Guide to Hiring a Contractor For Your Home Renovation

By
Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster, Real Estate Inc.

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What’s on your remodeling wish list? Maybe you’ve been dreaming of updating your master bathroom since the day you moved into your old (but charming) house, or perhaps you’re ready to add a new eat-in kitchen, or a screened in porch. When it comes to home improvements, knowing what you want is often the simple part.  If you plan to hire someone to take on the project, then finding that great contractor is key to your dream renovation.

Here are some important guidelines to follow before you hire a contractor to help you with your renovation:

1. Hire only state-licensed contractors.

2. Check a contractor’s license number online at www.cslb.ca.gov

3. Come up with a list of the project details and specific product lists, down to the type  of faucet and tiles you plan to use for your bathroom renovation. By specifying these details up front, you will enable contractors to provide you with bids that are much more accurate than if they all priced different products. After you’ve come up you’re your detailed project list, request bids from at least three different contractors

4. Don’t hire a contractor based solely on the lowest bid. Before hiring a contractor, assess some of their previous work in person ask the contractor for at least two references.  Hire the most impressive contractor.

5. Make sure all project expectations are in writing and do not sign the contract until you understand and agree to every single term that is written on the contract.  The written agreement should include:

    • The contractor’s full name, address, telephone number, and professional license number, a detailed description of the work to be done.  Specify the materials to be used: quality, quantity, weight, color, size, brand name, etc.
    • The starting date and completion date
    • The labor cost and the material charges
    • Information on how and when you must pay
    • Any warranties and guarantees of workmanship
    • The method for debris and material removal when the job is complete
    • A “right to cancel” clause.

6. Confirm that the contractor has workers’ compensation insurance policies for employees.  Also make sure to ask the contractor about liability insurance(should there be any property damage).

7. Do not put more than 10% down or $1,000 initially (whichever is less). Never make any payments in cash!

8.  It seems silly to write this, but be careful not to let payments get ahead of the work.  Too often homeowners do not check to make sure work has been completed before they pay the contractor.

9. Keep a job file of all papers relating to your project, including all payments.

10. Don’t make the final payment for the job until all work is completed and you are satisfied!

Comments (3)

Anonymous
Anonymous

These are some good tips for hiring contractors. I think one of the most important steps is checking the license. It is important that people get the license number and phone the state license board department or the licensing authority before hiring the contractor. There are many sites with more tips on hiring contractors including www.infocities.com or angieslist.com. It is important for consumers to get well informed. Also the not put more than 10% down is a very good tip...and make sure its not cash like you said.

Aug 19, 2012 10:15 PM
#1
Anonymous
Michael Williams

These are very good insights. a good contractor needs to be licensed, bonded and insured and needs to have a lot of experience. sometimes going for the cheaper option can be expansive. I did my remodeling with inner city sky line and I couldn't be happier

May 10, 2016 04:07 AM
#2
Anonymous
Michael Williams

innercityskylineinc.com
If you guys want to check them out.

May 10, 2016 04:08 AM
#3

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