Renovating your home is a large undertaking, and you want it done right. If you have decided to hire a professional contractor for the job, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to protect yourself as well as your most valued investment, your home.
First and foremost, research your state’s legal requirements for contractors regarding insurance, licensing and workers compensation, so that you can eliminate any contractor who does not comply. Visiting the Contractor’s License Reference Site is one way to learn about licensing requirements in your area and find out whether a particular contractor holds an active license.
Asking friends and family for references is usually a good starting point for finding a contractor who will perform quality work. Many contractors and home renovators agree that the best way to research a prospective contractor is to contact past clients, ask detailed questions and if possible, visit one or more work sites to check out the quality of the work. Tom Silva, general contractor at This Old House, shares a couple of other excellent ideas for finding good contractors in his article How to Hire a Contractor. Tim suggests checking with a building inspector to learn whose work is typically up to code or consulting with a local lumberyard about which contractors purchase quality materials and stay current on accounts.
Each contractor who will be quoting your project (typically at least three is advised) should be given the same set of specifications to ensure that your quotes are comparable. Though it may be tempting to automatically hire the contractor with the lowest bid, price is not always the best criteria for deciding which contractor to hire. The contractor you ultimately hire will be spending considerable time in your home, and the work performed will likely impact your home’s value. Selecting a contractor with the skills and professionalism to deliver quality work can help ensure that the effect of your renovations on your home value is a positive one.
Once you have selected your contractor, ensure that every detail of the project is outlined in the contract, including projected start and finish dates, procedures for changes, a payment schedule, labor and material charges, a lien waiver and any specific agreements you have made with the contractor. Do not count on verbal promises alone; even if the contractor has a standard contract for most jobs, provisions may be added to the contract upon agreement between both parties.
Source by Maria Polidoro