A Renovators Resource: What To Know Before Hiring a General ContractorPosted by Jordan Muela in Property Management Articles
Home renovation may sound like a lot of work, but a well-constructed house is worth the time, effort and money. It is extremely important, however, to be sure that the quality of the materials supplied is sufficient and durable and the professionals and workers involved are skillful and dedicated to their respective jobs. Otherwise, the renovation could become disastrous for the homeowner. It is crucial that the previously mentioned details of any renovation are paid great attention. These considerations should include choosing the professionals best suited and most qualified for the construction job. The tips presented in this article are primarily concerned with hiring general contractors.
Here are some of the things you need to know before hiring a contractor and commencing your home renovation project.
Decide on the scope of work to be done.
As a homeowner, you should first decide what area of your home the work will take place in and how much you’re willing to spend on that particular project. These two factors will determine who you will hire. If the cost of the project is more than 500 dollars and includes a variety of professional work, such as electrical, mechanical and etc., you should look for a general contractor. Otherwise, you could opt for a handyman to do the job for you.
- Washington State Department of Labor and Industries: Hiring a Contractor or a Remodeler? What You Should Know [PDF] – Presents some quick tips on how to choose good general contractors. A checklist before hiring is provided and contacting the right agencies is also discussed in this article.
- Public Broadcasting Service: Your House – Hiring a Contractor – Defines the scope of work of general contractors and presents the fundamentals in the bidding process.
- Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board: What You Should Know Before Hiring A Contractor – The Quick Facts [PDF] – Provides short but very straightforward answers and suggestions to what an owner should always put in mind before hiring contractors.
- Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Regulated Industries Complaint Office: Hiring a Licensed Contractor – Discusses the requirements that the contractors need to present in order to obtain a license. It also discusses on how to choose a contractor type.
When searching for contractors, ask others!
Now that you have decided to work with a general contractor, the next step is to look for the best candidate for the job! Start by asking people. These could include the local furniture maker, hardware suppliers, construction professionals like architects and engineers or even your neighbors and relatives who have had their own good experiences. Ask them who they would recommend for your renovation project. In addition, inquire about the potential contractor’s work ethics, attitude, experience and other relevant information that you could obtain from these people.
- Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry: Planning to Build or Remodel a Home? A Consumer’s Guide to Hiring a Residential Building Contractor [PDF] – Presents some of the state rules on licensing contractors. It also encourages clients to verify the general contractors’ work performance over the past years.
- The Community of Redwood City, California: Do’s and Don’ts for California Consumers – What You Should Know Before You Hire a Contractor [PDF] – General advice before hiring a contractor.
Asking the right questions.
The next step is the interview. Keep in mind that you must gather as much information as you can and that you should feel comfortable with the contractor you’re considering for hire. Trust your gut feeling and don’t feel the need to settle immediately on one particular contractor. Also be sure to take some time to reflect on the answers you've obtained during your contractors interview.
- Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Hiring a Contractor – Discusses why it is necessary to ask the right questions, and to request proposals and other relevant information from a contractor when a client is considering in hiring one.
- North Minneapolis Recovery Effort Resources: Questions To Ask A Potential Contractor For Your Building Or Remodeling Project – Presents a set of questions that contractors should answer to see if they are eligible for a particular construction project.
- Energize Bedford: Questions To Ask A Contractor Before Hiring – More questions for contractors with helpful hints and tips.
Don’t settle for a couple of bids, go for more!
You have the freedom to invite contractors to bid for your project. Since you’re supposed to choose the best contractor for your project, don’t just settle for a couple of bids. Four or five bid proposals should give you enough options to choose from.
- CNN Money: How to Find a Contractor You’ll Love – Presents tips on what to look out for a general contractor.
- State of Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection: What to Look For in a Home Improvement Contractor – Discusses on how to choose the best contractor for you and what a contractor expects from you as a homeowner or client.
- City of Woodland: Hiring Contractors – Answers the frequently asked questions regarding on hiring contractors. The article concludes with a few tips on how to handle construction projects administered by general contractors.
Protect yourself from disputes and scams.
Many homeowners and construction clients have had bad experiences in construction projects. Some of these people experienced scams and in some cases lost properties and huge amounts of money. Don’t let this happen to you. Remember that it’s very important to communicate what you want and what you’re expecting from your contractor as your contractor should communicate the same with you. Miscommunication often leads to disputes and complaints. Also, always remember to keep copies of your documents and never sign papers that you haven’t read thoroughly.
- Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation: What You Should Know…Before You Hire [PDF] – Offers quick tips on what to do before hiring a contractor, what to look out for during the construction process, and how to avoid problems and complaints.
- Illinois Attorney General: Home Repair and Construction – Talks about common home repair scams that mostly involve general contractors.
- Legal Aid of East Tennessee: Don’t Get Cheated When You Repair or Remodel Your House – Presents suggestions on how to avoid scams related to general contractors or those who pretend to be one.
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