Remodeling a home can be stressful, especially when your contractor is unreliable. Finding the right person to undertake your project can make the difference between a smooth, successful remodel and a hellish one. Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind:
1) Talk to friends and family to get recommendations and referrals. Ask whether the project was completed on time and within the stated budget. Check out online resources such as www.yelp.com orwww.angieslist.com to get a good idea of which local contractor is right for your project. Additional resources are the local building associations in your area.
2) Get at least three written estimates. Make sure the contractor does a thorough evaluation on what needs to be done. After choosing someone, make sure to draw up a written contract specifying materials, warranties, timetables, subcontractors, and other important information. Ask if the contractor will be doing the work him/herself or subcontracting parts of the work to outside contractors. If the contractor will be subcontracting much of the project, ask how often he/she will be reviewing the work quality and progress.
3) Make sure the contractor and their subcontractors are insured. If they are not, you could be liable for paying workers’ compensation. Also, check with your insurance company to ensure you are covered for any injury or damage that may occur. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the contractor and any subcontractors have red flags in their business reports.
4) Insist the contractor use temporary surface protection and dust control products such as carpet protection, dust barrier systems and floor protection. This will prevent valuable fixtures from being damaged and will limit the large amount of dust that will tend to cover your entire home during a remodeling project. Make it clear whether workers can use your bathrooms or if they are to use an outside port a pottie only.
Once you have narrowed your selection, make sure the contractors arrive on time and present a professional manner. Ask to see other projects in your neighborhood if possible and get feedback on whether the homeowner would hire that contractor again. Discuss how changes to the project will be handled based on unexpected findings (i.e. presence of lead, asbestos, faulty wiring) and more.
Have patience during the construction process so that the contractor is allowed to work and without constant interruption. Make sure the contractor cleans up everyday prior to leaving your home. When a contractor does a good job, be sure to recommend the company to your friends!