Protecting the Ones You Love – Common Mistakes When Hiring

Upgrading your home with a customized renovation can make your home more “you”. Your home is your castle and we strive to fulfil your dreams of completing your custom home renovation. During your search for a custom home contractor, keep these tips in mind.
• Accepting the lowest bid
Home renovations can be costly but that doesn’t mean you should cut costs. Lower bids may indicate cheaper products or poor quality workmanship. After the job is done, you have to live with the work that was finished so make sure you select a general contractor who is up to your standards.
• Verify, verify, verify
Select a general contractor who is licensed through the state. You can easily get their license number by asking and many will include it on their website if they have one. Also, verify that they have adequate insurance, including Worker’s Compensation, should they, or a subcontractor become injured while working on your home. To avoid scams, check the address and contact number of the contractor you are hiring; they should have a permanent address that is not a P.O. Box. If a contractor claims that they are part of an organization, you can verify this as well; however, being a part of an organization is not mandatory and does not reflect on the standard of work they perform.
• Check references
Ask for or research reviews on your contractor or their company. Reviews hold more weight from third party sites that are not directly associated with the contractor. Contact previous clients, if possible, to get a thorough review of the contractor you are looking to hire. Be sure to ask the right types of questions because a person may have thought the contractor was a great person but did poor quality work. Questions about the timeline and quality of the work performed, level of communication, if the contract was fully honored, and if the contractor stayed within the budget are important to get a full picture of the builder.
• Hire the right kind of contractor
Select a contractor who is familiar with the style of design you are looking for. If you want a rustic look, it may be out of the comfort zone of a contract who primarily deals in modern, chic look. Review their portfolio of work completed or while checking references, ask about the style of work done.
• Trust your instincts
Even if credentials and reviews all check out, if the contractor makes you feel uncomfortable for any reason, then trust your gut. It will be difficult to continue to work alongside of someone you don’t like to be around.
• Be specific and honest about what you want
When discussing the ideas you have for your home, be as specific as possible with your home contractor. This will help create accurate design plans that will minimize the risk of you disliking the direction construction is going. Should something come up that you don’t like, be honest and upfront with your contractor before it’s too late. Just keep in mind, changes may affect the budget.
• Have a written contract
As trustworthy as the contractor may be, always have an agreement of terms in writing. This will protect both parties involved. A contract will outline the expectations from the contractor and the obligations of the homeowner. It should include a detail description of the work ahead, materials and tools needed, a detailed timeline of construction, and payment schedule.
• Time and material contracts
Many people may not realize that a contract in which the payment is based off of the length of time and materials it takes to complete a renovation can be far more costly than a fixed rate. In some states, time and material contracts are banned because of the substantial increase in cost they turn out to be. These types of contracts may also lead a less than reputable contractor to take their time or intentionally delay the project in order to get paid more.
• Down payment
Your contractor may require a down payment prior to breaking ground and an amount up to 10% of the final cost is normal. This gives the contractor some piece of mind before diving into a large project. This amount may not be refundable in the event a client changes their mind so check your contract. If a contractor wants a substantial amount up front, this is a red flag.
• Understand the contract
The general contractor will review the contract with you and you will have a chance to read and review it yourself, but make sure you actually understand everything. Contractor jargon may be confusing and clarification can help reduce stress and keep you informed of your obligations during the renovations.
• Lien waivers
After the job has been concluded and the final payments have been made, you should request a lien waiver from the contractor if one was not already supplied. A lien waiver forfeits a contractor’s right to claim payments on unpaid bills. If any subcontractors were used, a lien waiver should be obtained for each one to prevent being brought to court over alleged nonpayment.
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