Top Five Tips in Selecting a Remodeling Contractor
Considering a home remodel? Not sure where to start. We often get asked what are the most important qualities to look for when selecting a general contractor. After thinking long and hard, we have compiled a list of helpful tips we think are CRITICAL to ensure the right fit and have a great experience.
- Experience/Reputation and Reviews- We can’t stress this one enough, Do Your Homework! Ensure they have similar experience working on projects similar size and scope of your remodel and ask to speak to former clients of theres. If the contractor isn’t willing to provide that, it’s a Big Red Flag. The Internet is your Best Friend! Client satisfaction and a quality experience come through in reviews. Many sites like Angie’s List, Houzz and Yelp are good resources to verify your contractor has a solid reputation and past work history.
- Make Sure Your Contractor is Licensed, Bonded, Insured and belongs and is active in trade associations. – A contractor with a license and insurance demonstrates credibility and knowledge and minimizes the risk to a homeowner. A licensed contractor reduces the chance of a homeowner getting ripped off. In Arizona alone the state licensing board gets over 12,000 contractor complaints a year. Take a quick moment and verify the contractor your considering not only has a license but doesn’t have any complaints. A contractor who is active in the building industry whether it be though NAHB, BBB, NARI or local building associations show they care about their community and reputation.
- Go with Someone You Trust – Meeting your contractor face-to-face is important to ensure there is a trust level and you have a good feeling that they will be a fit with your job and expectations. If you get an uneasy feeling about them, it’s probably for a good reason so reconsider moving forward with them for your project. Listening… we know this is a lost art. However, we think this is one of the most important qualities. Does your contractor ask you questions and listen to YOU? We know from experience that all projects are a little different and clients have different things that are important to them. In order for you to have a Great Experience you need a contractor that can listen and understand what is important to you.
- Detailed Scope of Work/Contract – A successful project starts with a Clear Goal and a well-defined scope of work. This really helps clearly define what you can expect out of the contract. It’s OK if you don’t have this written out but know you will need to spend the time with your contractor to have this important piece created. The Scope of Work is a formal document that describes the work activities, deliverables, timelines, milestones, pricing, quality requirements and terms and conditions. The contract sets the expectations upfront and saves the homeowner from the always Dreaded Unexpected Surprises.
- Know What You Want – Spend some time before selecting a contractor on what your goals are of the project. Are you looking for a small scale or larger scale remodel? Research the type of Look and Feel you are trying to achieve and determine upfront before you meet with a general contractor what your needs are. The resources we recommend are Houzz, Pinterest and Magazines. They have hundreds of thousands of photos and you know what they say…. “A picture tells a thousand words.”