Turn Your Dreams into Reality: Part 3

In parts one and two of this series we’ve highlighted the dreams you may have for your home. From small (updating your light fixtures) to large (completely redesigning the floor plan of your home), we covered it all. Now that you’re thinking about the endless possibilities for your home…

stop dreaming start doingHow can we make those dreams a reality?

The first thing to do is to take the fright out of remodeling. What do we mean by that? Taking on a huge project like home remodeling can be stressful. Overwhelming. But by following a few simple tips, we think you CAN get through the process, without nightmares.


Start by making a list of changes you’d like in your home and then put them in order of importance: what you must have, what you’d like to have, and what you like but can live without. A CLEAR idea of your priorities and budget helps everyone know what to expect.

Once we have this information from you we will design a plan for your project based on what’s most important to you, so that you’ll have NO surprises later.


Talk to people who have remodeled to find out if they loved their contractor and would refer them. Hearing someone’s personal experience can be one of the most helpful factors in giving you a solid basis for making a decision.

We’re happy to have you talk to clients we’ve worked with in the past.

Get Multiple Offers, BUT…

Remodeling horror stories often start with a great price. How do you know if your project estimate is priced for problems? To answer that question, let’s look at it another way.

When purchasing a mass-produced product such as a vacuum cleaner, you can shop by price alone using the model number. The items are identical to each other, regardless of the price you pay. But comparing the prices of one home remodeling contractor to another is rarely the best indicator of what you will receive. A low-ball contract can look very similar to a reasonably priced contract that comes in higher. On the surface, they describe that same project but the devil is in the details.

In order to present you with a lower price, a home remodeler can estimate based on using lower quality lumber, cabinets, flooring, windows, doors, plumbing fixtures, and other materials. You won’t know this until a few years later and things start to warp, fade, crack, jam, leak, or squeak. They can skimp on things like the sub flooring, the amount of insulation installed, or the quality of the light fixtures used.

We are dedicated to excellence in design, craftsmanship, and customer service. We provide a systematic, professional and organized approach to our projects. We don’t use cheap products as we believe any cost savings initially just ends up costing you more down the road.

moneyThe Allowances Game

“Allowances” for products you pick out after you sign the contract may have been based on the lowest cost products rather than those in line with the quality of your home or the quality you are expecting the home remodeler to provide. Then, when you think you’ve selected a product covered in the estimate, you learn that the allowance only covers a small portion of what you thought was already included in the price.

We make sure that our estimates are in line with the quality you would expect.

Cheap Labor

A well-run project requires more skill, planning, coordination, effort and cost than many low-priced remodelers allow for. A contractor using highly skilled carpenters, project managers, and specialty tradesmen in a well-trained and coordinated production team will deliver a better project that runs more smoothly than a contractor who uses low-cost, inexperienced labor and project managers.

It’s certainly not illegal to estimate based on cheap materials or labor, but it can affect the price of a project 30% to 50%, sometimes more. And if a remodeler so under-prices a project that he can’t finish it, you’re stuck with a mess, literally.

Inexperienced labor is NOT something you have to worry about with Sylvestre Remodeling and Design. We’ve been serving the Twin Cities for over 40 years, supporting homeowners as they’ve transformed their lives through remodeling. Our leadership team—comprised of John Sylvestre (1972), Les Anderson (1983) and Kate Post (1993)—has been in place for more than 20 years. All of these big numbers add up to an incredibly stable and reliable company, confidently riding out the typical ups and downs of this industry.

The Illegal Shortcuts

Home remodeling contractors who do not carry workers’ comp insurance for their workers open YOU up to potential liability for injuries and disabilities on the job. They may not carry general liability insurance or they may “save you money” by not pulling the required permits or getting inspections done. Some remodelers don’t even bother to get the license required to BE a remodeler.

These shortcuts are illegal. Some home remodelers ask that you take the permit out in your own name to save money. The person named on the permit is legally responsible for whether the project meets code and your remodeler knows this. If the project fails to meet code and the remodeler disappears to avoid the cost of fixing the problem, YOU are on the hook. You want the professional you hire to take responsibility for the quality of their work or you’d be doing it yourself.

On Time Equals On Budget

Another way that a project can suddenly go over budget is if the timeline for completion gets extended. Sometimes problems are unavoidable but, at Sylvestre Remodeling & Design, we demonstrate an unwavering commitment to delivering on time and on budget. Do we really meet our deadlines as often as we claim? The proof is in the numbers.

The way to protect yourself from a too-good-to-be-true estimate and costly short-cuts is to make sure you use a licensed, legitimate, reputable remodeler. Ask good questions of them and their references before you sign and remember an estimate that is too good to be true might be an estimate that is priced for problems.JOHN

Sylvestre Remodeling and Design is an award-winning member of several organizations that exist to promote and serve the needs of remodeling professionals and their clients. With over four decades of experience and a dedication to excellence, you know what you are getting when you hire us. We’ll give you access to former (and current) clients, who will verify our on-time and on-budget claims.

Give John a call at 612-861-0188 or fill out our Getting Started Form if you’d like to explore possibilities for your own update!

Leave a Comment