Home improvement is now an evergreen trend in the repair industry. People refurbish their houses and even invest in fixer-uppers to remake them to their liking. If you ponder a home makeover, too, discover the most effective way to hire a home improvement contractor for your project. After all, this endeavor can only add value to your property if you do everything correctly. While you can go all out and still make some mistakes, an experienced specialist with multitasking skills can lower the emotional and financial stress while ensuring the success of your long-awaited remodel. Here are a few must-bookmark tips on securing the ideal home remodeling contractor.
Ask for Recommendations
If you know someone who has just completed their home remodeling project, you can reach out to them for recommendations. These can be your neighbors, friends, or family members who live in your neighborhood. Word of mouth is a proven way to locate tried-and-tested home improvement services. Haven’t got any call-worthy contacts? Go online, as there are hundreds of online resources like myhomequote.com designed to match homeowners with credible local contractors. Once you leave your request, they will connect you with the most suitable experts within a 10-mile radius.
Whatever method you’ve utilized to find home repair contractors in your area, you can end up with an impressive list of contacts you need to narrow down. The best way to do that is to set up meetings so that you can check credentials and watch their body language. Don’t forget that everybody lies, so you shouldn’t let your guard down even if the specialist has been recommended by your close friend. You need to make sure the contractor holds all required licenses from state and local municipalities to perform the job you are about to hire them for. During a face-to-face meeting, it’s worth asking the following questions:
- How many similar home remodeling projects have you completed?
- How long have you been in the home repair business?
- Can I see your license and proof of your insurance coverage?
- Can you pull the necessary permits for this job?
- How will additional charges or changes to the project be handled?
- Will you work on my home yourself, or will it be your sub-contractor?
- What workplace safety procedures do you follow?
Double Check the Facts
You’ve asked the contractor to provide you with the license number and some references from their previous customers, and here they are. Is everything okay now, and can you sign the contract? Nope, it is still too early because you need first to investigate the facts.
What if the person has four-flushed and given you fake digits? That’s why it is necessary to check the authenticity of the license provided. For this purpose, you can visit the website for the licensing authority in your region, for instance, it can be the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs. You can discover whether their license is active, expired, or revoked. Or you can call the licensing authority to get info over the phone.
It can also be helpful to check references. If previous clients allow, you can visit their homes to make sure the selected contractor can meet your expectations. Otherwise, you can ask them to share their impressions and whether there were any unpleasant situations during the project.
Request Quotes from All Suitable Contractors
Once you’ve created a list of the best experts in home renovation near you, it’s worth sharing your project details with them all to get personalized estimates. You can mention the fact that you are communicating with several contractors simultaneously to introduce competition and lower the rates. So, the chances of getting better deals will be much higher.
To simplify the comparing process, ask service providers to break down the expenses so that you can immediately see how much money is earmarked for materials, labor, and other stuff. Usually, materials run at 42% of the total cost.
Ask to Create an In-Depth Description of the Project
Some contractors provide quotes where only a lump sum is indicated. If the scope of work is not specified in detail, you shouldn’t buy it. The same goes for estimates where general categories are mentioned. To gain an insight into what you’ll spend your money on, an itemized quote is required.
Before you hire a general contractor, ask for an in-depth description of the soon-to-start project, including the permits. If they come up with excuses or refuse to provide one, it’s a no-no. You shouldn’t work with a company (or independent contractor) that doesn’t want to put the scope of work in writing. If you do, you may discover that many aspects haven’t been included in the estimate and will be additionally charged later.
Don’t Buy the Lowest Price
It’s worth contacting at least four contractors for custom estimates. When quotes are at your fingertips, discuss them with specialists to understand labor rates and the materials’ quality. Many homeowners skip the negotiating process, falling for the lowest price on the list. As a result, they are not satisfied with remodeling because it looks and feels cheap.
You can read a book on home renovation or two and watch dozens of DIY videos on YouTube but still feel that a vital puzzle is missing to remodel your home the way you want. It is called experience. Even though you can’t gain it overnight, you can hire a pro who can do everything instead of you. And the tips mentioned above can help you do that in the most effective and trouble-free way.
One more tip – never pay in full before the project begins. You can set a payment schedule that will work best for you two. An established contractor may ask for up to a 30% down payment when signing the contract. Use your credit card instead of cash to safeguard yourself a bit more.