Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tips on Selecting a Contractor For Home Improvement

Home repairs can cost thousands of dollars and are the subject of frequent complaints. Here is a list of things to consider when selecting a contractor:

Get recommendations and references. Talk to friends, family and other people for whom the contractor has done similar work.

Get at least three written estimates from contractors who have come to your home to evaluate what needs to be done. Be sure the estimates are based on the same work so that you can make meaningful comparisons.

Make sure the contractor meets licensing and registration requirements with your local consumer agency. Some areas require licensees to pass tests for competency and scrutinize licensees for financial solvency. They may also have a fund to cover some financial losses that result from problems with licensed contractors.

Check to see if local laws limit the amount by which the final bill can exceed the estimate, unless you have approved the increase.

Check contractor complaint records with the Better Business Bureau or similar agency.

Get the names of suppliers and ask if the contractor makes timely payments.

Contact your local building inspection department to check for permit and inspection requirements. Be wary if the contractor asks you to get the permit. It could mean the firm is not licensed.

Be sure your contractor has the required personal liability, property damage and worker’s compensation insurance for his/her workers and subcontractors. Also check with your insurance company to find out if you are covered for any injury or damage that might occur.

Insist on a complete written contract. Know exactly what work will be done, the quality of materials that will be used, warranties, timetables, the names of any subcontractors, the total price of the job, and the schedule of payments.

Try to limit your down payment. Local law may specify that only a certain percentage of the total cost may be made as a down payment.

Understand your payment options. Compare the cost of getting your own loan versus contractor financing.

Don’t make final payment or sign an affidavit of final release until you are satisfied with the work and know that subcontractors and suppliers have been paid. Local lien laws may allow unpaid subcontractors and/or unpaid suppliers to attach your home.

Pay by credit card when you can. This may allow you the right to withhold payment to the credit card company until problems are corrected.

Be especially cautious if the contractor:
comes door-to-door or seeks you out;
just happens to have material left over from a recent job;
tells you your job will be a "demonstration";
offers you discounts for finding other customers;
quotes a price that’s out of line with other estimates;
pressures you for an immediate decision;
offers exceptionally long guarantees;
can only be reached by leaving messages with an answering service;
drives an unmarked van or has out-of-area plates on his/her vehicles; or
asks you to pay for the entire job up front.

If you are starting your search to buy now or in the future, why not search like a realtor. Sign up for listing book, a free service I provide with no strings attached. Here is the link:

If you would like information on Buying, Selling, For Sale By Owners, 1st Time Buying, click on the appropriate link on my website .

Want to check out some Foreclosures or FSBO’s? Visit my website:
What did the house down the street sell for? Want to know call me or visit my website at

If you would like to know what your homes current value is, please contact me for a free evaluation.

For any of your Real Estate Questions or Needs call Me at 636-294-6061 or Remember “Cribbin Realty” Where Performance Outsells Promises.

Mike Cribbin

No comments:

Post a Comment