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The top ten things any homeowner should consider before hiring their next remodeler

Posted on 28 November 2016 | Category: General, Tips

Homeowner signing contract

Remodeling your home can be one of the most stressful activities that you experience. It can be a large investment, your family is typically still living in the home so it can upset your daily routine, and we’ve all heard horror stories about people who chose the wrong remodeling contractor for the job and lived to regret it. So, we’ve put together a helpful Top Ten List of things you should consider when you are interviewing remodeling companies.

1] Have you actually met who is going to do the work?

If your remodeling contractor was personally recommended from a family member, friend, next door neighbor or from your trusted local hardware store, you are likely to have a good remodeling experience. If your contractor was not personally referred to you, before any work begins, we recommend meeting with the Production Manager in charge, or the Lead Carpenter who will be doing the actual work. Remember, these are the people you are going to be living with 8-10 hours a day, every day, until the end of your project. Choose wisely.

2] Did you have a discussion with your contractor about any and all ways that your project could end up costing more than it states on the contract?

There are a certain number of contractors who have a reputation for selling low and pulling the bait-and-switch routine at some point in the project with something called a “Change Order”. This always seem to come as a surprise to both the homeowner and the contractor when it is really only the homeowner that is surprised. Be aware that every remodeling project has potential risks and all professional contractors should inform you of those risks before asking you to sign on the dotted line.

3] Is the project timeline set in stone?

For a homeowner who has experienced any of the following: a contractor goes missing, doesn’t return calls, has gotten in over his head financially, or just can’t muster the resources to pull off your project — the explosion of the project timeline becomes a nightmare that your family can’t wake up from anytime soon. Professional contractors will always present a production calendar detailing the scope of the project with highlights that track the essential milestones. A timeline that is set up well at the beginning helps ensure a successful outcome.

4] Will there be Employees or Subcontractors doing the work?

Since the recession, most remodelers have moved away from having the more expensive burden of employees and have gone to the subcontractor model. The subcontractor model can almost always offer a less expensive product but no one can really argue that the quality of the subcontractor experience can match a dedicated team of skilled and trained employees. If quality, not cost, is your biggest concern, be sure to ask if employees or subs will be used on your job and, just to be sure, ask for a copy of their Employee Workers Comp Certificate.

5] EPA Certification is a must in the Chicago area. Is your Contractor Certified?

There are over 1 million kids who have been poisoned by lead from old paint, and we estimate that over half the contractors we see working in Chicago and the suburbs are not EPA Certified.  Do everyone a favor — but especially pregnant women and children — and do not hire any contractors that are not lead safe certified. These guys are the worst of the worst. To verify if a contractor is EPA Certified just enter their name on the EPA website by clicking here. In the “Find a Firm” form, click the Renovator box, then enter your address and the “Search Firms” button.

6] Are they able to communicate effectively?

If we take the remodeling factor out of the equation and just look at how the very best teams deliver the very best results, we can quickly understand just how important effective communication is for all successful team projects. While all of us in the trades appreciate the skill of a craftsman, it’s his/her ability to effectively communicate that will put him/her on the best team at one of the best companies in Chicago. Our advice is “If you contact a company before 4:00 pm and do not get a return call that same day, you are probably dealing with a company where communication is not a priority.”

7] How valuable is the warranty you’ll receive?

Occasionally, we are called in to fix something that a previous contractor has done. Typically, the homeowner cannot get a return call or has discovered that the previous contractor has moved or gone out of business. If there was an unforeseen mistake in the remodeling process and a issue arises, the warranty that a locally trusted or more established company provides can be as valuable as the project itself. Ask for references from the remodeling contractor you are considering.

8] What is your protection from risk?

There is not a condo building in Chicago that will allow a general contractor to even set foot in their building without the following protections: General Liability Insurance, Workers Comp Certificate, EPA Certification and any licenses, bonds or permits needed for that particular job. They do this because they know firsthand all the risks and have seen or heard of all the possible disasters that are part of this business. Protect yourself. If it’s required for every condo building in the city, it should be required by you for your home.

