Now that you’ve finalized plans for building a new home or a major remodel, it’s time to make one of the most important decisions in the process--hiring a contractor.
But where do you start?
Word-of-mouth recommendations from people you know can be one of the best ways to begin the contractor selection process. Find out what made that choice a positive experience, how the contractor dealt with problems, and whether the person making the referral would hire the contractor again.
Other sources of referrals are suppliers, online reviews, trade associations, and even boards at building sites. During your research, whether during a phone call or visit to the contractor’s website, make sure the contractor is licensed by the proper local and state agencies, bonded, and insured. It is also a good idea to find out whether the company has designations from professional associations such as the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the National Association of Remodeling Industry, and the National Association of Home Builders. Contractors who have earned certifications from reputable organizations can be a good choice, too.
Once you have pared your list of possible contractors down to three, it's time to begin the interview process. During the discussion, questions should cover a range of topics including a list of references, the number of building permits the contractor has obtained in your area over the past two years, the expected timeline and whether subcontractors will be hired for the job. How well you and the contractor candidate have communicated during the interview process is another factor to consider. You should have the sense that the contractor would be transparent, honest, and willing to give you updates frequently during the construction and inspection processes.
Before you make your final decision, you should ask to see insurance documents, some of the contractor’s projects, and names of references. Contact a few of the contractor’s customers to obtain their satisfaction level with the work done. Look for the contractor’s track record of success as a business and reputable community partner. Also, make sure the contractor provides a permanent mailing address as well as an e-mail address and FAX and cell phone numbers.
Once you've selected a contractor, it's time to look over the legal documents he or she has prepared to make sure the agreement includes a bid price, payment schedule, scope of work, site plan, schedule of construction, change-order clause, written list for closeout and a clause about dispute resolution. Also, include a labor waiver of lien to prevent subcontractors or suppliers from putting a lien on a house should their invoices go unpaid by the contractor.
If, after you've scrutinized the documents carefully, you feel secure that the contract meets your criteria for fairness and balance, you can sign on the bottom line feeling confident your project will be completed according to the plans and timetable agreed upon.
Planning on a home remodel in 2021? Planning on selling after that remodel? Give us a call. Would love to help you sell a home throughout the Portland metro area. We know the Portland Metro area and would love to help you get top dollar for your home. Contact us at any time.