Suggestions for Purchasing Your New Kitchen
The staff of Cameo Kitchens, Inc. has written this guide to better educate consumers in important things to look for when purchasing a kitchen. These suggestions will help you find the best way to select a remodeler, understand the buying process, and steer clear of potential problems. We have all heard horror stories about incompetent or unscrupulous remodeling contractors. A bad experience may have happened to a close friend, relative, or acquaintance. These stories are pervasive in the remodeling business today, and can even keep us from wanting to remodel at all. The following is a list of points to consider in order to develop an understanding of the level of performance a kitchen remodeling company should exhibit.
Many Contracts Should Be Involved
At Cameo Kitchens, Inc. our installers are on our payroll.
They work for Cameo Kitchens full time.
We take total responsibility for the whole project- both in supplying the
materials and in installing them. There
is only one number to call for any questions, and everything is under one
While most kitchen dealers downplay the importance of getting permits, by
law all Northern Virginia Jurisdictions require a permit for the plumbing and
electrical portions of the work. To
agree to have a kitchen remodeled without a permit exposes you to the following
a. Since there are no inspections, a dealer can use a “jack of all trades” or someone who is not specifically a plumber or electrician, to do the plumbing and electrical work.
b. If fire or water damage should occur, your homeowner’s insurance may not be obligated to cover the damage since no permit was taken out.
c. A nosy neighbor can call the county code enforcement bureau anonymously and inquire about whether a permit has been taken out on the work being done.
d. At any time County Inspectors have the right to stop a remodeling job in progress, and demand to see work permits. If no permit can be produced, they are required to stop all work until a permit is applied for.
For your protection, we use a licensed master plumber and a licensed master electrician to do our plumbing and electrical work. We never fail to get a permit, and a county inspector inspects every job.
Much of a Deposit is Required?
Some of the larger building supply operations, which have a
kitchen-remodeling department, insist on 100% down when ordering a kitchen.
This leaves you with no leverage if the work is unsatisfactory.
Under no circumstances should you put down more than a one third deposit.
The next third should be paid when the cabinets are delivered to your
home, and the final third should be paid upon completion.
To pay for everything in advance puts you in the worst possible position.
to See a Contract
A buyer needs to know the difference between an “open” and a “closed” contract. An open contract is one in which the price you agree to pay is not final. This means that if the dealer missed a construction detail, you as a buyer are liable to pay for it. An example of an open contract is one designed by The National Kitchen and Bath Association. It states:
“It is understood that the price agreed upon herein does not include possible
expenses entailed in coping with hidden or unknown contingencies found
at the job site. In the event such contingencies arise and the seller is
required to furnish labor or materials or otherwise perform work not
provided for or contemplated for by the seller, the actual cost plus (%)
thereof will be paid for by the purchaser. Contingencies include but
are not limited to: inability to reuse existing water, vent, and waste pipes;
air shafts, ducts, grilles, louvers and registers; the relocation of concealed
pipes, risers, wiring or conduits, etc.”
All of these issues can be
predetermined with the kind of attention to detail and close checking we do on
Very Common Mistake
The most common mistake made by buyers is attempting to judge the quality
of a kitchen remodeler by looking at a showroom.
This probably stems from other purchases they have made such as furniture
or automobiles. While being
satisfied with the construction and appearance of the cabinets is important, it
is hardly as important as the quality of the installation, and this cannot be
determined by looking at a showroom. We
would like to submit that almost all of our competitors handle a decently
constructed cabinet. The higher end
custom cabinets are especially going to look good and give years of service,
provided professionals install them. This
is where the differences in kitchen remodelers becomes apparent.
for Proof of Performance
A reputable kitchen dealer should offer to give you a list of names of
previous clients to call as a reference. If
no offer is forthcoming, ask for a list of at least six names of owners of
completed kitchens. Check the
references by going to see the kitchens or at least calling the owners on the
phone and talking about their experience. This
will help you protect yourself from a bad experience.
Ask the client if the kitchen was started on time, was finished when
promised, and whether the workmanship was acceptable.
Ask about the installers of the kitchens, make sure they are the type of
people you want to have working in your home.
For instance, check on whether the area being remodeled was cleaned up
every day, and whether the trash was removed quickly, or left in your driveway
Long Should It Take?
A Cameo Kitchens installation normally takes about 4 weeks to complete.
Even a large kitchen with a lot of construction can usually be completed
in five weeks' time. A start date
and a completion date are written right into your contract.
In 27 years of business we have missed two starting dates- one when
several of our installers had the flu, and one when the truck from Honey Brook
Custom Cabinets could not leave Pennsylvania due to an ice storm. In an industry famous for delays and postponements, we are
proud of this record.
We do not charge a fee for estimates.
The Design Fee
A design fee of $1,000 can be given in order to reserve an installation date and take plans and sketches from the office before a final agreement is reached. The design fee is credited to your contract, along with the estimate fee, at the time it is signed. In the event that no order is placed, the design fee is not refundable.
We install over 100 kitchens a year.
Without competitive pricing, this would not be possible.
As always, be wary of a price that is either unusually high or unusually
to the Contract
Our feeling is that you can’t possibly write too much into the contract. We go so far as to spell out the locations of each light switch, electrical receptacle, and under cabinet light in our work orders. We spend an enormous amount of time making sure that every detail of the job is provided for, understood, and spelled out on paper, so there are no misunderstandings. The work orders our men use as a written guide to install the kitchen are the same ones you receive are part of your contract. This goes a long way towards eliminating misunderstandings.