9] How important is dust management?

85% of homeowners surveyed stated that job site dust was the #1 nuisance of their last remodeling project. Studies have shown that homes being remodeled have five to eight times the amount of particles in the air than homes that are not being remodeled. The most professional companies, like GetDwell, employ the Livable Remodeling System, which begins with the BuildClean Dust Management System. These air scrubbing machines are game changers, and our clients have come to love the benefits — especially if asthma or allergies are an issue. BuildClean dramatically reduces 90% of airborne job site dust  by drawing in air, passing it through a series of filters, and returning the “scrubbed” air back into the space. No longer do homeowners have to suffer through every morning with grit in their toothbrushes and coffee mugs.

10] You have a Three-Day Right To Cancel in the State of Illinois.

In Illinois, three day rights to cancel are required to be given in specific types of transactions. In many cases, home repair or remodeling contracts are required to contain wording that gives you this important legal right and explains how you can exercise it. It is important to understand the specific circumstances in which Illinois law gives you this right.

You are required to be given a three day right to cancel a home repair contract if:

  • the sale of services or merchandise involves $25 or more, and
  • the contract is signed when the salesperson or contractor is physically present in your residence.

The law requires notice of your three day right to cancel to be given both orally and as part of the written contract. Do not sign any contract that does not fully describe the three day right to cancel, fails to state the date of sale, or contains blank spaces.

Learn more about the Three Day Right to Cancel Hope Repair law in Illinois here.

In summary, Get Dwell recommends that when you are selecting a contractor for your remodeling project, you should:

  • Meet the actual people who are going to do the work
  • Have a discussion about change orders
  • Agree to a timeline for your project
  • Know who will be performing the work — employees or subcontractors
  • Select an EPA Certified contractor
  • Make sure you are comfortable with your contractor’s ability to communicate effectively,
  • Get a warranty for work, and be sure the contractor will be around in case you need to use that warranty after the job is completed
  • Be sure you are protected from risk, using best practices learned from condominium property managers
  • Ask about the dust management system they use (or if they use one!)

We hope these considerations are helpful to you. And of course, we’d love to provide a free estimate for any remodeling projects you are considering. Just contact us here.

Entrepreneur Darryl Rose Built Success on Values and Rules That Every Mother Loves and Every Community Needs

Posted on 18 November 2016 | Category: Press

“‘Thank you for teaching my kid how to work!’ This is what I frequently hear from moms,” Darryl Rose, founder of Get Dwell, declares early in our interview. Those statements are just one of many examples that confirm that Rose grew his Chicago- and North Shore-based remodeling and handyman business on great values — adeptly creating opportunities that help others while providing outstanding service. His grin and twinkling eyes attest to the pleasure this brings him too.

Darryl RoseRose is the prototypical 21st century entrepreneur; he builds win/win scenarios for customers, employees, partners, and the community. It’s no surprise that Get Dwell has been voted “Best Of” by our Make It Better audience four out of five years.

Ironically, Rose still acts surprised that he became an entrepreneur working with his hands at all. With a good job in corporate sales, wife, two young children and a Wilmette home, Rose thought his path through life was set. But, he was happiest helping neighbors’ with their handyman needs and being a volunteer designer and builder of stage sets and other projects for his kids’ schools. His true calling was obvious to everyone else.

It took his wife, Beth — the person most likely to miss the security of his corporate life — to convince Rose to give it up and start a small home maintenance business out of their kitchen in 2005.

“Just leap and the net will appear,” Beth promised.

