How many homeowners don’t dream of remodeling at least one area of their home after years of living in the same surroundings? After a while, things just seem to get outdated or worn and perhaps the family has grown enough to warrant an extra bedroom. Sometimes, you simply want to enjoy an open space environment, so a wall is removed here and there to bring the kitchen, dining, and living rooms together into one large and airy room.
If you are in the market for a contractor to do any amount of remodeling or construction on your home, there are several things you should consider before making your final choice. Here are just four of those things which could prove to make the difference between total satisfaction and a day in court.
1. Always Get References and Reviews
It’s finally time to choose the contractor but you are wondering just where to begin. An online search will yield multiple names, but can you always believe what they say on their website? Ask for references and don’t be afraid to check them out. While you may be given a list of the ‘good,’ what about the bad and ugly?
A Google search will also bring up any negative press if it’s out there so just search for customer reviews with the name of the contractor and if there are a number of negative reviews, it may be better to move onto the next contractor on your list.
2. Check Their Credentials Carefully
There are two areas of concern here, one being licensure and the other insurance coverage. It is important to know what the licensing laws are in your state, if there are any, prior to signing a contract because you could have your entire project halted midstream if your contractor isn’t properly licensed per your state’s laws. Also, both you and the contractor could be imposed huge fines. Licenses are needed in all states for residential contractors, but the size (in dollar amount) of the job may be a loophole through which an unlicensed contractor may try to slip through.
Even if your remodeling job is under your state’s minimum for being licensed, it is in your best interest to run with a contractor who is duly licensed and insured. In this way you know they have met your state’s professional requirements and have the credentials to back them up. You will also want to adequately check their insurance coverage prior to hiring them and here again, each state has minimum insurance requirements for such things as liability. With affordable contractors insurance readily available, this should not be something that your contractor scrapes on.
3. The Services They Provide
Just because a construction company has a list of services on their website, this does not mean that they will be solely responsible for providing each of these. Many companies will subcontract the work to other companies. This isn’t a bad thing, but it is important to find out which services they outsource, who they are outsourcing too, and their reasons for it. With this list at hand, you can perform the checks mentioned above to ensure that everything is above board and that insurance is already in place.
While doing this, it’s also a good idea to inquire about the warranties that come with your work. A more expensive contractor that provides a longer warranty period may be worth the extra expense.
4. Contracts You Are Asked to Sign
Many homeowners understand that they will be asked to sign a binding contract but are unaware of the stipulations and clauses they should beware of. Before signing any contractual agreement, always read the fine print and read it again. Make sure you fully understand every clause, no matter how seemingly irrelevant it is. Once you have signed that contract, you will probably be responsible for the agreed upon amount no matter how discontented you may be if the contractor met all the stated agreements.
Sub-par contractors are out there and, of course, they won’t tell you that they cut corners to raise their profit margin. That is something you have to look for when vetting them, checking their credentials and in reading the verbiage of the contract. If something doesn’t feel right or has an odd ring to it, always check with your attorney before signing away your bank account! You would be amazed at what you can find in the fine print if you take the time to really read it.
So, don’t get ahead of yourself because the time for that new kitchen or guest room has long since passed. It pays to know who you are hiring to do the job, or you could be biting off more than you had bargained for.