Once you decide to remodel your property, there are a few steps you need to take before you can get into the nitty-gritty of this undertaking. Whether it is a rental property which you seek to gain a steady cash flow from, or an investment property you’re looking to flip, or it’s your family home—hiring the right remodeling contractor is the most important step in the process.
We’ve all heard the horror stories… a contractor who turns out to be unlicensed or uninsured, leaving you with a problem to complete the renovation, or the contractor who is charging you three times of the originally quoted price. What about the contractor who tears apart the kitchen or bathroom and then leaves, never to return to finish the work? A few little steps taken at the beginning of the remodeling process could have avoided problems.
Ask for Referrals from Friends & Family
When you make the decision to remodel your property, the first step to take should be to consult those you know. Word of mouth, despite the growing internet trend of reviews, is still one of the best gauges you can get when determining the legitimacy of a business. If friends, family, or co-workers have had work done in their homes, you have the ability to see it first-hand, and get a full accounting of the experience.
Look at the Black & White
Credentials. This word cannot be stressed enough. Don’t assume that because a business is operating that it is doing so with the correct credentials. When you begin going through the list of prospective candidates, checking their credentials is a vital step in the decision making process. Verify that they have the required licenses from state and local municipalities first and foremost. Second, are they insured—and for how much? Do they have any additional professional recognitions or memberships, such as National Kitchen & Bath Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, or the National Association of Homebuilders?
Interview Several Candidates
With references in hand, interview at least three companies. Ask plenty of questions, gauge their response times and directness. Are there questions they avoid answering? Are they well-mannered and polite? Ensure you explain your concept in detail and get a written bid during the process, too. This way, you’ll be able to return home with all the material required to compare the three companies.
Even if you heard about this company through a friend, make sure to ask for references before signing any contract. You’ll want to see several portfolios of previous work and discuss the work with the clients directly. If the company provides you with references, ask the previous clients questions like, “were they on time,” “did they come in within the budget,” “how was the overall experience?”
If a company refuses to give references, keep in mind that this may be a red flag.