Read the full article on the Make It Better blog


Get Dwell Managers named to Professional Remodeler’s “40 under 40”

Posted on 18 August 2016 | Category: General, Press
40 under 40 coverProfessional Remodeler has named Brian Mazur, Production Manager at Get Dwell and Rocky Macias, Operations Manager at Get Dwell to their list of “40 under 40” stars in the remodeling industry. Both men have earned their way to the top of their industry the old fashioned way — through hard work and exceptional client service. 
Success at any age is impressive. But to achieve it at an early age is even more of an accomplishment ” says Darryl Rose, President of Get Dwell, “These talented young professionals are making important contributions not only to our business, but are also leading the future young people we have coming into our industry at a time when we desperately need good leaders.”

Brian Mazur
Brian Mazur is also a professional walleye fisherman who got to the top of his game by not only being able to plan and execute at a high level but by improvising effectively under pressure. His experience leading teams to the winner’s podium has come in handy at Get Dwell, where he has built a team of subcontractors and strategic partners around a solid core of dedicated employees to lead Get Dwell to the top of Remodeling’s BIG 50. In addition to helping us become a remodeling industry leader, Brian has served our community as a mentor to the New Trier Bass Fishing Team and by taking area veterans and youth fishing each year.
Rocky MaciasRocky Macias is also a seasoned home inspector. Rocky ran his own company for ten years before turning his talents toward Get Dwell. By inspecting our clients homes, the quality of our project work and our client satisfaction reports, Rocky has implemented the positive changes needed to improve our overall client satisfaction ratings to the highest levels we have had in the last 11 years. In addition to his hard work at Get Dwell, Rocky gives back to our community through his work with “Seeds of Compassion” to feed the homeless on Chicago’s Lower Wacker Drive and volunteering with Rebuilding Together in the north suburbs to help transform the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes.
If you are looking for these types of professionals to run your next remodeling project, call Get Dwell today and experience the Get Dwell difference. With over 4,000 satisfied homeowners in Chicago and the northern suburbs, Get Dwell provides the dynamic teamwork needed for any successful remodeling project.

The 2016 Top 10 Remodeling Paybacks in the Chicago area

Posted on 13 July 2016 | Category: General

Each year the Cost vs. Value Report by Hanley Wood helps realtors and homeowners determine which remodeling projects have the greatest return when a homeowner goes to sell their home. The 2016 report shares that in the Chicago area, bigger and more expensive projects, rising new-home prices, curb appeal and energy efficiency all contributed to a gain in remodeling projects’ payback at resale. As a general rule, the simpler and lower-cost the project, the bigger its cost-value ratio.

The Top 10 Remodeling Paybacks in the Chicago area for 2016

insulation11) Attic Insulation 118%

2) Front Entry / Curb Appeal 89%

3) Wood Decks 73%

4) Window Replacement 72%

5) Midrange Kitchen Remodel  73%

ProjectArticle_Small_Photo36) Two-Story Addition  69%

7) Siding Replacement 68%

8) Roofing Replacement 64%

9) Bathroom Remodel 59%

10) Basement Remodel 56%

Takeaways from this year’s report:

  • First impressions are important and “curb appeal” is essential to maximizing value. Many of the highest-scoring projects were for projects completed on the exterior of the home (front doors, garage doors, entryways, siding, etc.)
  • BathrooomEvery realtor will tell you, “kitchens and baths sell houses” and the cost vs. value data supports this assumption. Kitchen and bath remodels have some of the biggest impact on your home’s value. In Chicago, an upscale bath remodel had a slightly lower return than a midrange bath remodel and a midrange kitchen remodel had a much better return than a major kitchen remodel.
  • Not surprisingly, attic insulation projects top the list increasing a home’s retail value by 118%.
  • Outdoor living is one of the fastest growing areas in the remodeling industry and in the Chicago area it has one of the biggest paybacks. Maximizing time outdoors on a well designed wood deck (which has a bigger return than composite decking) has great appeal to the Chicago area home buyer.
  • In general, replacements cost less and therefore provide a bigger payback than remodels or additions but as the value of homes increase, the value of these remodels and additions keep increasing right along with them.

