Remodeling and Home Design

Selecting a Professional Remodeler

NARI Code of Ethics:

Each member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry is pledged to observe high standards of honesty, integrity and responsibility in the conduct of business by:

  • Promoting in good faith only those products and services which are known to be functionally and economically sound, and which are known to be consistent with objective standards of health and safety 
  • Making all advertising and sales promotion factually accurate, avoiding those practices which tend to mislead or deceive the customer.
  • Writing all contracts and warranties such that they comply with federal, state, and local laws.
  • Promptly acknowledging and taking appropriate action on all customer complaints.
  • Refraining from any act intended to restrain trade or suppress competition.
  • Obtaining and retaining insurance as required by federal, state, and local authorities.
  • Obtaining and retaining licensing and/or registration as required by federal, state, and local authorities.
  • Taking appropriate action to preserve the health and safety of employees, trade contractors and clients.
 Take pride in your home ..... hire a professional!

A NARI Member.

City of Omaha Licensed Contractors:

As of September 1, 2012, the City of Omaha instated a requirement that contractors in Omaha be licensed when doing construction work for hire on a project that requires a building permit.  Many surrounding areas, such as Bellevue and Council Bluffs are affected by this requirement as well.  If you are unsure of whether or not your project requires a City of Omaha Licensed Contractor, speak with your contractor prior to work beginning on your project, or you may contact the Greater Omaha Remodelers Association-NARI Office for more information.

City of Omaha Licensed Contractor Lists:

The City of Omaha licensed contractor lists are updated at a minimum of once a month. Please be aware that contractors that are licensed may not appear on the list. Please call 402-444-5350 with questions regarding a specific contractor.

City of Omaha Licensed Class A Contractors (All commercial and residential construction)

City of Omaha Licensed Class B Contractors (Commercial and residential construction of four stories or less)

City of Omaha Licensed Class C Contractors (One and two family dwellings)

City of Omaha Licensed Class D Contractors (Residential additions and Remodels)...International Residential Code Only

City of Omaha Licensed Class E Contractors (Roofing,Siding,Decks,Windows,Doors, and Fences)

Select a Professional, Reliable, Remodeling Contractor

Finding a qualified professional remodeling contractor for your home improvement project doesn’t have to be a difficult task. By following these guidelines you will make the selection process easier and be better prepared to make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

Employ a home improvement contractor with an established business in your area. Local firms can be checked through references from past customers in your community or through your local better business bureau. Local remodelers are compelled to perform quality work that satisfies their customers for their business to survive.

Many states, but not all, require contractors to be licensed and or bonded. Contact your state or local licensing agencies to ensure the contractor meets all requirements. Ask the remodeling contractor for a current copy of their license.

Check with the government Consumer Affairs Office and the Better Business Bureau to ensure there are no complaints on record for the contractor.

Ask to see a copy of the remodeling contractor’s certification of insurance for the name of his or her insurance agency to verify coverage. Most states require a contractor to carry worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability insurance. Make sure the contractor’s insurance coverage meets all the minimum requirements.

If you solicit bids from several different home improvement contractors, be sure they are bidding on the same scope and quality of work. Discuss variations in bids and beware of any bid that is substantially lower than the others.


Proper Planning is Important

Think your renovation project through from start to finish. Careful planning of your home improvement projects will enable you to update your home, increase the value of your investment and customize your living space undefined all for a lot less than the cost of a new home.

Look over your property carefully. What repairs are needed? What improvements would you like to make? Think ahead and determine your future needs. Professional remodeling contractors can help you in your planning by outlining options and discussing the improvements you can make within your budget.

Be sure to review your homeowner’s insurance policy and make adjustments for the added value of the work being done.


Financing Your Remodeling Project

There are various financing options available to homeowners. Among the most popular is the equity line of credit that bases the loan amount on the equity in your home.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has loans specifically for home improvements. They are available through many banks and lending institutions. The FHA, however, requires the lender to approve the contractor. The FHA does not guarantee the remodeling contractor’s work.

Some institutions will allow you to borrow against the anticipated equity in your home once your home improvement project is complete.

A professional remodeling contractor is familiar with financing options available and can help. Research various sources of funding to compare individual qualification guidelines, interest rates, terms and tax considerations.


Think About Design and Function

Design and function should be foremost in your mind if you’re thinking of adding a room or converting an existing room.

When planning a larger, more complicated project give thought to details such as, intended use of the space, flow of the space, where you want electrical outlets, telephone jacks and cable hook-ups located, the type of lighting required: your current and future storage needs, and whether you want to include luxury items. These details will enable your home improvement to better suit your needs and your lifestyle.

A professional remodeling contractor or design service should be consulted about design and function of any remodeling project. He or she can also help you with time and money-saving hints.


Comply With Local Codes and Permits

Building codes have been established by most cities, towns and counties. They vary considerably from one jurisdiction to another.

A building permit generally is required whenever structural work is involved or when the basic living area or footprint of the home is to be changed.

A professional who works in your city or town every day will know the local requirements.


