Hiring a home improvement contractor for a home renovation or expansion can be a daunting, intimidating process. A lot goes into it, and a lot is at stake. Expansions can be expensive and intrusive, and a good contractor will work hard to minimize cost, minimize the invasive nature of the work and get done on time and on budget.
Follow this guide to find the right crew.
The World of Home Renovation Specialists
As discussed in “Degree Programs That Help Turn a DIY Hobby into a Career,” the world of contracting is broken down into specialties. Generally, contractors oversee large projects and hire subcontractors as specialists (electricians, plumbers, cement workers, etc.).
Tips on Finding a Good Contractor
Obviously, ask friends or family members who recently had work done who it was they worked with and what they thought of them. But your friends and family aren’t experts. Building inspectors and lumber yard workers are. Ask a local building inspector for leads – he or she will know which home renovation contractors routinely do work that meets codes and standards. Lumber yard workers deal with contractors on a regular basis and often know them – and their reputations – well.
What to Ask Your Contractor
When you find a home improvement contractor you think you like, the key is references. Can they give you an unedited list of people who hired them recently? Can they provide financial records from banks or suppliers? Ask if they specialize in projects of your size and how long they’ve worked with their subcontractors.
A Note on Permits
Whether you’re building a fence or a deck, or expanding a kitchen, it is up to you to get the appropriate permits and licenses. Construction work often involves working with public utilities such as water, gas and electricity. Permits are generally issued by your city. It will help you find out who to contact for your specific project. In reality, just ask your contractor. He or she does this all the time.
Home expansions can raise the value of your home and let you boost your asking price if you decide to sell. But they can also bleed your budget and create headaches if the project isn’t done right or on time. Get a contractor who will get the job done right.
Be sure to take a look at eieihome’s directory of contractors to get started.