Whether you’re remodeling to improve your home’s resale value or to transform a house into your dream home, you’ll probably hire a contractor to do the work. Even if you enjoy the odd DIY job around the house, it’s often best to leave a major remodel to the professionals. Usually, that means hiring a general contractor to oversee the work.
Before You Hire Someone, Interview Several Contractors
As with most major undertakings, it’s often best to give yourself several choices. Select at least three contractors to interview, even if one comes highly recommended from someone you trust. The perfect contractor for your in-laws’ garage conversion may not be ideal for your new sunroom.
Get Itemized Bids Before You Hire a Remodeling Contractor
When asking for bids on your remodeling job, have an identical packet of information prepared for each contractor. Include plans and desired materials, so each contractor is bidding on the same work. Any bids you receive should be in writing. Insist on a fixed bid rather than a time and materials bid. The latter has a way of escalating in cost, while a fixed bid tends to stay on time and on budget.
Consider the bid you receive to be part of the interview process, as it will tell you a lot about the contractor. If the bid is late, that’s a broken commitment—and work hasn’t even begun. A bid that seems unusually high or low can also be a red flag; which is another reason to get multiple bids.
Ask for References From Each Remodeling Contractor You Talk To
When you get references, you should do more than simply call the homeowner for his or her opinion. If possible, go to see the actual work for yourself. In addition for client references, ask for proof that the contractor carries proper worker’s compensation and liability insurance. It’s also a good idea to ensure there are no complaints filed against your contractor of choice. Check with the Better Business Bureau and with your local builders’ association or consumer affairs office.
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