What Are The Most Essential Do’s and Don’ts for Choosing the Right Contractor?

blueprintMost Americans spend a fortune on renovating and construction each year. While the economy recovers, most homeowners feel that improving their present dwelling with an updated kitchen and bath, new windows or a new roof seems to be a more prudent investment than purchasing a new residence. However, adding a room or updating a kitchen can cost more than a new car and consumers should take some time and care in planning a costly home improvement project. Unfortunately, most consumers spend less time choosing a contractor than they do choosing a car.

Here is a checklist of what are the most essential Do’s and Don’ts for choosing the right contractor before starting any major construction project:

The Do’s

• Do plan your project carefully.
• Do shop around before hiring a contractor.
• Do get at least three written bids on your project.
• Do provide all contractors with accurate plans or drawings that will enable them to determine the scope and cost of work when requesting bids.
• Do check with the Contractors State License Board to make sure the contractor is properly licensed, and to check the status and disciplinary history of the license.
• Do check out contractors with your local building department, trade associations or unions, consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau.
• Do check the contractor’s references.
• Do ask your contractor to furnish a completion or contract bond.
• Do consult with more than one lending institution regarding the type of loan to obtain.
• Do ask your lender to recommend a funding-control company.
• Do make sure your contract provides for a “retention,” a percentage of each payment or of the total job, ordinarily 10 percent, which you retain until the job is completed.
• Do make sure everything you and your contractor have agreed to is included in your contract, and don’t sign anything until you understand and agree with ALL the terms.
• Do ask your contractor about inconveniences  and cost overruns that may occur and plan accordingly.
• Do keep a job file.
• Do make sure you receive unconditional lien releases from subcontractors and material suppliers.
• Do make frequent inspections of the work, including a final walk-through.
• Do consult an attorney if a mechanics’ lien is filed against your property.
• Do negotiate with the contractor first if problems or disagreements occur.

The Don’ts

• Don’t hire an unlicensed contractor.
• Don’t hire a contractor without first shopping around.
• Don’t be fooled or pressured by a smooth-talking salesperson. Take the time and effort to make sure that the person or business doing your home improvement is going to perform in a professional manner.
• Don’t act as an owner/builder, unless you are very experienced in construction.
• Don’t sign anything until you completely understand it and agree to the terms.
• Don’t make agreements with subcontractors or workers without consulting the prime contractor.
• Don’t pay cash without a proper receipt.
• Don’t make a down payment that exceeds the legal limit, usually ten percent.
• Don’t let your payments get ahead of the contractor’s completed work.
• Don’t hesitate to ask questions of the contractor.
• Don’t make final payment until you are satisfied with the job.

This is not a “be-all end-all” list, but rest assured…it’s a good place to start.

Ieishah Edwards

About Ieishah Edwards

In a society that has traditionally valued job security, Ieishah has demonstrated the ingenuity and perseverance it takes in creating and sustaining a successful growing business. She has displayed incredible drive, acumen and creativity which have positively impacted her business and the community she serves. Her goal, however, is to become a real estate investor who buys properties and/or sells them to end-users. The knowledge and experience of investing in real estate has grown tremendously due in part to her previous partnership with Anglestone Realty Acquisitions and OneSource Mortgage Company. This union has complimented this endeavor and has enabled her to develop a good business foundation in real estate investing. Ieishah decided to launch her own real estate investing business, HomeSites Property Holdings LLC. Within months after launching her own real estate investing company, Ieishah landed her first real estate deal. Now, as a full time real estate investor, Ieishah continues to invest in real estate and has never looked back. With the right drive, positive attitude, focus and idea, anyone can accomplish whatever is their passion in life. Focus on what you are passionate about, put together a marketing plan and take ACTION for results. Are you ready for the challenge?
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