What do you need to know to work with a home remodeling contractor? Do you even need one?
On the one hand, completing a renovation or redesign project on your house without outside assistance can give you a feeling of accomplishment. Still, there may be a specific time when a seasoned professional familiar with residential construction work is the right choice.
This article explores some commonly given advice for working with a general contractor to fix up your home.
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When Should You Seek a Contractor for Home Remodeling?
Before we even get into any concrete home remodeling contractor advice, we should consider expertise. Construction professionals, including contractors and designers, do not stay in business unless they have expertise that a homeowner cannot hope to match. Skilled home remodeling professionals will be able to ensure that the job is done correctly.
On Finding the Right General Contractor for Your Home Renovation Project
If you are new to fixing up your home, you may need to seek the assistance or advice of a home remodeling professional. Here are some thoughts on how to find a general contractor to improve your house and grounds.
Make Sure They’re Licensed and Legitimate
To make your home renovation project a success, always hire a licensed contractor. General contractors as well as subcontractors are required to have certification in most states. They are a legal requirement, but this doesn’t ensure that a competent job will be done. If a contractor isn’t adequately licensed, you don’t want to hire him.
Take time to investigate the background of any company you wish to do business with to ensure that they are above-board. Using a home remodeling contractor or company without an address is not a good idea, since they are likely not reputable and probably too small. Try to work with a company that has a solid reputation.
Anytime you undertake a renovation, redesign, or other construction/demolition project on your house, be honest with your remodeling contractor on how much you have budgeted for the work.
Being honest will allow your home renovation contractors to be able to choose your materials wisely for your project and use better quality materials for your renovation. This can help them get the best deal on the wood, glass, metal, brick, insulation, and everything else they’re putting into your house.
It also helps the contractor estimate how much value they will get out of the transaction—and you want them to be invested. The great thing about this is both parties win.
Shop Around and Get References
Get references from anyone you hire for home remodeling. Think about it like you are hiring an employee. You should have an idea what their background is and know if the work that they’ve performed elsewhere has been satisfactory.
Comparable estimates are key when trying to choose a contractor for residential renovation. Be clear about what you want to replace or repair, and keep your request the same for every contractor you speak to. If your project keeps changing, none of the estimates you get will be comparable, so you will not know who is offering the best price.
Also check consumer watchdog organizations. See what the company’s reputation is like online by reading unbiased customer reviews. Get to know your contractor ahead of time.
On Working With a Home Remodeling Contractor to Fix Up Your House
Have a Contract
Here’s one hopefully self-explanatory piece of home remodeling contractor advice (but we have to say it): Sign a contract before you allow any professional to start working.
Do not allow any work to be done on your home (especially renovation, construction, or demolition) without a proper contract. You may also want to have the contract looked at by a lawyer. This contract should clearly outline the starting and finishing dates, any warranty information that is applicable, the exact work that will be done and the total sum for labor and materials.
Keep Good Records
If you are hiring a home remodeling contractor, it is important to keep records. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the contractor has you covered in this regard. Save all the paperwork that is at all related to your project. That way, you can keep tabs on the progress of the job. It helps you and the contractor continue to concentrate on the work at hand.
When planning a renovation or addition to your home, don’t believe everything a contractor tells you. Contractors, even those with stellar reputations, could take advantage of homeowners who place too much trust in them. If the contractor mentions any problems or issues, homeowners should have the information validated before investing any more money in the project or modifying the construction schedule.
Quotes and feedback from contractors should be viewed with a degree of skepticism. It is not uncommon for unscrupulous contractors to mislead homeowners who are not involved in the process or are easily intimidated. Make sure you verify all of the problems before you start spending money through a contractor.
The Value of a Professional Opinion for Home Remodeling
Make sure that you can identify when it’s time to call in a professional contractor. It is vital to get an expert’s advice—a contractor familiar with a range of residential renovation and construction projects—for bigger tasks. Sometimes, just that opinion can help you save money and time. It’s easy to make big mistakes without professional help.