Updating or remodeling your home could be an effective way to add value to your property while customizing it to suit your personal preferences and taste. It’s your responsibility to hire the contractor to do the work. Ask friends and family for recommendations, or look into sites like Angie’s List or Homeadvisor which allow members to search for reliable vendors. When you interview likely candidates, you can use the following ten questions as a guide.
1. How much experience do you have with home-improvement projects?
Hire a contractor with experience in the type of project you want to complete. For example, if you’re planning to remodel a kitchen, someone who has remodeled a large number of kitchens can help you with design details and will know what permits may be required.
2. Do you specialize in a certain type of work?
There are many facets to home repair and very few individuals have expertise in all of them. Consider hiring a specialist with specific training who is skilled in the type of home repair you’re
3. Do you have a current license?
Licenses are subject to state rules and regulations and this helps ensure that the contractor has been trained and meets the educational requirements for licensing.
4. Do you have insurance?
Ask specific questions regarding the contractor’s insurance coverage and make sure that the policy is current. The policy should cover both personal and property damage for the contractor and any subcontractors who will be on your property.
5. Do you work alone or with a team?
Large projects may require a team of people with different skill sets. During the interview, ask specific questions on how the work will be divided. If there is a team, find out if, and how, the service of other professionals will be used. Inquire about the team’s qualifications and the possibility of additional costs for their services.
6. Can you provide professional references?
Ask for references and verify them. If the projects are similar to the one you are proposing, you may consider asking the homeowner if you can view the quality of the work.
7. Do you have a formal business entity established or are you doing business under your own name?
A legal business entity indicates a level of professionalism and accountability that may not otherwise exist.
8. Is your company certified by the Environmental Protection Agency?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must certify contractors involved in renovating homes built prior to 1978. The house paint used before 1978 frequently contained lead, and these paint chips and dust may pose health risks when disturbed during renovations.
9. What is the estimated amount of time it will take you to complete the project?
Always ask for a project completion date. Complicated projects may have a completion date for each phase of the project. If you interview a few different contractors, they may each quote a
different timeline and project completion date. When discussing the project timeline, make sure to consider the amount of work and the quality of work you expect for your project. These factors
could result in an extended timeline.
10. What is the cost of the project?
The cost of any renovation is an important factor. Ask about down payment requirements and any periodic payments. Don’t decide to hire someone based solely on the price. Talk to multiple candidates and evaluate everything each one has to offer. Remember, contact your real estate professional to evaluate the opportunities of making a move, and make certain you know the TRUE VALUE of your home BEFORE listing it for sale.