We’ve all heard horror stories of people building homes or working on a renovation project and then their contractor suddenly disappeared, leaving them with an unfinished job and thousands of dollars lost. A good and reliable contractor can make the difference in a successful home renovation. Here are some tips to keep in mind when hiring a new contractor.
1. Look for recommendations from friends and family. If possible, see jobs that they worked. If you know they renovated your neighbor’s kitchen ask to see it and check out details in their work to see if you like it or not. Ask if they finished the project on time, if they are clean and organized. How is their crew? Are they respectful of the space they work in? The more you know about how they work from someone who has already worked with them the better.
2. Choose a contractor that has experience in the type of work you are looking for. If the contractor did a great job installing a new floor on your neighbor’s home, this doesn’t mean that they have the expertise to renovate your kitchen or install new tiles on your bathroom. Make sure you ask if they have done the type of work you are asking for and to see pictures of it if possible.
3. Make sure they are licensed contractors in your state. General contractors and subcontractors should be licensed in the state where they operate. Ask the contractor if they are licensed and to see a copy of their license as well as that of subcontractors that may work on the job as well. Hiring an unlicensed contractor can make it harder to hold them liable for any bad or unfinished work.
4. Be specific about what you want. Before asking for an estimate make sure you have an idea of the work you are looking for. Show the contractor pictures as an example of what you want, be specific about materials you would like to be used. Doing this will provide you with a more accurate estimate.
5. Sign a contract. Make sure that you sign a contract that details exactly what job will be done, the deadline to finish it, how the payments will be divided, payment schedule, materials that will be used, who will be the provider of these materials, and names of any subcontractors hired. Any change to the project should also be recorded and updated in the contract.
Even if you did your due diligence and carefully investigated and interviewed a new contractor, they may still be irresponsible and leave without finishing a job, or doing a poor job. If you are in this situation contact a real estate or contract issues attorney to help you hold a contractor responsible for a poor or unfinished job.