Thinking about renovating your home? This will obviously involve a contractor’s help; likely an architect’s as well. Working with contractors can be very frustrating, and it actually is one of homeowner’s most common complaints. One thing many homeowners don’t realize is that contractors have many jobs going on at one time, because they don’t make enough money to live just from only one job.

A contractor has a lot of people to pay, and can’t pay them and still make money just from your job.  A contractor won’t tell you this because they know it will scare you. So just know that this is a fact, and communicate to make sure they are there as often as they should be to get your project done in a timely manner.

When you hire a contractor, please realize that he has strong ties to his subcontractors, and that usually his loyalty is with them. This is because each depends on the other to stay afloat financially. This is why it is very important to ask your contractor how he plans to execute the project. Ask if he will be doing it himself, or if he is hiring subcontractors. 

You also must make sure that the contractor is licensed. With plumbers and electricians, for example, you’re probably better off getting someone licensed. Many things can go wrong in a home renovation, and if you contractor isn’t licensed he probably isn’t experienced enough to be doing the renovation in the first place.

Aside from the fact that if he is unlicensed, it is also wise to assume he isn’t insured either. It is critical to check to make sure he’s licensed and ask for proof of insurance for him and his contractors. Don’t be frugal, and not spend the hundred bucks it might take to run a credit check.

You usually get what you pay for. With this in mind, the lowest bid is not always the best one. Try to get a couple, and look for the one in-between.  Ask the low bidder what he left out from your other two bidders. 

Lastly, try to find an honest contractor. You can usually do this by meeting them in person. While people can still deceive you, if you know what to look for regarding voice tones and body language, you will likely get an idea as to what type of person he is.

This is important because there are contractors out there that intentionally go out of your budget to make more money. Also note, however, that sometimes it is not possible to stay within budget as unforeseen circumstances can happy in any project. You should also assume that there will be some unforeseen problems.

You don’t know what is wrong with something until you take it apart to look inside it. Thus, be proactive and create a contract that specifically outlines the agreed-upon tasks along with all materials and fixtures. For more reading, try Zillow’s article on, Should I Renovate Before Selling?

1 Comment

  1. Katie

    Do realize that contractor’s really do need more than one job to make it. They have a lot of people to pay, like the article said. Also, contractors really don’t get paid all that much. The unfortunate thing, is that in their business, people are always trying to get them to go cheaper. They really might as well be investigators with how often they get questioned.

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