Summer is the time when many homeowners start to think about and plan for, various home remodeling projects. If you are thinking about updating your kitchen, putting on that new roof, or even landscape projects, it pays to do some pre-planning. Whatever the project, you need to protect yourself from the financial risks and hazards associated with a home remodel project.
- What’s your project? Are you looking to remodel one room or make minor updates to a small space? The type of project determines whether you’ll need a general contractor or someone more specialized.
- Check-in with your local homebuilders’ association. You’ll be able to search contractors within your area and put together a list of potentials.
- Get referrals. Ask your friends, family, and coworkers who they’ve worked within the past. They may have a great contractor you haven’t heard of — or know of a few you should stay away from.
- Prepare ahead. Compile a list of reputable contractors before you need one. The stress of an emergency repair might impair your judgment.
- Get multiple estimates. If the price is a big concern, checking with only one contractor won’t guarantee you the best price. But the cheapest estimate also doesn’t ensure the best work. If you have the time, try and get a second or third quote.
If you plan on hiring a contractor, you should consider these tips to help make sure your project is completed the way you want.
- Plan on permit costs from your local government.
- Ask contractors about their experience with your specific project.
- Make sure the contractor is licensed. You can usually go to the State Contractors Board for this information.
- Provide the contractor with guidelines for working in and around your home.
- Check local directories for recommendations. Yelp can be a good resource.
- Be specific in your project; this would include type of products used and even brands you desire.
- It is ok to get more than one bid.
- The lowest price may not be the best quality.
- Always have a written agreement with your contractor. It should include a timeline and competition date.
- Never pay 100% upfront. It is customary to pay one third down, one third as you go and one third upon completion.
- Go visit other homes on which the contractor has worked.
- Make sure the contractor has liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Your homeowner’s insurance will not cover the contractor or his work. If the contractor causes damage to your home, you will want their insurance to provide restoration. Ask for a certificate of insurance.
When you buy insurance, whether it’s for your home, your car or your business, you want an advocate who will properly assess the risks you face and give you an objective analysis of the marketplace, it’s up to you to make the final choice.
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