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How to Choose a Contractor in 2024 - The Don'ts

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How to Choose a Contractor in 2024 - The Don'ts

Hiring a contractor for home renovations or construction projects can be a daunting task. Entrusting your home and investment to someone requires careful consideration and research. While there are many reputable contractors out there, it's essential to be aware of potential red flags that may indicate a less-than-reliable contractor. Here are ten warning signs to watch out for:

  1. The contractor wants a large down payment: If a contractor insists on a significant down payment before starting work, it could be a red flag. Reputable contractors typically ask for a reasonable deposit or payment schedule based on the progress of the project.

  2. Their agreement for the work is vague: A vague or ambiguous contract leaves room for misunderstandings and disputes later on. Ensure that the contract clearly outlines the scope of work, materials to be used, project timeline, and payment terms.

  3. The contractor doesn't have references: Reliable contractors should be able to provide references from previous clients. If the contractor hesitates or is unable to provide references, it may indicate a lack of experience or unsatisfactory past work. Also, ask for references of similar type work.

  4. The bid or estimate is extremely low: While a low bid may seem appealing, it could be a sign of subpar materials or workmanship. Be wary of bids that are significantly lower than others, as they may result in hidden costs or poor-quality work.

  5. The bid or estimate is extremely high: On the flip side, an excessively high bid may be an attempt to overcharge for the project, or, it could be a sign that the contractor doesn't want the job for some reason. Ask if the contractor doesn't want the job, and then try and fix what they see as a problem. It's essential to obtain multiple bids and compare them to ensure you're getting a fair price. Also ask if they anticipate any unseen added costs or possible adjustments.

  6. The contractor doesn't have proof of insurance: A reputable contractor should have insurance coverage, including liability insurance and workers' compensation. Request proof of insurance before hiring to protect yourself from liability in case of accidents or damages.

  7. The contractor is a poor communicator: Effective communication is key to a successful project. If the contractor is unresponsive, vague, or difficult to reach, it may lead to misunderstandings and delays throughout the project.

  8. The contractor doesn't mention permits or suggests the homeowner obtain them personally: Obtaining necessary permits is essential for ensuring that the project complies with local building codes and regulations. A trustworthy contractor should handle the permit process and include it in their scope of work, in their estimate.

  9. The contractor doesn't address material costs, overages, delays, or lien waivers: Clear communication about material costs, potential overages, project delays, and lien waivers is essential for transparency and accountability. Ensure that these aspects are addressed in the contract to avoid surprises later on. You can ask for a lien waiver to insure they don't put a lien on your property because of overages or disputed end costs.

  10. You have a bad gut feeling: Trust your instincts. If something feels off or if you're uncomfortable with the contractor for any reason, it's okay to walk away. Your peace of mind and the integrity of your home are worth more than any project.

In conclusion, being aware of these red flags can help you make an informed decision when hiring a contractor. Take the time to research and interview multiple contractors, ask questions, and thoroughly review contracts before proceeding with any project. By being vigilant and proactive, you can avoid potential pitfalls and ensure a successful outcome for your home renovation or construction project

Posted by

Heath Coker, Associate Broker
Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Robert Paul Properties
508-548-8888  Licensed in MA
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