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Home repairs and upgrades (especially if you’re looking at an entire home remodel) are a huge investment. Other than the most minor repairs, it’s rare to finish a project for less than a few thousand dollars, and you’ll usually pay much more. It is important that you find the right contractor to finish the work so you know that the hard-earned money you are paying will give you the results you want. Nothing would be worse than plunking down 10 grand only to see the work crumbling in a few months or — worse — to not have the contractor finish the work at all.
Nightmare stories abound about homeowners getting cheated by unethical contractors. More cheerful thoughts result from looking at the best home remodeling San Diego has to offer. Either way, here are some following tips for your next remodeling project:
Read Online Reviews
You can find out a lot about a company or contractor by what previous customers have to say. If the contractor has a history of performing shoddy work or cheating people, you can be sure that people are going to want to tell others about it. Look at sites like Angie’s List or Yelp to find out what people have to say about the contractor. Actually read the reviews instead of just skimming the star rating so you can see what people liked or didn’t like about the contractor.
Also check the Better Business Bureau to see if any formal complaints have been filed about the contractor. If the person doesn’t have a profile on the BBB and you can’t find any online reviews, that’s a red flag to stay away. Some individuals work as contractors, and they may do great work. But if you have no recourse to report them or write a review about them, they don’t have as much to fear by performing poor quality work.
Get Several Estimates
Estimates are based on a contractor’s evaluation of how much time a project will take to complete and what kind of materials will be needed. Creating an estimate is not an exact science, and even two different people from the same company could provide you with different estimates. Therefore, it is important that you get several quotes in order to find the right price.
Make sure you understand everything that is going into the estimates so you know you are comparing “apples to apples.” One contractor may quote you a lower price but it may not include a significant portion of the project, such as the cost of the materials, for example.
Get Everything in Writing
An agreement and a handshake aren’t going to be enough for your home remodeling project. Without a written agreement, you could be in for some unpleasant surprises, such as your project dragging on for months or the cost suddenly shooting up by thousands of dollars. If such issues do arise over the course of the project, you can refer back to your written agreement to solve the problem. You can also use the written agreement to bring legal action if necessary.
Read All the Fine Print
The fine print in your contract is what usually spells out the terms of your arrangement, such as what liability the contractor has and what your recourse is if a problem arises. You’ll want to read this fine print before signing. If you don’t, you could be signing away your legal rights in case of a problem with the contractor. If you are confused by the fine print, take it to a legal adviser to make sure that everything is on the up and up before you sign. Thousands of dollars could be at stake.
Pay When the Job is Done
There are plenty of horror stories circulating about how a homeowner payed a huge deposit for home remodeling work or paid for the entire project before it was completely finished and then the contractor just disappeared with the money. The homeowner is either left with a half-finished project or no work was ever started. The best way to make sure that the work will be finished and done to your specifications is to withhold payment until every last nail is hammered and you are totally satisfied with the work.
By following these simple tips, you can make sure that you have a great experience with your contractor and get the beautiful home remodeling work that you want. Never underestimate your own intuition also. If something doesn’t feel right during your initial interviews, it probably isn’t. Find a contractor who makes you feel comfortable and who meets these other criteria.
Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!