The important thing for every homeowner to realize is that year after year, the cost of the average remodeling project keeps going up. A Chicago area homeowner will pay 5% more for their remodeling project in 2016 than in 2015. Taking into consideration the continued rise in labor and material costs, the predictions for 2017 put that number upwards of 10%. While every home improvement we make does not always equate with returns on the dollar, most homeowners want to maximize their investment when considering a remodeling project.

In this market, the longer a homeowner waits, the more expensive their remodeling projects become. If you are a homeowner considering any type of remodeling project — and want to pay less now and start enjoying your home’s investment right away — contact us today for a free consultation or call us at 847-922-3418.

Get Dwell and our Hardware Partners featured in Qualified Remodeler magazine

Posted on 07 July 2016 | Category: Press

Qualified Remodeler magazine

Qualified Remodeler magazine’s cover story features Get Dwell and the working partnership we first forged with Millen Hardware back in 2005. Since then, our partnerships with local, independently-owned hardware stores has successfully grown to 27 partner stores across Chicago and the northern suburbs.

Local hardware stores have always been and will continue to be the best place for knowledgeable product advice and helpful how-to tips. If a project demands more skills than a customer has or if it requires more work than the customer is willing to tackle, these stores can recommend Get Dwell’s services and be confident that their customers will be professionally served by a proven, insured, certified and trusted local resource. We’re able to help the stores become even more helpful to their customers.

Get Dwell’s partner stores are run by some of the best customer-focused hardware entrepreneurs in the country, the vast majority of whom are second- and third-generation business owners. “As an entrepreneur myself, my rule of thumb is to work with locally-owned hardware stores that share my passion for craftsmanship and a high standard of customer service,” Darryl Rose, President of Get Dwell says. Local hardware stores face an everyday battle against big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes and online companies like Amazon. Each of these competitors has recently launched or backed their own home installation companies; (Home Depot), (Lowes) and Amazon Home Services. “Our 27 hardware store partners have survived and thrived,” Darryl emphasizes, “because they know what it takes to make customers happy, and everyday they go out of their way to prove that.”

According to the North American Retail Hardware Association, money spent at a local hardware store versus a big box store like Home Depot or Lowe’s makes it possible for three times the value of that money to go back into the local community where it belongs. “These monies,” says Darryl, “then end up directly benefitting our local communities in many ways, including increasing local home values and making these communities a more wonderful place to live.”

“Our 27 hardware store partners have survived and thrived,” Darryl emphasizes, “because they know what it takes to make customers happy, and everyday they go out of their way to prove that.”

The largest hardware store in Chicago, Gordon’s Ace Hardware and the largest hardware store in the state of Illinois, Round Lake Ace Home Center are included in the 27 independently owned hardware stores that make up Get Dwell’s Hardware Store Partners:

Millens Hardware — Wilmette
Gordons Ace Hardware — Maple Ave, Gold Coast, Chicago
Gordons Ace Hardware — Orleans Ave, Merchandise Mart, Chicago
Gordon’s Ace hardware — Clark St, Lincoln Park, Chicago
Gordon’s Ace Hardware — Streeterville, 680 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
Gordon’s Ace Hardware — State St, South Loop, Chicago
Northbrook Ace Hardware — Northbrook
Lake Forest True Value — Lake Forest
Glenview True Value — Glenview
Lemoi Ace Hardware — Evanston
Mutual Ace Hardware — Highland Park
Fox Lake Ace Hardware — Fox Lake
Leader Ace Hardware — Fox River Grove
Neradt Ace Hardware — Mount Prospect
Barrington Ace Hardware — Barrington
Casper True Value — Lake Zurich
Libertyville Ace Hardware — Libertyville
Round Lake Ace Hardware Home Center — Round Lake
Mundelein Ace Hardware — Mundelein
Gurnee Ace Hardware — Gurnee
Grayslake Ace Hardware — Grayslake
Wauconda Ace Hardware — Wauconda
Waukegan Ace Hardware — Waukegan
Antioch Ace Hardware — Antioch
Bjorkman’s Ace Hardware — McHenry
Sherwin Ace — Arlington Heights
Twin Lake’s Ace — Twin Lake, WI (spring 2017)

We encourage you to shop local and support these businesses. For directions to the hardware store closest to you, just click the map on our Hardware Store Partners page. Get Dwell is proud to support these stores and their customers and is honored to have be featured in Qualified Remodeler!

