Remodeling a home can be a wise investment and offer a vast aesthetic improvement, efficiency and utility. The key is finding a trusted, ethical and experienced contractor with a great team who is ready, willing and able to tackle your home improvement project within your budget and timeline. Here’s where to start:
Talk to people: Start with friends, family and colleagues to start building your list of potential candidates. Home inspectors are a great resource to find out who passes inspection on every project and weeds out the ones who regularly cut corners. Visiting The National Association of the Remodeling Industry is another great resource to find out which contractors in your area are in good standing with your local chapter. It’s also worth visiting a local lumber yard to find out which contractors are doing regular work and paying their invoices on time—and more importantly, who is not.
Due Diligence: Building professionals often say that the best way to establish the quality of a contractor’s work is to conduct a site visit of a remodel in process. Checking out a job site allows you to identify if the contractor is clean and safe and that the workers are treating the homeowner and their property with the respect.
Do the Math: Your contractor should work closely with you to establish the in-depth goals of your improvement project.
Bids for your remodel should include:
- Profit margins, which shouldn’t be more than 15 to 20 percent
The lowest bid? Experts say to throw it out. Also be wary of contractors who want large deposits up front. Finally, be detail-oriented when reading the contract, which should include a clear timeline, proof of liability, worker’s compensation and specific materials to be used. The most important factor in a successful home improvement project isn’t price; it’s your comfort level with your general contractor.