Many home buyers today are choosing to buy a Windsor property they plan to update and remodel. In order to take advantage of historic low-interest rates before they start to rise, buyers, particularly first time home buyers, are looking at less expensive homes that will need some real improvements.
When it comes time to hire a contractor for a job, the goal naturally is to make sure you have as much as a positive experience as possible. Here are some warning signs you should carefully consider when you start interviewing for your construction project:
1. Contractor Vague On Details:
The last thing you want to hear from a contractor over and over again is:
“I don’t know.”
“I’m not sure.”
“What was your deadline again?”
But it happens. When you can’t confirm or get information on even the smallest of details, it can put a strain on a relationship with your contractor. Make sure, before you hire, that you do the following:
Get referrals: And make sure you contact them.
Tour current projects: Don’t pay too much attention to websites, as everyone puts up their best pictures. Visit and make sure you like what you are see.
Get a detailed estimate: Any contractor that hands you a contract that leaves blanks where dollar figures should be should be shown the door. Make sure all steps of the project are completed, costs provided and a full written schedule and timeline. Keep in mind that prices may change as costs can increase on supplies and fees as the months go on. Ask your contractor about this if you are hiring for a long-term project.
2. High Pressure:
Forget the high-pressure sales tactics, like those offering a “low time rate if you sign now.” Remember, it’s not unheard of for prices to change as the months go on, simply because material costs rise, but don’t consider those that offer “one time only” fees. Also, any contractor that spreads negative news regarding their competition should be avoided as well. Instead, rely on those that talk about their strong points, not the weaknesses of others.
3. Paying Upfront:
While deposits are often necessary and expected, never pay for an entire job upfront. If a contractor is asking to be paid prior to starting work, you may not be hiring the best person for you.
4. Personal Style Differ:
A professional contractor will adhere to your style, not try to change it. Don’t let a contractor influence you on a project that you are certain about. For example, one client wanted a bathroom painted in a certain style. The contractor tried to talk her out of it, saying that she wouldn’t like it. She listened to him and the resulting paint job was something she not only hated, but had to hire someone else to change to how she originally wanted the job. Pay attention to what a contractor has to offer, but understand the ultimate decision is yours.
5. You Have A Bad Feeling:
If you gut tells you that a particular contractor isn’t right for the job, then follow your instincts. Even if a person is highly recommended by your friends, if it doesn’t feel right during the interview, then there is an even better chance it won’t get better as the project moves along. Personality plays a large part in working closely with someone. If you have a large project, make sure you hire someone who you won’t mind being in your home for an indefinite period of time. Overall, it comes down to hiring a person that is personable, professional and takes his or her work seriously.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to keep in mind that remodeling projects can disrupt your lifestyle. Ask yourself if you are a high or low maintenance client. Is it important that you talk to your contract every day? Every week? Maybe even hourly? Keep in mind that there will be days when things go wrong. Be prepared for the following, and if they don’t happen, consider it a good day!
- More dust than you expected
- Products will be delayed, missing or damaged.
- Undiscovered repair issues cause delay.
- Permits delayed.
Also, let the contractor know the following before he starts his first day of work:
- If you have children and pets they need to be careful with doors and gates.
- Designate one door for deliveries and traffic.
- Decide which bathrooms they will use if not bringing a portable toilet.
- Keep your cell phone on you at all times with your contractor’s number programmed.
- Leave a notebook in a specifically determined area so you and contractor can leave messages that do not warrant a phone call.
Again, hiring a contractor is serious business. Take your time and hire a professional after careful research and interviews. Once a project is underway, then understand that there will be challenges. Knowing what you have ahead of you is half the battle.