Read the full article here on the Qualified Remodeler website


Dear Valentine, The Love Shack deserves $50 off!

Posted on 14 February 2016 | Category: Specials


“Dearest Valentine,
While my love for you grows every day, so does the work that needs to be done around the house.

And while you always know how to please me, please don’t forget we can save $50 this week, complete the honey-do list, perhaps get a little painting done and maybe take care of a few needed repairs.”

Get Dwell professional services has been helping homeowners stay in love since 2005. For $50 off Valentine Projects must be scheduled this week so contact us today or call 847-922-3418.

The 30-Day Remodeling System

Posted on 10 February 2016 | Category: Featured Projects, General

The ClarkesWhen the Clarkes purchased their new home they knew they had a short 30-day window from the close to move in.

They also knew they needed to do a major renovation including:

  1. Total remodel of the master bathroom.
  2. Removing a long wall and cabinets to open up the space between the kitchen and dining room.
  3. Installing new flooring.
  4. Retrofitting custom book cases.
  5. Replacing the hot water heater.
  6. Painting and wallpapering throughout.

Clarkes house 2When it came to choosing the right contractor for the job however, the choice was easy. Get Dwell had been their contractor of choice for the last ten years so it made perfect sense to take advantage of Get Dwell’s 30-Day Remodeling System to get them into their new home on time.

Thirty days after the Clarke’s signed a contract on their old house, Get Dwell has completed the renovations and they have moved into their new home. “We couldn’t be happier” says Mrs. Clarke. “Get Dwell did a fantastic job and their 30-Day Remodeling System allowed us to move in on time and on budget.”

Clarkes houseIf you would like to learn more about Get Dwell’s 30-Day Remodeling System please contact us or give us a call at 847-922-3418.



This Simple Fix for a Cold and Drafty House is #1 Return on Investment

Posted on 20 January 2016 | Category: Specials

According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs Value Report, attic insulation projects offer the #1 return on investment,  and average a 117% return in Chicago. Read the report here. This site compares average cost for 30 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 100 U.S. markets. Check out this year’s trends​ and how they compare to prior years.

“Most homes in the United States don’t have enough insulation and have significant air leaks. In fact, if you added up all the leaks, holes and gaps in a typical home’s envelope, it would be the equivalent of having a window open every day of the year!”   ~ Energy Star


Get Dwell has been helping homeowners become more comfortable in their homes since 2005. For a free evaluation on the comfort needs and insulation levels of your home contact our professionals today at 847-922-3418 or contact us today.


Get Dwell Remodeling Manager named to Professional Remodeler’s “40 under 40”

Posted on 06 January 2016 | Category: Press

Brian Mazur is a professional walleye fisherman who got to the top of his game by not only being able to plan and execute at a high level but by improvising effectively under pressure. His experience leading teams to the winner’s podium has come in handy at Get Dwell, where he has built a team of subcontractors and strategic partners around a solid core of dedicated employees.

In addition to becoming a remodeling industry leader, Brian has served our community as a mentor to the New Trier Bass Fishing Team and taking area veterans and youth fishing each year.

If you would like Brian to give you an estimate on your next remodeling project or maybe advice on how to improve your chances of catching the big fish, please give us a call 847-922-3418 or contact us here.

Get Dwell named Best of 2015 by Make it Better readers for the fourth time!

Posted on 03 January 2016 | Category: Press

Make It Better Magazine readers, once again, awarded Get Dwell “Best of 2015” in the Handyman category. With over 105,000 votes cast, Get Dwell is honored to be the only “4-time winner” in Make It Better history.