The Most Essential Do's and Don'ts for Choosing the Right Contractor
billions of dollars on construction and home remodeling each year. Many homeowners have discovered that improving
their present residence with an updated kitchen, an additional bathroom, new
windows or a new roof can be a more prudent investment than purchasing a new
residence. However, adding a room or updating a kitchen can cost more than a
new car, and consumers should take some time and care in planning a costly home
Unfortunately, most consumers spend less time choosing
a contractor than they do choosing a car. Here is a checklist of important
things to consider before starting any major construction project:
Do plan your project carefully.
Do shop around before hiring a
Do get at least three written bids on
Do provide all contractors with
accurate plans or drawings that will enable them to determine the scope
and cost of work when requesting bids.
Do check with the Contractors State
License Board to make sure the contractor is properly licensed, and to
check the status and disciplinary history of the license.
Do check out contractors with your
local building department, trade associations or unions, consumer
protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau.
Do look at work the contractor has
Do ask your contractor to furnish a
completion or contract bond.
Do consult with more than one lending
institution regarding the type of loan to obtain.
Do ask your lender to recommend a
Do make sure your contract provides
for a "retention," apercentage of each payment or of the total
job, ordinarily 10 percent, which you retain until the job is completed.
Do make sure everything you and your
contractor have agreed to is included in your contract, and don't sign
anything until you understand and agree with all terms.
Do ask your contractor about
inconveniences that may occur, and plan accordingly.
Do keep a job file.
Do make sure you receive unconditional
lien releases from subcontractors and material suppliers.
Do make frequent inspections of the
work, including a final walk-through.
Do consult an attorney if a mechanics'
lien is filed against your property.
Do negotiate with the contractor first if
problems or disagreements occur.
Don't hire an unlicensed contractor.
Don't hire a contractor without first
Don't be fooled or pressured by a
smooth-talking salesperson. Take the time and effort to make sure that the
person or business doing your home improvement is going to perform in a
Don't act as an owner/builder, unless
you are very experienced in construction.
Don't sign anything until you
completely understand it and agree to the terms.
Don't make agreements with
subcontractors or workers without consulting the prime contractor.
Don't pay cash without a proper
Don't make a down payment that exceeds
the legal limit,usually ten percent.
Don't let your payments get ahead of
the contractor's completed work.
Don't hesitate to ask questions of the
Don't make final payment until you are
satisfied with the job.
remember what time of year to trim your trees and bushes?
Well, early spring is the best time - but there are a few exceptions
Do not trim your Spring flowering
bushes until immediately after bloom;
While most evergreen bushes should not
be trimmed until late spring or early summer after the new growth flushes
Now, print this out and
stick it to the fridge before you forget!
group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to
visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into
complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee,
the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of
coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal,
some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to
help themselves to the coffee.
When all the students had a cup of
coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice
looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap
ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves,
that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup
itself adds no quality to the coffee in most cases, its just more
expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink.
of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went
for the best cups... and then began eyeing each other's cups.
consider this: Life is the coffee, and the jobs, money and position in
society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and
the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life
we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy
If you have a brokerage relationship with another agency, this is not intended as a solicitation. All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.