No matter how big or small your home remodeling project is, a lot can go wrong in a very short time if the project is not completed by an expert. A contractor can help you with the entire process, from drawing up plans to removing trash from your home at the end. However, not all remodeling contractors are as good as they may look online or in the yellow pages. Follow these tips to ensure you hire a contractor that will provide expert workmanship at a price that works for you.
Ask your local friends, neighbors and family members whom they have used for their projects. They will be able to tell you exactly what they liked and what bothered them about the services they received. If you do not know anybody who has had a remodel done, ask a local home inspector or even an employee at a home remodeling store.
Ask for Credentials
You certainly do not want to hire someone who decided to take a remodeling job to make a few quick bucks. A good home improvement contractor will hold some credentials or state licenses. Credentials ensure that the contractor has kept up on his continuing education. Your chosen contractor should also be bonded and insured to protect you from financial responsibility if he or his workers are injured on your property.
Choose a Specialist
Rather than choosing a general contractor, a contractor specific to your needs may give you the best service. A specialist will know local codes that govern your needs and will know the latest techniques and parts for your project. Consider a contractor who specializes in bathroom or kitchen remodels or who only builds home additions, for example.
Ask for Free Estimates
When you ask for a free estimate, not only will you get a ballpark figure of how much your project will cost, but also you will get to meet the contractor in person. You will discover if the contractor is responsible, honest, on-time and friendly. Do not be afraid to ask plenty of questions at this point to learn more.
Ask for References
Every good contractor should have a list of references for past projects. He may even have pictures of projects that he has completed. Ask for a list of references, and call up several of the contractor’s past customers. Ask them questions about the contractor’s workmanship, his personality and his budgeting skills.
Complete a Contract
Once you have decided on a contractor, you need to get everything in writing. The contract should include an estimate and a proposed payment schedule. It should also include specifics about the work to be done, a preliminary idea of how long it will take, a limited warranty and a waiver of lien. There should also be information about how any disputes between you and the contractor would be resolved.
Even when you hire a great contractor, you may still discover unexpected problems or expenses during your remodel. However, a good contractor will know how to repair these issues according to code and will keep you apprised of the situation. Choose a contractor that you can trust around your house, whose work you like and who has plenty of experience.