Four Questions You Need To Ask Your Contractor Before You Sign A Contract
Starting a home improvement project is exciting and the results very rewarding, but how do you find reliable home contractors that you can trust? Good home contractors can make the process of any type of property renovations less stressful and more satisfying for a homeowner.
Talk to Your Friends
The best way to find great home contractors is through word of mouth from trusted friends or relatives. If you know anyone that’s recently remodeled homes, build home additions, or other property renovations, ask which contractor they used to do the work. Inquire about the quality and craftsmanship of the home improvement project as well. How satisfied were they with the results? Would they use the same contractor again?
More Questions for Home Contractors
After you have found a reputable contractor, there is more information you need to know before signing a contract for any type of property renovations. Next, ask your potential contractor the following four questions:
What Kind of Insurance Do You Have?
Ideally, home contractors should carry two types of insurance: liability insurance and workers’ compensation. Liability insurance covers any damage to your home or bodily harm to you or a family member during the property renovations as well as afterward. Workers’ compensation takes care of any on the job accidents that may occur on your property. Ask to see a copy of the insurance policies to make sure the coverage is in full force or make a call to the insurance carrier and check.
Also, if your state requires home contractors to have a license, make sure to ask for proof of that as well.
Ask About Arrangements for Work Permits and Inspections
If your home improvement projects are large, like home additions, make sure to ask your contractor about pulling permits. It’s usually the contractor’s job to obtain permits for the property renovations in the county where the homeowner’s residence is located. Be sure and ask if the permit fees are included in the overall price or if you are required to pay the money upfront.
What Is the Payment Schedule?
Before you sign a contract and any work begins, find out how your contractor expects payment for his services. Do they require a down payment or half of the cost of the materials? Do they expect to be paid for each portion of the job when it’s finished? Make sure you understand everything clearly and have it all in writing and signed by both parties.
What About Extra Expenses?
What about extra expenses that may occur during the job? For example, what if the contractor discovers the home wiring is faulty and needs replacing before your new kitchen is completed? What if you suddenly decide you want more upgrades and fancier cabinets? How are these new expenses, or change orders, handled by the contractor? Make sure all of this information is covered in the contract.
Other Questions You Should Ask
You should also ask home contractors the following:
- To provide a list of materials
- To provide an overall cost analysis
- What are the start and completion dates for the job?
- A clear job description for the entire home improvement project.
- Does anyone need to be home during the work hours?
If you have any other questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask your contractor. It’s best to try and keep communications as open and clear as possible, so your home improvement project goes as smoothly and as stress-free as possible.