Helpful Hints on Hiring a Home Contractor

When you are taking on a major home improvement project, it’s important that you surround yourself with the right people. Chosen correctly, a contractor can control costs and do a professional job on time and on budget. Choose wrong, and you may be in for a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Here are a few things to keep in mind when beginning your search.
Talk To Friends and Family Adair Homes Floor Plans For Recommendations
The best contractors are often found by word-of-mouth. Ask around amongst people you know if they can suggest someone, and take a look at the work they have done. Get as many as you can. You may want to check with Builders Near Me a local lumberyard for suggestions as well. And while a family member may have good information, it is usually ill-advised to hire an uncle, cousin, or sibling, as this can often open up a whole new can of worms.
Make Sure They Are Licensed and Insured
Check with the city to see what licenses are needed for your project, and make sure the contractors you contact carry them. Ask to see the license and make sure it is valid; licenses need to be renewed every year. The contractor should also be insured in case of any accidents or damage to your house. Be sure and ask for physical proof of coverage before it’s too late. Also, check with your state’s Consumer Affairs Department or your local Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints.
Ask Plenty of Questions and Get It in Writing
After gathering a list of potential candidates call and then meet with each one individually. Ask them as many questions as you can think of regarding the work. And then get it in writing. Make sure the estimate is as detailed as possible, including the specific work that will be done, the supplies used, and if they will be using any subcontractors. It’s also a good idea have them include a maximum percentage overrun (say 10-15%) if the job does go over-budget. Never feel pressured into signing anything and, most importantly, never take out a permit for a contractor. It is a good idea to have a lawyer draw up the final contract and make sure a lien release, which protects you in case they don’t pay their bills, is included.
Create a Payment Schedule Based on Work Completed, Not Time
Once you’ve finally found a reputable contractor, set up payments that are tied to the job’s completion. A 10-15% down payment is standard, but subsequent payments should be associated with the project’s goals (i.e. 25% when the electrical is completed, 25% when foundation is poured). Keep the final 15% payment until 30 days after the job is finished, to make sure no problems surface. Make sure you keep a paper record of your payments (it’s best to pay by check) and have the contractor sign off that he received them.
Take Regular Photographs of the Work-In-Progress
If possible, keep a daily journal of the job, noting the days the contractor and his crew worked and the number of hours. Snapshots of the job-in-progress can be helpful if a dispute arises, and can help identify shoddy materials and/or substandard work.
For Bigger Jobs, Hire an Architect
If you feel like you simply can’t manage all the details of your project, it may be best to hire a professional architect. They are familiar with all the building codes and required permits as well as the bidding process, and can tell if a job is going badly before it’s too late. Plus, a detailed blueprint drafted by a skilled architect is the backbone of any major job.
Remember, You Are The Boss
If the work isn’t being done correctly, the contractor is not performing as planned, or there are damages, don’t wait until the job is completed – it is your right to have the job completed as originally planned. It’s better to cut your losses early than to find someone to redo the entire job.
Keep these tips in mind, and you are more likely to have a stress-free renovation to the most important asset you own – your home.