Pro Tips on How to Hire a Contractor
Start with your friends and family and then check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area. You can also talk with a building inspector, who’ll know which home renovation contractors routinely meet code requirements, says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, or pay a visit to your local lumberyard, which sees contractors regularly and knows which ones buy quality materials and pay their bills on time
Do Phone Interviews
Once you’ve assembled a list, Tom recommends that you make a quick call to each of your prospects and go through these questions to ask a contractor
Meet Face to Face
Based on the phone interviews, pick three or four contractors to meet for estimates and further discussion. A contractor should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner that puts you at ease. Tom says that it’s crucial that you two communicate well because this person will be in your home for hours at a time. On the other hand, don’t let personality fool you. Check in with your state’s consumer protection agency and your local Better Business Bureau before you hire a contractor to make sure they don’t have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors.
Investigate the Facts
Now that you’ve narrowed your list, put your research to use. Call up former clients to find how their project went and ask to see the finished product. But Tom says you shouldn’t rely on results alone. Even more important, visit a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Is the job site neat and safe? Are workers courteous and careful with the homeowner’s property?
Make Plans, Get Bids
You have your short list of contractors whose track records seem clean and whose work ethic looks responsible. Now it’s time to stop looking back at past work and start looking forward to your project. A conscientious contractor will want not only a complete set of blueprints but also a sense of what homeowners want out of a project and what they plan to spend. To compare bids, ask everyone to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and other expenses. Generally materials account for 40 percent of the total cost; the rest covers overhead and the typical profit margin, which is 15 to 20 percent
Tips for Budgeting for a Home Renovation
Whether you plan to renovate a house before moving in or are preparing to remodel your current abode, we know budgeting for a home renovation can be a tough process. First, you’ll need to determine what it is you really need versus what you simply want. Next, you’ll have to figure out how you’re going to finance the renovation in the first place. Once you have a general idea of how much money you have to spend on renovations (and where that money is coming from), you should be able to make better decisions on finishes, appliances and other renovation features
Remember: most renovations end up costing more than originally thought, so be sure to have a money cushion set aside in case of emergencies. This is especially true if you plan to tear down walls and make structural changes, as these projects often end up with unwelcome surprises (think: water damage, mold or electrical and wiring issues). Many homeowners may also be concerned with ways to cut costs and save money without compromising the quality of the home. For tips on budgeting for a home renovation, check out our expert advice below
Decide on your top renovation needs and priorities
The reason for renovating your home probably has something to do with a need that isn’t being met by your current living situation. Perhaps it’s a need for more space or perhaps it’s a need for an updated bathroom. Whatever the reason (or reasons) for renovating, be sure to write down and prioritize all of your remodeling goals. For instance, a larger kitchen island may be at the top of your priority list, whereas updated appliances may be lower down on the list of needs. Keep your goals in mind and avoid getting side-tracked with smaller projects that can wait for later
Look at cost vs. value for each renovation project
Planning to sell your home in the future? Keep the return on investment top of mind when choosing home renovation projects. After all, there’s no reason to pour $40K into a kitchen, if the home isn’t going to sell for more than you originally paid. Once you’ve prioritized your home renovation needs, research each project’s cost vs. value using Remodeling Magazine’s latest Cost vs. Value report. The report includes the cost of common remodeling projects and compares them to that project’s resale value. This should give you an idea about which projects are worth the money and which projects aren’t. For instance, the 6 most valuable home improvement projects of 2018 included an upscale garage door replacement, manufactured stone veneer, the kitchen, siding and vinyl window replacements and a bathroom remodel.
Figure out how you’re going to finance the renovation
Now for the hard part: figuring out how exactly you’re going to finance this renovation. First, take a look at your current finances. Do you have enough cash to cover the renovation? If so, great. If not, you’ll need to borrow money for the project. Unless you have a fairy godmother willing to loan you cash, we recommend either using a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC), where homeowners can borrow money against their home. Many homeowners also use credit cards to finance their renovation projects. This may be a good idea – assuming you have a plan to pay these credit cards off. If you have strong credit, you may also be able to obtain a loan through SoFi, an online personal finance company providing personal loans and mortgages to high income individuals
How to Find a Contractor When Renovating a Home
Preparing to renovate your home? Whether it’s a small, one-room makeover or an entire overhaul of the property, you’ll likely need an experienced and reputable general contractor. While expensive, these construction professionals provide valuable services to homeowners renovating a home. In all likelihood, homeowners won’t be able to spend all day, every day at the home overseeing the day-to-day operations. That’s where a general contractor comes in. Not only do general contractors oversee every aspect of the renovation from beginning to end, but they also guide homeowners in making practical yet budget-conscious decisions throughout the process. In addition, they handle complicated inspection and permitting requirements by the city.
