Investing in your dream home is never just about finding the right home and paying a hefty price for it. It is also about taking the onus of its maintenance and keep it in great condition as always. With so many things going around in any residential property, it tends to look worn out within just a few years of construction and hence demands reasonable repair, renovations and at times remodeling as well.
For a majority of homeowners, the decision of renovating a home is taken out of compulsion - there may be fading wall paints, drafty and non-efficient old windows, ripped off floorings, etc. While some people resort to renovation by choice, where they wish to revamp their existing house to give it a new and fresh look. Whatever be the reason, it will ultimately pay off in the form of the increased market value of your property in the future.
Before going ahead with the renovation, you should prepare your mind that it can be little stressful, expensive and may involve unpleasant surprises like leaking pipes or faulty electrical wiring behind walls, rotting wood, etc. This is why it calls for a professional contractor possessing all the required skills to carry out the job perfectly.
However, finding the right contractor for your project can be a challenge, especially for the first-timers. So, here are few tips enlisted to ease up the whole process for you –
Tip 1: Know What You Want
Every individual has been listening to this same statement across different stages of life, right from deciding his food to the career. It is because, till the time you aren’t aware of your goals, it is almost impossible to accomplish them.
Similar is the case of picking up a contractor. You should have a clear vision and be very specific as to what changes do you look up to in your home. Knowing about the materials required in the process will be an added advantage.
So, devise a feasible plan and brainstorm some ideas to transform your vision into achievements.
Caution: Don’t get stuck into unrealistic renovation goals that are either too difficult to fulfill or too costly to execute. Create a budget in mind and stick to it.
Tip 2: Ask Around
After you are done assessing your needs, you should start finding contractors who would be able to assist you with it. You can start your search hunt by speaking to people around who have had similar work done recently.
You can also search online for the contractor providing a similar type of service in your locality. Social media is also a great medium to ask for recommendations from people. But, just make sure, whosoever you choose has positive customer reviews and ratings.
So, create a list of multiple contractors to be able to compare their services and shortlist them further.
Caution: Beware of non-reputable renovation contractors who don’t have a strong and established online presence, a basic website or any customer reviews. Also, be cautious of fake testimonials and feedback as many contractors get the paid positive ratings online.
Tip 3: Look for Expertise and Work Portfolio
It is important to choose a contractor possessing the desired skills in the type of renovation you want for your house. A bathroom renovation contractor won’t fit well for a kitchen renovation job and vice-versa. You will need a contractor who specializes in that work and performs it really well.
To get insights into the level of specialization the shortlisted contractors carry, you can ask each of them to present their latest works along with quality pictures and references of their previous clients. You can also surf their websites and see if they have left any link to their recent projects.
Having observed their work and the kind of projects they have undertaken in the past, you will be able to decide whether any of those contractors is fit for yours.
Caution: Look out for the contractors who don’t have enough projects in their portfolio. Lack of images depicting before and after renovating the house is surely a red flag. Also, ensure that the house images (if any) you see on the website are pictures of their original work and don’t belong to anyone else.
Tip 4: Check for the Mandate Licenses and Certifications
The best way to narrow down your list of contractors is to check whether they are duly licensed by the state government or local authorities or not. However, the types of such licenses may vary from state to state.
Every contractor is required to possess licenses and certifications to operate the business. These licenses are indicative of their safe and legal business activities. In addition, they are evidence that the contractors and its team members have undergone formal training to carry out the job. Hence, ensure that the licenses and policies are in place and completely up to date.
Also, check if they provide you with liability insurance in case any damage is done your property.
Caution: Make sure you verify the legitimacy of the contractor before moving ahead. Also, strike off the names of the contractors that are not in possession of the latest licenses and credentials or deny presenting the copy of such documents to you.
Tip 5: Get Written Bids
Now that you are done shortlisting your options to only two-three contractors, you should ask them to share written bids for your renovation project which will help you in evaluating them in terms of quality and price of the services.
After thorough discussions, the contractors share a brief proposal of the work they will perform and the estimated price they will charge for it. This proposal contains other important things as well, like the timeline of the project, the materials that will be used, and any warranty if available.
It is important to note that price shouldn’t be the only judging parameter. Pay enough attention to the quality of services the prospective contractor would provide you with.
Caution: Make sure there aren’t any hidden charges or additional costs. Moreover, don’t fall prey to lowest bids or high discounts. And, always stay away from contractors that try to build up unnecessary pressure by calling you a hundred times and asking you to accept their bids.