Any time you give your kitchen a makeover, redo a patio deck or add a bathroom you’ll be bumping up your home’s value by a significant amount. The goal is to make sure your remodeling project doesn’t go over budget. This is where hiring the right contractor will be key. The contractor is the job supervisor who will be in charge of all aspects of that job from drawing up the plans to pulling the permits, to hiring the crew to buying materials. Basically, all aspects of the job flow through the contractor. If you have a problem, then you’ll take it up with the contractor. Having the right contractor could insure there won’t be any delays or cost overruns.
Before you look for a contractor, try to get an idea about the project. For instance, if it is a kitchen remodel, then pull together photos from online or in a magazine about what your ideal kitchen would be like. You’ll present these to the contractor during the interview phase. This, in turn, will allow them to put together an estimate of the work. That is what your budget will become. First, line up the potential candidates.
The best place to start is with a friend or family member who just went through the process. Grill them about their contractor. They’re sure to be able to offer valuable insight on their experiences. If you don’t know anyone who has gone through a recent remodel, then sites like Angie’s List can provide reviewed recommendations.
It would be ideal to pick at least five contenders for the job. You’ll want to conduct a phone interview with them to begin the hiring process. They’ll want to know about the scope of your project. Ask about their credentials and certifications. You also want to discuss how many other jobs they have going on now. A contractor can have a few active projects, but you don’t want them spread too thin. Most importantly, ask for references.
Check The References
Before you narrow down the field, you’ll want to check the references. It is a given that the former customers provided by the contractor will have positive things to say. However, if three former clients all say the contractor did a fantastic job, but he needed two extra weeks, then you know what you’ll be dealing with.
Face To Face
From your list of five, you should pick the top three. These will be the contractors you’ll want to meet in person at your home. This will allow them to take measurements to determine the actual size of the project. That will be crucial for the final estimate. You’ll also get a feel for the contractor from a personal level. After all, this is someone who will be coming into your home with a crew for an extended period of time. You want to be able to feel good about communicating with them. If there is a language barrier, you might want to look elsewhere.
Get Bids In Writing
Your top contractors should all submit bids in writing. Ideally, these bids should all come in around the same price. If there is a bid that is drastically lower, think twice before jumping on board. Yes, you want to save money, but that doesn’t mean cutting corners that are going to be a problem later on. Also, every bid should have a contingency amount. Think of this as the emergency funds. This could be something you set to the side without telling the contractor but will cover potential problems. Anyone who has watched a home makeover reality show knows there are often “surprises” to be found once the walls start coming down.
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