By: Demetrios Salpoglou
Home ownership is wonderful, but it can also be daunting to find the right home contractor for your next remodeling project. Whether you’re building an addition onto your home, redesigning your kitchen or updating a bathroom, here are some tips for making sure you bring in the right person to get the job done correctly, on time and within your budget.
How to find the best contractors for the jobWhile your first instinct might be to hop online and start researching potential contractors, the best place to start is by talking to friends, family and neighbors about any work they’re having done on their houses. Find out about their projects and how the finished product compares to what the contractor promised when taking the job. Only after this should you start researching contractors online. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry has a solid list of contractors broken out by specialty. Develop a short list of people you want to consider and then check them out on the Better Business Bureau website. Read up on their letter-grade rating, reviews and whether they are accredited. You’ll also find a great list of questions that homeowners should ask every contractor. It’s also a good idea to confirm that the contractors you’re considering are listed with the state Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. This office also has records of any complaints made against contractors on their list. Keep in mind that if you’re building an addition on your house, you contractor is required to have a current construction supervisor license granted by the Department of Public Safety.
Bring in the finalists for an interviewWith each contractor you meet, you’ll want to get a better idea of their past experience working on similar jobs, a list of references, proof of licensing and insurance and any other details you want to know in order to choose the best candidate for your needs. Feeling comfortable around the contractor you want to go with is crucial as this person will be in your home for extended periods of time and possibly when no one else is home.
Choose a contractor and write up a contractIf you follow this process with each person on your short list, you can confidently compare the quotes you receive and select the most qualified candidate. Then it’s time to dive into the details. Write up a contract that uses specifics whenever possible. Include a start date for the project with an estimated timeline for completion along with financial details such as the total cost of the project, any upfront deposit that’s required and a stipulation that final payment is not due until the project is considered complete. If you’re unsure about which details to include, start with this sample contract. Following this process for your next major home improvement project is the best way to ensure you find the right contractor to take your from good to great.