Whether you are considering listing your home for sale, and making much needed updates to maximize your ROI (return on investment), or whether you’d like to update your existing home, you are probably going to be enlisting the services of a contractor. Like most fields, the contractor field is very wide and deep, and finding a good, reputable contractor may seem like a bit of a Herculean task. To that end, here are some suggestions on how to find the best person to help you undertake any remodeling task.
First, ask your friends and family if they’ve used a contracor in the past. A second source of recommendations to consid
r is your neighbors. While you can ask them in person if they’ve got a contractor they’d recommend, another source of information is through the website www.nextdoor.com. This is a fantastic, free resource for anything neighborhood-related, and members are very willing to share their experiences with contractors, good and bad. A third source of recommendations to consider is your local tile store, flooring store and hardware store. Chatting with the store manager or employees will often yield several names of reputable contractors in your area.
When you’ve got a list of 3-4 names, it’s time to check these individuals out, to make sure they are reputable and legitimate. In Arizona, the Registrar of Contractors maintains a list of all registered, licensed contractors in a handy database available to the public: http://www.azroc.gov/forms/contractorsearch.html. This database maintains a comprehensive record of the status of the contractor’s license, any complaints that have been filed against the contractor, the amount of bond they maintain, as well as how long they’ve maintained a license in this state.
Next, contact the contractor and conduct an interview of them (by phone or email). Some questions to ask include: Do they take on projects of your size?
Can they give you a list of previous clients? How many other projects would they have going at the same time? How long have they worked with their subcontractors? Would they be personally supervising the project? The next step would be a face to face meeting, in which they can see the project you’ve got in mind, and so you can ascertain their personality and see if it’s a good fit. Follow up this in person meeting with phone calls to 2 or 3 of their references. Ask how their remodels went, and ask if you can see photos of the final product.
The final step is to collect bids (always ask for itemized bids in writing) as well as payment schedules. Typically, with larger remodeling projects, contractors require 10% at the time of signing the contract, with 3 payments of 25% evenly spaced throughout, and then the final 15% once the remodel has been completed. Then, it’s off to the races with a remodel that’s sure to increase the value of your home, or of your continued enjoyment of your home. As always, I’d be happy to share with you who I have had success working with on home remodels.