Seeking an Experienced Home Contractor

Friday Feb 10th, 2017


There are many reasons for someone to make a renovation of their home: the age of the house or its condition; the owner's plans on selling the house or a simple desire of changes. Sometimes finding an experienced and reliable contractor can be a tough call. There are many offers on the market, but which one is the best suitable option for you?

Photo: depositphotos. Team of architects on construction site

Before you start searching for a contractor, think about the work you want to be done. Make a plan, estimate the costs of the materials and the work itself, specify the main goals of the upcoming renovation. It is important to choose the time properly because there are «high» and «low» seasons during the year and the price of the contractor's services can depend on the number of clients in the line.

Almost all the home renovation projects require permits. Some contractors can suggest the job be done without permits. This is a poor choice that violates local bylaws and leads to fines and future problems. Getting the permits is the contractor’s job.

Contact the suppliers to determine costs of the materials and products. Many contractors include an outline of the supplies cost for a complete accounting of the project.

After you made all the plans, it's time to get recommendations and references. Talk to your friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbours, some of them probably used the services of a contractor and have something to say. Look through the Internet, especially pay attention to the review websites that are made for clients to place their feedback on the contractors they worked with. Select only licensed contractors. Call the companies you placed on your list and ask them any questions you want (for example, about their experience, payment, future project etc.).

When you are sure about several contractors, meet them or their representatives. Ask as many questions as you can come up with to understand if this contractor is the one you need. Show the house (or photos) and request every contractor's opinion, so afterwards you can compare their estimations. Ask if the contractor use subcontractors, and if they have the needed qualification.

Discuss the payment schedule. If a contractor wants half of the amount up front, it can indicate that he (she) may have financial problems or that he (she) is concerned that you can refuse to pay the rest of the money after you've seen the work. Remember, there are always additional costs.

Photo: depositphotos. Contractor Writing Estimate

Choose the best contractor who satisfies you in terms of price and has the best feedback. Don't expect the renovation process starts just the next day, as the contractor has preparations to do.

Come up with a contract that details every aspect of the future renovation: payment schedule; proof of liability insurance and compensation payments for workers; deadline; the construction supplies and materials. Include a paragraph which states that the contractor obtains lien releases from all suppliers and subcontractors. Stay in contact with your contractor during all the process of renovation.

Make the final payment only when the job is 100% completed. You can hire a professional home inspector to evaluate the quality of work.

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