Hiring a Contractor

Blog Post Image
Home Improvement

Happy snowy Sunday! 

My apologies for being a couple days late on this weeks updated blog post! Sometimes life as a realtor can just get in the way, but anyways here it is and I am happy you are here! As we approach spring, we have many people tediously working on renovating their homes, but what if they are hurting their bottom dollar rather than helping? The truth is not all renovations are equal, and not all contractors are of the same caliber! A bad contractor will be a headache and a costly mistake, but never you fear! Here is a few quick tips on picking a contractor, and how to conduct business with them.  

First lets start with choosing a contractor, because lets face it. Everyone has had, or has heard of a horror story having to do with a local handyman. You should scour for a contractor just like you would for any other professional. This is the number one way a good realtor will receive business, and they deserve it because obviously they did a rock star job for folks. A general contractor is no different, so make sure to ask friends, family, associates, and even home improvement stores for solid referrals. Word of mouth is the absolute best form of advertising, so make sure you are working with someone you trust! 

After you've selected a few top candidates, ask each of them for a bid on their proposed work. Not only will this provide the best value for you, but it will give you insight into what their capabilities are. If one companys bid is oddly lower than the rest beware. It could be an indicator of an inexperienced or shady contractor, and you should ask them to explain. However, it is always nice to save money, so you should definitely weigh your options! Being a bit more hands on to make sure your project is done right may very well be worthwhile to save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars! Just make sure your budget, expectations, and definitely timeline is clearly understood by all parties.   

Speaking of time line, you can bargain with how much, and how often you pay them. NEVER pay a contractor everything up front! I personally do some landscape construction on the side, and will never ask for this. If they need money to start then do a fifty percent down payment, or offer to pay for materials. Another great tactic, especially for investors is to pay them after every little job. Lets say you are renovating a living room that needs carpet, drywall, trim, paint and lights. Tell them you will pay them incrementally after each smaller project. Not only will they keep coming back, but they will get that job done a whole lot faster because they know payday is here as soon as that carpet goes down! 

BUT before any work is to done please understand, permits will make or break your job, so don't just trust that your contractor pulled them! Either pull them yourself, or require your contractor to show you proof before any work starts. If governing bodies find out permits weren't pulled they will at the very least halt any work, or worse. I have personally seen pole barns come down that were 90% finished because someone didn't pull the proper documentation. Also, when you go to sell you must disclose if any work was done without proper permits, so really you are just hurting yourself by not doing your due diligence. Home buyers will be weary of this, and if you lie there may be legal repercussions. 

Honestly, the best advice I can give you when hiring a contractor is to use common sense, and do your own research into your project. They will know you have no clue what you're talking about, and that's an easy opportunity for them to take advantage of you! Don't get caught with your pants down, and if ever need a referral ask your realtor! They should have a wide web of valuable partners for you to lean on, and are more than happy to help everyone out. Remember, the best business deal is one where everyone wins! 

Thanks for reading

Justin Rinks

Century 21 Affiliated