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Thinking of Renovating Your Home? Read This First

Whether you are a new homeowner or have owned your home for years, a home renovation may be on your “to-do” list for this summer.  One of the very first things any homeowner who is thinking of renovating must ask themselves: Can I do this myself or should I hire a contractor?  For most major renovations like a kitchen remodel, bathroom, basement, etc. hiring a contractor is the best choice.  But beware.  Hiring the wrong contractor can quickly turn your dream remodel into a nightmare.

 

That’s why it’s essential to do your due diligence when hiring a contractor.  One of the first things you should do is get multiple estimates before signing any contracts.  According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), when you get multiple bids, you can learn a great deal about the proposed project, such as; what type of work is needed, the quality of the building materials, how long the job may take, and the total cost.  What else should you look for?  Here are some tips to help you find the best contractor to work with to ensure a successful home renovation.

 

Check bbb.org
BBB’s business profiles can tell you how long the contractor has been in business, as well as provide contact information, verified customer reviews, complaint details, and how the business responded.

 

Be wary of ‘today only’ sales pitches
This is a sales tactic designed to get you to sign a contract or put down a deposit without giving you the opportunity to do your research. Watch out for these and other ‘bargains’ that make you rush into a deal.

 

Get references from recent customers
Speak with other property owners who had work done recently, and ask what they did or did not like about a particular contractor. A reputable contractor will be happy to provide client references.

 

Get everything in writing
Make sure all verbal promises end up in the written contract, as well as, a detailed description of the work, the cost of materials and start, and completion dates. Contracts also should include specifics about the deposit, the payment schedule, and guarantees for the quality of work and materials.

 

The contract should specify required permits
Renovation work often requires permits from the town or municipality. If your contractor suggests going without permits, it might be a sign they have a poor reputation at city hall.

 

Compare apples to apples
Choosing a prospective contractor is simpler if you ask for quotes based on the number of hours needed and the same quality of materials.

 

Avoid putting down a large deposit
A typical payment schedule should follow the “rule of thirds”.  The first payment is given when signing the contract and helps pay for materials, the second payment when work begins, and the final payment when the job is finished and you are satisfied with the quality of work.  Ask the builder to walk you through the work to explain what has been done.

 

By sticking to the above steps, you’ll head into your renovation with peace of mind, knowing you’ve done your homework and taken the necessary steps to select the best possible contractor.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.

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