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Renovating your home can be difficult. You have to hire a contractor who is experienced, knowledgeable, and affordable. But where do you start? Before you start worrying, here are a few tips that will make the selection process simple and easy to deal with.
Remodeling firms vary considerably. Some companies specialize in just design work. Other companies may design and build, while companies only build and remodel. Companies that design usually have licensed and experienced architects, engineers and interior designers that will assess your house design and plan the new construction or renovations, they do not remodel or build the new homes.
Contractors, on the other hand, build according to the plans provided them. Design-build firms have their own construction crews and contractors and they provide a full-service package deal. The choice is yours, but design-build firms seem like the best option.
If you have home insurance, you can get in touch with your insurance company. Most insurance companies have connections with local contractors. Insurance companies are quite picky about who they work with and the Insurance companies will have carried out an intensive review process before hiring the contractor.
By using these contractors, you can take advantage of the review process and you may also get a discount on your job. You can also check with local property management firms as they hire local contractors to work on their managed properties.
Most homeowners use quotes and estimates to choose their contractors. Quotes and estimates are great, but they are just guidelines. Some contractors will put a rider at the end of the quote in which they are legally allowed to charge more based on the ‘scope of the project.’
The quote or estimate should contain details about labor cost, materials, fees, timeline, etc. Ideally, you should add 5%-10% extra to the quote price to plan for unexpected problems that may come up during the renovation process. Avoid contractors who ask for large upfront fees or total payment before the project starts.
Most contractors have several years of on-the-job experience but you should select professionals to deal with special jobs. For example, a complete kitchen and bathroom remodel means modifying the water pipes, sinks, faucets, etc. A substandard job can result in serious issues in your home’s plumbing system. For specialized jobs, find a contractor who has the knowledge and experience to successfully complete your project on time and on budget.
Even if a friend or relative has recommended the contractor, you should ask for references and credentials. Ask for the company name, address, previous clients, project details, insurance, State license, registration, etc. This may seem tedious but it can prove invaluable if you have any problems later on.
Choosing a contractor or company to work on your home is a personal decision and it involves a lot of research. Look at other projects completed by the contractor or company and assess the quality of the design and the workmanship of the completed project.
Don’t start work until you are happy what has been planned. Remember, renovations are expensive and time-consuming. Don’t hesitate to ask a lot of questions and make sure you are happy with the plan and the price to prevent problems later on. The best advice is to have an attorney or lawyer review any contract before you sign it.
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