Five Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Hiring a Contractor
Building or remodeling a home can be both an exciting and stressful time for any homeowner. Finding a contractor that can deliver quality work on time and within your budget can be an exhausting process. By doing your homework and asking the right questions, you can avoid these five common mistakes homeowners make when hiring a contractor.
Not checking for proper credentials.
This one might seem a bit obvious and unnecessary but overlooked, this step can lead to potentially disastrous consequences. Verifying the contractor’s credentials can easily be done online with a simple name search of your local government building code or permitting department. (1) You first should verify they are a state certified or registered licensed contractor; (2) verify the contractor has workers compensation coverage; and (3) verify the contractor has liability insurance.
Not checking references.
Ask the contractor you are considering for your project for the names and contact information of their last 3-5 clients and talk to them about their own experiences. Below is a list of sample questions you may want to ask former clients. Remember this is only a starting point.
- Were they satisfied with the work?
- Was the project completed on time?
- Did the project stay within budget?
- Was the contractor easy to reach?
- Were they responsive to your concerns?
- Did they show up when they said they would?
- Did they have any problems with the contractor?
- Would they recommend this contractor to a friend?
Hiring someone solely because you know them.
Your contractor is going to be overseeing your biggest investment on a daily basis. It is important to hire someone you feel like you can trust, but it is equally important to hire someone who has the necessary skills and knowledge your project requires. You may be tempted to hire a friend or someone with a likeable personality, but that doesn’t mean they are qualified to take on your project. Take your time to ask the right questions and make sure the contractor you are considering has the expertise to achieve your goals.
Choosing the contractor with the lowest price.
Tempting as it may seem to go with the contractor offering you the lowest price, this strategy is not advisable. You may be getting cheap quality materials and a less than desirable quality of work. The best practice is to interview multiple contractors before making your final selection. And while price is an important factor to consider, you should not hire a contractor based on price alone. Don’t forget the classic saying, “you get what you pay for.”
Failing to get a written contract.
A written contract is designed to protect both you and the contractor. A written contract establishes the expectations of each party. It allows homeowners and contractors to define essential terms, allocate risks, and provides a timeline and roadmap for your construction project. Failing to have a written contract could lead to disagreement and an ultimate breakdown of your professional relationship with your contractor.
Follow these simple tips and you should be well on your way to a productive and positive homebuilding experience.
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