How to Hire the Right General Contractor for Your Home Renovation

Unless you are an experienced contractor yourself you will need professional help when taking on a home renovation. Contractors have the knowledge and experience you will need to keep your project from becoming a nightmare. There are zoning laws and permits that the contract will know about and be able to handle for you. There can be structural issues depending on the type and extent of renovation you are doing. A contractor will know which walls can be removed or where a window can be added and still maintain the structural integrity of your home. The last thing you want to do is remove a bearing hall and have you roof start to sag or worse.

Choosing the right contractor can be tricky. Once you have your plans finalized, you will want to get estimates from at least two or three companies. The estimates are just the starting point of hiring a contractor, just because they are the lowest doesn’t mean they are the best person for your project.

Ask the contractors for references and check with each one. Finding out if they completed other projects on time and on budget is very important. Ask their previous customers how they left the property when they were done working. Did they leave a big mess for the property owner to clean up each night? Will they treat your house like a construction site or like your home? Finding out the work ethic of the contractor a head of time can save you a lot of headaches later on.
Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they have had any complaints filed about them in the past and if so how they were resolved.

Besides work ethics and price you want to look at experience. How long have they been in business? How many similar renovations have they done? Do they have pictures of any renovation projects they have completed? You don’t want to hire a contractor who does mostly roofing or new construction to do a renovation project in your home.

You want a reputable contract that isn’t afraid to put his guarantee in writing.
They should be willing to put any promise they make you from the estimate to the length of time the renovation will take in writing. If they aren’t willing to put it in writing they might not be sure they can deliver what they are promising you. The days of sealing a deal with a handshake are over. You need something that will stand up in court if the job isn’t completed properly or on time.

You also want to make sure the contractor is insured. You need to know what the limits on their policy are and you will want to see proof of that insurance.
They should have insurance that will cover any damages done to your house during construction. You can also request that they have insurance to cover faulty workmanship.

The final thing to look at when hiring a contractor is their personality. Whomever you choose will be in direct contact with you and your family for several weeks. Make sure that your personalities don’t clash.

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