Planning to remodel your house prior to the holiday season? You may need some professional guidance that will help you hire the appropriate home remodeling contractor. Remember that low price point shouldn’t be the only criterion of selection. You must also take into account the contractor’s past experience in dealing with projects similar to yours. He/she should be knowledgeable about his/her profession, the rules and building codes, and the real estate industry in general. He/she should also be ethical and easy to work with. Look for recommendations and don’t make the mistake of calling every contractor from the yellow pages.
A remodeling project, done well, can increase the value of your property and make your home more livable.
Some useful tips
Choose a contractor who has a valid license: A contractor may not be allowed to work in your area without a valid work permit or license. Check his/her license. Is his/her firm accredited to a reputed industry organization and can he/she demonstrate safe work standards and uphold the industry code of ethics? Does he/she have an insurance that covers accident victims, be it workers who are laboring for him/her or someone else? Will he/she cover for any property damage on your property or your neighbor’s if something happens due to the negligence of his/her workers? Get these issues sorted before getting into further discussions.
Choose a contractor that specializes in renovations of your kind of project: Most buildings in Canada and even the U.S. are built according to strict city council codes. The regulations and rules vary according to size, location, type of residence, and many other factors. A contractor without detailed knowledge of these rules can spell doom. Also, ask for references and proof of his/her past projects. Contact people who may have heard or worked with this contractor before. Also, ask the name of the vendors from who he/she would source the building material. If you feel that he/she may be involved in unscrupulous practices or is not too keen to share operational details of the project, start looking elsewhere.
Ratify your home improvement contract formally: If a remodeling contractor doesn’t want to sign a formal contract, is dillydallying or doesn’t want to fill in certain fields in the contract like the expected timeframe, expected costs, license and insurance numbers, and so on, you need to be circumspect. If you find out that he/she is shuffling between too many projects simultaneously, you may have to move on.
These steps should minimize chances of choosing the wrong contractor. Follow them as closely as possible. Ultimately, though, you have to accept that you can’t control the final outcome completely and sometimes it helps to act as per your hunch. Once you select a contractor, try to be as supportive as possible.