Be "In The Know" When Choosing the Right Contractor

Reblogger Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets
Real Estate Agent with Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 CA BRE# 01261476

Diana White-Pettis offers, yet another great post and list of helpful tips here. I just remodeled my kitchen all this month (Jan 30-February 20, 2017), I can confirm her list is spot-on! I had to find out first hand, who was the best of the best on my team. No project goes smoothly, like an escrow, there's just too many trades, levels of work ethics and schedules involved. But, following this list will certainly cut down on the surprises and miscommunications! Be sure to pop-by Diana's original post to comment.


We live in a townhome in UTC/La Jolla. We still had a circa 1970's kitchen (because I fix up my rentals first). So I don't know if my bride got tired of waiting or the cabinets committed suicide, but one night while eating dinner, we heard a CRASH!. All our upper cabinets fell off the wall! No earthquake, no recent DIY projects, just BOOM! So here's the Before, the Crash, the Gut and the After. This is further experience and empathy to share with my clients!

La JollaLa Jolla       La Jolla

       The Day We bought 2007                    The CRASH!   2016                              The Gut Job 01/30/17

La Jolla

The After 02/20/17

Original content by Diana White-Pettis MD#634275

Be "In the Know "When Choosing the Right Contractor

Billions of dollars are spent on construction and home remodeling each year. Many homeowners have discovered that improving their present residence with an updated kitchen, an additional bathroom, new windows, or a new roof can be a more prudent investment than purchasing a new residence. However, adding a room or updating a kitchen can cost more than a new car, and consumers should take some time and care in planning a costly home improvement project. Unfortunately, most consumers spend less time choosing a contractor than they do choosing a car.

Here is a checklist of important things to consider before starting any major construction project:



  • Plan your project carefully.

  • Shop around before hiring a contractor.

  • Get at least three written bids on your project.

  • Provide all contractors with accurate plans or drawings that will enable them to determine the scope and cost of work when requesting bids.

  • Check with the Contractors State License Board to make sure the contractor is properly licensed, and to check the status and disciplinary history of the license.

  • Check out contractors with your local building department, trade associations or unions, consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau.

  • Look at work the contractor has completed.

  • Ask your contractor to furnish a completion or contract bond.

  • Consult with more than one lending institution regarding the type of loan to obtain.

  • Ask your lender to recommend a funding-control company.

  • Make sure your contract provides for "retention," a percentage of each payment or of the total job (ordinarily 10%), which you retain until the job is completed.

  • Make sure everything you and your contractor have agreed to is included in your contract, and don't sign anything until you understand and agree with all terms.

  • Ask your contractor about inconveniences that may occur, and plan accordingly.

  • Keep a job file.

  • Do make sure you receive unconditional lien releases from subcontractors and material suppliers.

  • Make frequent inspections of the work, including a final walk-through.

  • Consult an attorney if a mechanics' lien is filed against your property.

  • Negotiate with the contractor first if problems or disagreements occur.




  • Don't hire an unlicensed contractor.

  • Don't hire a contractor without first shopping around.

  • Don't be fooled or pressured by a smooth-talking salesperson. Take the time and effort to make sure that the person or business doing your home improvement is going to perform in a professional manner.

  • Don't act as an owner/builder, unless you are very experienced in construction.

  • Don't sign anything until you completely understand it and agree to the terms.

  • Don't make agreements with subcontractors or workers without consulting the prime contractor.

  • Don't pay cash without a proper receipt.

  • Don't make a down payment that exceeds the legal limit (usually 10%).

  • Don't let your payments get ahead of the contractor's completed work.

  • Don't hesitate to ask questions of the contractor.

  • Don't make final payment until you are satisfied with the job.


Image courtesy of khunaspix at

Diana White-Pettis, Associate Broker

Exit Bennett Realty

7701 Greenbelt Rd. #100

Greenbelt, MD  20770

Cell: 301-502-2669




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Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great reblog..I did not see the original so I appreciate you resharing!

Feb 23, 2017 06:40 AM #1
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Thomas

Yikes, what mess that was and a quick way to get you to do something. We did a complete gut on our kitchen in our condo back in Boston and what a chore THAT was for 3 months...but well worth it.

Great post to reblog and wortth sharing with anyone considering. Your kitchen looks great!!


Feb 23, 2017 06:55 AM #2
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Your kitchen looks great, very crisp and clean, couldn't believe it was the same space. Good post with lots of good suggestions.

Feb 23, 2017 02:00 PM #3
Diana White-Pettis
Bennett Realty Solutions - Upper Marlboro, MD
GRI, CDPE, CNE, WHC Upper Marlboro Homes for Sale


Thank you for the reblog.  Your new kitchen is beautiful!


Feb 23, 2017 07:00 PM #4
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Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets

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