Ask your Realtor
Did you purchase the home using a trusted real estate agent? If so, don’t hesitate to ask your Realtor for contractor suggestions. Most Realtors have a list of home improvement professionals to meet their customers’ real estate needs. For instance, in addition to recommended contractors, your Realtor likely has a list of handymen, plumbers, pool cleaners, etc. It’s also likely that a seasoned and experienced Realtor has worked with contractors in the past – either by selling them homes or selling their flipped homes. If you haven’t yet purchased the home that you plan to renovate, we recommend asking your Realtor to have their recommended contractors come to the house for a walk-through. The contractor may be able to give you a rough estimate of renovation costs, which could help you decide whether or not the home purchase is worth your money.
Word of mouth
When searching for a general contractor, there’s nothing more helpful than a good or bad recommendation from a trusted friend, family member or neighbor. If the contact had a good experience with the general contractor, you can bet they’ll be singing their praises. However, if the experience was less than favorable, your contact will likely warn you against hiring a certain contractor. Word of mouth recommendations are valuable, so don’t hesitate to reach out to anyone and everyone you know in the area who has undergone a home renovation. You may also want to consider joining Nextdoor.com or local Facebook groups to obtain contractor recommendations from locals
Search digital marketplaces
If suggestions from your Realtor and word of mouth recommendations from friends aren’t enough, try searching a digital marketplace that connects homeowners with home improvement contractors. A few websites to explore include Houzz, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and Porch. These websites provide visitors with a list of local contractors. If the contractor has set up a profile with the site, you’ll likely be able to find information about the company, photos of projects and reviews from clients
Obtain recommendations and conduct research on local contractors
Just because a trusted friend vouches for a contractor doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your due diligence. Make sure you’ve checked to see whether the contractor is properly licensed and insured. Check customer reviews and Better Business Bureau ratings. It’s also a good idea to research how long they’ve been in business, years of experience and projects completed. In addition to reviews available online, we recommend asking the contractor for a list of client references.
How do I find a good construction contractor for a home renovation project?
For most homeowners, the hardest part of any home renovation project isn’t the work itself, it’s finding a competent and reliable contractor to do the job. Installing kitchen cabinets, knocking down a wall or retiling the bathroom is simple compared with the struggle of hiring a quality contractor who will perform at a high level from start to finish. Everyone has heard stories about horrendous contractors who tore apart the kitchen and never returned or projects that cost three times the contractor’s original estimate.
Choosing the right contractor can make the difference between a successful home renovation project and a disaster. But even for experienced renovators, finding the right contractor can be a challenge. Apnabuilder is a reliable construction company in Pakistan (Lahore) that focuses on your needs. You can take on any construction project with confidence while our team does the heavy lifting for you.
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Know what you want before you get estimates: “Start with a plan and some ideas,” Hicks says. “Don’t start by talking to contractors.” You’ll get a more accurate estimate if you can be very specific in what you want done and the materials you would like to use to make it happen.
Ask friends, relatives and co-workers for references: People in your neighborhood who have done similar projects are your best sources. If you know people in the building trades, ask them, too. Employees of local hardware stores may also be able to provide referrals
Tips For Finding Reliable Home Renovation Contractors
Ask For Referrals
Websites that offer referrals for contractors can be a great tool if you don’t know where to find someone for the job, but also be wary. A contractor can have seemingly stellar reviews, but unless you’ve seen jobs they’ve completed in the past and spoken to people who have worked with the contractor before, you shouldn’t trust everything you find online as your only source. Experienced contractors don’t need website referrals; they’ll have real contacts for you to contact who can attest to their integrity
Seek Out Active Communicators
Communication will play an important role in the renovation process, so look for someone you can get along with. Problems and challenges can arise at any point of a home renovation project, and when they do, you and your contractor should be able to communicate and work through the issue together. Choose a contractor that seems able to remain calm and also keep you calm while finding a solution to any problems.
Look For Solid Contractor-Homeowner Contracts
There is no way around having a contract between you and your contractor; it’s part of their job description. If a contractor is not willing to write up a contract for your job or if the contract is incomplete, then it is likely unwise to proceed with the home renovation project with that contractor.
Don’t Fall For Free Quotes
When a contractor offers you a quote, they’re giving you a breakdown of costs for the project at hand. Even though it may seem like a positive thing for a home renovation contractor to offer a quote for free, it can also be a negative sign. The best contractors typically charge for quotes because they are busy with their jobs. If contractors taking the time to look at your home and discuss the project with you, it usually means that they are serious about working on your home. If you are paying for the quote, it usually indicates that you’re serious about getting the job done. One way to find contractors who are more likely to do a good job on your home renovation project is to be skeptical of those offering free quotes
Look For Contractors Giving Realistic Cost Estimates
Quotes are necessary, but they probably won’t give you all of the information you’ll need in order to properly choose a contractor. Before you hire someone, you’ll need to pay for a detailed estimate. This estimate should contain every aspect of the project, including specific materials and required permits. Proper estimates are pages-long and should answer every question you have about the renovation — even ones you didn’t necessarily think of. Be cautious about proceeding with the contract if a contractor tries to give you an insufficient estimate and you can spot price discrepancies or a lot of missing information