On a new home, the day you close is an exciting one. One of the greatest experiences of adulthood is the thrill of owning a home and making it your own. However, there are also many responsibilities with all the great advantages of homeownership. Keeping your home in good repair is important as it grows older to avoid more expensive repairs in the future and to ensure that the value of your home is maintained or even increased.
Finding the right contractor is important for all home improvement projects. While finding, vetting, and then hiring a contractor may seem overwhelming, it doesn't have to be. Taking time to do your research and finding the best contractor for the job will produce better results and fewer headaches.
Prepping for the Project
First, set up a budget that is comfortable for your family with each home improvement project. If it is possible to split the project into stages, set a budget and plan for each stage. Consider also the project's timing as it relates to weather, family schedules and demands. A total kitchen remodel, for example, may not be the best project to plan for the same month as the graduation of your child.
Ask contractors who do the work you need for referrals. Poll friends, neighbors and members of the family who have completed similar projects and ask who they have hired. Consider asking for recommendations from friends or community groups on social media or links on neighborhood apps such as NextDoor. Ask the people who made the referral key questions about the contractor they used after narrowing down the top vote getters, including:
· How did they work with them?
· Do they do a good job?
· Did they stay within budget and schedule?
· Have they been communicating well?
· Have they kept the area of work clean?
· Was your family and neighbors respected?
· Any worries?
· Are you going to hire them again?
Selecting the Top Options
The next step is to make direct contact with each of them after determining the top three contractors’ options. Call them and schedule an appointment on the work you need to do for a complimentary quote. Pay attention to how your questions were answered by each contractor and how eager they seemed to schedule an appointment. Evaluate how prompt they were during the meeting, their evaluation of what needs to be done, the materials / supplier suggested for the job and the quoted price.
Recall that you get what you pay for is a good rule of thumb; price often reflects quality. Ask what permits the job requires and if they have the right insurance. Knowing the credentials of the contractor is also important. Finally, ask for all details in writing before starting the work. Always carefully review contracts and make sure that everything stated, including the fine print, is comfortable.
Evaluate the Products and Materials Recommended
Discuss the specific products required for the job after selecting a contractor for your home improvement project. Whether the project is large or small— whether you're in need of new flooring, painting and minor repairs, or adding to a new room or whole floor, take time to discuss details. For example, if you replace appliances as part of a kitchen renovation, ask the contractor what appliances they would recommend and why, as well as the ratings for energy efficiency. Find out if buying appliances directly from a retailer is more economical for you or if it is better for the contractor to buy them at cost from a supplier. Learn about factory warranties and if the remaining warranties are valid if the contractor purchases appliances.
Also, if you replace your water heater and other plumbing, the details matter. Determine first whether you want a conventional water heater, either gas or electric, or a tankless system. Learn about the pros and cons of the transfer as well as the pros and cons of the proposed new system if you are transferring from one type of system to another. Get information about manufacturers, their reputation, how often they have to serve their systems and the lifespan they expect. Find out about warranties, replacement parts and recommended ways of cleaning / protecting to keep "like new" condition with plumbing fixtures. Make sure all types work in the desired space with toilets and sinks and if the space has the necessary ventilation. Make sure that all pipes are made of high-quality materials that last for many years and are installed in a way that ensures proper drainage.
Home enhancement projects well done can make a big difference in the quality of your home as well as the living conditions. Taking steps to find the right contractor for the job will ensure that projects are done well and that you can be proud of the results.