contractors in the country. i treat people as id like to be treated. thats why ive survived the housing collapse.