How to Find the Best Contractor

How To find the right contractor

Adding new features and decorations to your new home can be exciting. However, choosing the wrong contractor could turn your fun real-estate project into a frustrating nightmare. Whether you’re a new homeowner or a veteran who’s a little rusty, here are a few tips you can use to select the right person for your renovation job.

Seek Out Referrals

Satisfied customers are a great indicator of a company’s abilities. Talk to other homeowners, real-estate agents, your landlord, or anyone else who has a stake in the real estate market. By far the best recommendations you can get are actually from other professionals!

Call Them More Than Once

Prices and ability are not the only things that matter when searching for a contractor. Is he easy to reach? Is he pleasant and professional in conversation? Can he give you a rough price and time estimate on common jobs? If the answer to any of these questions is no, move on. Professionalism is just as important as ability level when hiring someone to work for you. Remember that you have the control when it concerns your real estate.

Related: Home Improvements with the Least Return

Meet In Person

The next step after calling them is to meet in person. In most cases, you’ll make a time where the contractor can visit your home and see the work area personally. He will most likely have a list of questions for you and will more than likely draft up a bid for your job. You should also use this opportunity to ask questions of your own, such as:

  • Who are your suppliers?

Knowing your contractor’s suppliers lets you understand the quality of the materials going into your home. If you take the time to call those suppliers as well, you can gain insight into your contractor’s professional reputation.

  • Will you itemize your bid?

Itemizing a project breaks the total price of the bid down into straightforward chunks. This is great for two reasons: you’ll pay the correct amount if your project stops short for any reason and if one part of the project is particularly expensive, you can find someone else to do it and save some money while making your project affordable.

Get More Than One Bid

Shop around for the best combination of value, credentials, and efficiency. Just because company A charged $1,000 for a job does not mean the job is worth that much money. Company B may charge $950 or less for the same (or better) quality work. In some cases, letting one professional know that other companies are willing to charge less may make them lower their price. Don’t worry about making them angry.

Related: 10 Home Improvements That Will Save You Money

Never Pay 100% Upfront

Paying in installments ensures that the work is done properly and efficiently. If you pay upfront, there’s no incentive for your contractor to work quickly or even to complete the job. In addition, if you need to stop the work short for whatever reason (such as dissatisfaction) it makes refunds a much larger headache.  A good rule of thumb is to pay 15 percent down, followed by 25 percent at each quarterly checkpoint, and end with the final 10% once all the work is complete.

Despite horror stories, you might hear from claims on court TV shows, good contractors aren’t difficult to find. Remember, your bad review ultimately hurts them more than it hurts you. However, a critical eye and some knowledge can keep you from dealing with the few bad apples, and help your real estate dream become a reality!

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