Are you ready to upgrade your home? Imagine the finished product after your ideas become reality! Now your house feels more like home—not to mention, the new remodel likely boosted your home value. Then, when the time comes to sell your home, the increased value will be seen at the closing table! Sounds awesome, right? There’s just one problem. These projects can cost tens of thousands of dollars! That means you can’t afford to hire a sloppy home contractor who might not do the job correctly. If you do, it will cost you even more money to fix it. Here’s the smart way to hire a home contractor:
1. Let Your Budget Be Your Guide
Decide which project you want to be done and how much money you’re willing to spend on it. Then, save up the cash and stick to that budget. This will help you narrow down your list when you start collecting cost estimates from local contractors.
- Do I want a full-scale home remodeling project?
- Can I focus on one particular room?
- Am I willing to spend more money for higher-quality materials?
- Can I be happy with materials that are less pricey?
- Is there any part of the project I can DIY?
This will help you get an idea of how much cash you need to save for your project. You don’t want to go into debt to remodel, even if you think you’ll make the money back eventually—only do what you can afford.
2. How to know the Type of Home Contractor You Need
Now you’re ready to look for home contractors. To help your search, make sure you’re familiar with the different types of professionals out there; specialty contractors, general contractors and design-build contractors.
- Ask family, friends and coworkers who recently did a home remodel for a referral.
- Do a Google search for “home contractors near me,” or something more specific to your project like, “kitchen contractors near me.”
- Read reviews that rank local home contractors like Angie’s List, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, Thumbtack and Houzz. Or write a social media post on Next Door or Facebook and ask for recommendations. This is the smart way to hire a home contractor!
3. Compare Home Contractor Profiles
As you’re scanning through home contractor websites and reviews, there are a few smart ways to keep the ones you want on your list and toss out the ones you don’t want. You want to keep the contractors who specialize in the service you want done. They should have a large portfolio that showcases before and after photos of their work. And look for the contractor who has the highest ratings given by the largest pool of reviewers.
4. Check Their Insurances and Certifications
You’ll also want to make sure the home contractor you hire has certain insurances and, depending on your home project, specific certifications. Ask if your contractor carries these insurance policies; general liability insurance or worker’s compensation coverage.
5. Contact References
Ask your remaining list of home contractors for some references of projects similar to yours.
Here are some questions to ask:
- Was the project done right and on schedule?
- Was the cost fair?
- Was the contractor on time?
- If problems came up, how were they handled?
- Was the jobsite kept clean?
- Are you still happy with the work?
6. Get Bids and Review Proposals
By this point, your list should be down to three promising home contractors. Now you’re ready to talk about price. Invite each contractor to visit your home to look at what needs to be done. Then they will be able to give you a bid and proposal.
The proposal will include things like:
- Project description
- Project timeline
- Types of materials
- Total cost
- Payment schedule
- Ways to handle potential additional costs
Stick with bids that are within your budget. And don’t necessarily go with the lowest bid, it could be low because of cheap materials, make sure you won’t be unhappy by the look of the finished product.
If by chance, all the bids come in higher than you budgeted for, talk to each contractor about options to decrease cost. You might be able to drop one or two of their services for a lower cost if you feel like you can DIY parts of your project.
7. Schedule a Final Walk-Through
Before the project is finished, make sure you schedule a final walk-through. When you do the final walk-through, examine the project together and address anything that isn’t quite finished. If everything is good to go, there are some legal documents to sign, either a “final payment affidavit” or “lien waiver.” Signing them is a safe and legal way to state that your contractor is paid, and you are happy with the work that was done.
Follow these steps and you will be able to know the smart way to hire a home contractor that is right for you! If you’d like recommendations on home contractors please give us a call!
Beth Brake and Mindy Short
Positively impacting your life as you move toward your dreams.