A Well Written Contract is Essential

Remodeling contracts and paperwork don’t need to be a mystery. All you need is a little patience, common sense and organizational skills combined with some basic knowledge.

The contract is a critical step in any remodeling project. This is the one item that holds the job together and ensures that all parties involved agree to the same vision and scope for the project.

You should be aware of all the details in your remodeling contract before you sign. Here are some key areas you should look for:

  • Be sure the contract includes the contractor’s name, address, phone and license number (if applicable).
  • Detail what the contractor will and will not do.
  • Your contractor should detail a list of materials for the project in your contract. This includes size, color, model, brand name and product.
  • The contract should include the approximate start date and substantial completion dates.
  • Study all required plans carefully. Insist that you approve them and that they are identified in your written contract before any work begins.
  • Federal law requires a contractor to give you written notice of your right to, without penalty, cancel a contract within three business days of signing it. This is provided it was solicited at some place other than the contractor’s place of business or an appropriate trade premises such as your home, for instance, or has financing provision.
  • Make sure financial terms are understood and spelled out in the contract. The total price, payment schedule, and any cancellation penalty should be clear.
  • A warranty covering materials and workmanship for a minimum of one year should be written into the contract. The warranty must be identified as either “full” or “limited.” The name and address of the party who will honor the warranty (contractor, distributor or manufacturer) must be identified. Make sure the time period for the warranty is specified.
  • A binding arbitration clause is also a good inclusion in the event a disagreement occurs. Arbitration may enable you to resolve disputes without costly litigation.
  • Thoroughly review the entire contract and be certain you understand it before signing it.
  • Consider the scope of the project and make sure all items you’ve requested are included. If you do not see a specific item in the contract, consider it not included. Never sign an incomplete contract. Always keep a copy of the final document for your records.
  • Consider having a legal professional review the contract before it is signed.

Working With Professionals

Before work begins, ask your remodeling contractor what inconveniences may occur while the project is underway and plan for them accordingly. Be sure your contractor is aware of vacations or special events so that he or she may schedule their job site time appropriately.

Consider moving personal property from construction areas and declare all work zones off-limits to children and pets.

Be sure to put all changes in writing if your remodeling project is modified while work is being done. Both parties should sign the amendment.

Keep a job file including contract, plans, specifications, invoices, change orders and all correspondence with the contractor.

Request a contractor’s Affidavit of Final Release be provided to you at the time you make final payment and a final waiver of mechanic’s lien. This is your assurance that you will not be liable for any third-party claims for nonpayment of materials or subcontractors.


Types of Professionals - Choose a Course of Action

If DIY is not for you, where should you turn to find the best remodeling professional for your project? There are many types of professionals within the home improvement field that could come to your aid.

The General Contractor: Many home improvement projects do not require professional design services and can best be handled by the experienced remodeling contractor whose knowledge of materials and methods has been gained by years on the job. Again, be sure to deal with a professional. Even though the job may be relatively small, its successful completion is important to you. Small jobs also need careful planning and attention to detail. General contractors are also the right choice for your project if you have had your project designed by an architect or designer and you now need someone to manage the construction of those designs.

For design services, your options include:

The Architect: Major remodeling projects require construction drawings for the purposes of defining a contract and procuring permits. In cases where your professional remodeler does not provide design services, you may wish to seek the assistance of a professionally trained architect. It is best to work with an architect experienced in remodeling-he or she will be more sensitive to the special challenges that remodeling presents. Architects are licensed by the state and have formal education and experience. They have overall knowledge of design; however, many architects do not accept smaller projects.

The Designer: Another option to obtain those construction drawings is to hire a certified or licensed designer. Designers may have expertise in specific areas of the home such as kitchens, interiors, baths, space design, etc. They often specialize in particular types of projects and may be the best choice for a targeted remodeling project.

The Design/Build Contractor: If you prefer to hire only one company for design and construction services, your best bet may be to hire a design/build firm. Design/build is a concept developed to benefit the remodeling homeowner by providing both quality design and construction services within the same general contracting company. A design/build contractor will be able to see your project through from start to finish, keeping design, engineering and budget in mind. Some design/build firms have architects on staff, others use certified designers.


Finding Good Contractors

Choosing your remodeler is the most important decision in a remodeling project. Take your time and be thorough in your search. Here are just a few places to start looking for the best contractor for your home improvement project:

Word-of-Mouth Referrals

Nearly half of all projects signed by a remodeling contractor are the result of client referrals. An additional 22 percent of jobs are the result of word-of-mouth. These are your best sources for leads:

  • relatives
  • friends
  • neighbors
  • business colleagues
  • lenders
  • architects/designers
  • real estate agents
  • suppliers
  • subcontractors
  • local material supplier (lumber yards, specialty product providers, etc)

For more information, or to locate a NARI professional in your area,
  • Click on the Find a NARI Professional tab at the top of this Website.
  • Call the Greater Omaha Remodelers Association - NARI local office at (402) 331-1718.
  • Email the Greater Omaha Remodelers Association at
  • Click here to download an informative brochure about how to select a remodeling professional.
  • Click here to download an informative brochure about NARI Certified Professional Remodelers.


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