4 Tips For Hiring a Remodeling Contractor

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With tax refunds coming your way, you may be contemplating hiring a contractor to do some remodeling on your home. Home improvements could increase the value of your home when you decide to sell. Before spending a lot of money on a remodel, consider which project would result in the greatest return on investment. The best place to put your money is fresh paint, kitchen updates (energy efficient appliances, hardware, paint, counter tops), a deck, and energy efficient windows. If you have an older home it would be best to start by replacing old leaky plumbing, old electric wiring, and rotting wood.

Once you have decided on a remodel, depending on the size of the job you may need a contractor. Here are some tips to consider when hiring a contractor.

do your research

Begin by asking friends, neighbors, or coworkers if they know of any good contractors in the area. Also, it would be a good idea to talk with a local building inspector to know which contractors have a great reputation in meeting code requirements. Check with the Better Business Bureau or local Chamber of Commerce for complaints.

Meet with

You want to do business with someone who you feel comfortable with and has a good reputation. Meet with at least three contractors and ask for references and estimates. Check the references. Ask how many other projects the contractor will be working on at the same time. If the contractor works with subcontractors for your remodel, ask how long they have worked with these subcontractors. When comparing estimates remember that price often reflects quality. A low-ball bid may mean that the contractor is cutting corners. Request a written description of materials that are necessary for the job to check for quality and to ensure that the materials used meet your specifications. It is very important that the contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured. If not, you may be liable if a crew member gets injured on the job.

get a contract

Once you have decided on a contractor, request a written contract. The contract should include exactly what is to be done, how change orders will be handled, time frame of the project with start date and estimated completion date, total cost, payment arrangements, contractor license number, and what recourse you have if the job is not completed as specified. Be sure that the contract specifies that the contractor will clean up after the job and will be responsible for any damages.

don't pay

For larger projects it is common to pay 10% at the signing of the contract, three additional payments of 25%, and the final 15% at the completion of the project. These percentages are a good guide when talking with your contractor about payment arrangements.  Don’t make the final payment until you are satisfied with the work.

Anthony Coleman, Realtor, Top Guns Real Estate

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