The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to re-evaluate their homes and make changes that they may have been putting off for years. The quarantine season has people reconsidering how their homes look and wanting to make big changes.
According to the latest report by Research and Markets, the global home improvement market reached $1,415.98 billion in 2021– a significant jump compared to the previous years.
When considering a home remodel, choosing the right contractor is one of the most critical decisions. With so many contractors, it can be challenging to know where to start. Here are a few things to know when searching for the perfect contractor for your home.
What Is the Difference Between a Renovation and a Remodel?
Many people use the terms “remodel” and “renovation” interchangeably, but there is a difference. A home renovation refers to the restoration of a residential property. On the other hand, a remodel can encompass cosmetic and functional changes.
When taking on these projects, you’ll work with different contractors. Home renovation contractors generally have experience repairing homes, while remodeling contractors may be more equipped to handle changes that require construction experience.
Steps in Hiring a General Contractor
A general contractor (GC) is a project manager who handles all aspects of a construction project from start to finish. If you’re planning a home remodel, you’ll need to find a GC that suits your needs. Here are the steps to take when hiring the right contractor.
Define the scope of work
This is an important first step to take. Be clear about what work needs to get done and your expectations. A punch list can help you keep track of all the tasks you need. Doing so will help you find the right general contractor that is a good fit for your needs and avoid any miscommunication down the line.
Compile a list of potential contractors.
Get recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who have recently completed a home remodel. Once you have a list of names, check out each contractor’s website and read online reviews. By doing your research, you can be sure you’re hiring a reputable contractor.
It would be best if you met with each potential GC to ask questions and get a feel for their personality and work style. It is also an opportunity for the GC to assess the scope of work and provide a rough estimate.
Get bids and compare prices
After meeting with the candidates, you should have an idea of the total cost of the job. Request bids from each of the contractors and compare the prices.
Choose your ideal candidate
Once you have all the information, it’s time to decide and choose the best GC for you. Be sure to sign a contract that includes all the project details before work begins.
How To Choose the Right Contractor
Choosing a contractor is a big decision that you should not take lightly. That’s because the right team can make or break your home remodel. But how can you be sure you’re choosing the best professional for the job? Here’s how:
Check their credentials
When meeting with potential contractors, ask about their experience and credentials. Also, do a background check to verify if they are licensed and insured in your state. By working with a licensed professional, you have peace of mind knowing that they have the training and experience necessary to complete your project.
Working with a contractor is a big commitment, so work with a professional and reliable. Ask for references from former clients and follow up with those references. You can also ask for a portfolio containing photos of the contractor’s work. This way, you can be sure that the firm can handle your projects.
Homeowners regret not asking enough questions before hiring a contractor. Before you commit to working with someone, have them answer your questions first. There’s no single right answer to this, but you should feel comfortable with the interview process and their solutions before moving forward.
Follow your gut
After meeting with the contractor and doing your research, you’ll know whether or not they’re the right fit for you. Trust your instincts and hire a contractor you feel most comfortable with.
What Should I Look For in a Remodeling Contract?
Aside from understanding how to select a contractor, know your remodeling contract. This document dictates the terms of your agreement and protects both parties involved.
Below are some guide questions to consider when reviewing a remodeling contract. Spend time reviewing the contract and asking plenty of questions before signing anything.
Will the general contractor be on the job site for the entire project?
You’ll want a contractor who is always available for your concerns and questions. By getting this in writing, you can avoid any hassle during the duration of the project.
Who will be responsible for ordering materials?
In most cases, the contractor will be responsible for ordering the building materials. But it’s still best to verify this before work begins. This way, you’re sure that your projects stay on track and there are no delays due to material issues.
Who will take care of the building permits?
Sometimes, the homeowner is responsible for obtaining all the necessary permits. But in most situations, the home builders will take care of this. Get this in writing so that everyone is on the same page.
When will progress payments be made?
Progress payments typically happen at specific milestones during the job. A payment schedule should be laid out in the contract, so you know when and how much to pay. This way, you can avoid any confusion or misunderstanding about payment.
Does the contractor carry workers’ compensation and liability insurance?
Unforeseen accidents can happen during a remodel. That’s why it’s crucial to hire a contractor with insurance. This way, you won’t be held liable if anyone gets hurt while working on your home.
How long will the project take?
Of course, you’ll want to know how long the project will take before you commit. A timeline will give you a better idea of when the work will be completed, which can help you plan accordingly. You don’t want to wait for long periods only to find out the job isn’t even close to being done.
What is the warranty on the work?
Several contractors guarantee their work for a certain period, usually one year. However, some contractors may offer extended home warranties. Include this in the contract so you’re well-protected in case any issues arise after the project is complete.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many general contractors can I hire?
A remodeling project will usually require the expertise of multiple professionals. But you don’t have to hire a different contractor for each job. You can work with just one general contractor who will hire subcontractors for the additional scope of work to individual specialists.
How do I know if my contractor’s price is too high?
If you’re unsure about the ideal price for your project, ask for multiple bids. This way, you can compare the prices and see which company offers a more reasonable price. There are also online marketplaces like Houzz that provide average cost estimates for home remodeling projects.
Do contractor quotes include materials?
Every contractor is different. Ask a potential contractor about their price (and if it includes labor and materials). Otherwise, you may be responsible for ordering and paying for all the construction materials separately.
Is it OK to negotiate with a contractor?
It’s perfectly acceptable to negotiate with your contractor. After all, you want to get a good deal for your money. However, be reasonable with your expectations and payment terms. There’s a fine line between cutting corners and lowballing. Avoid making a lowball bid, as this may result in lower-quality work.
When should I start looking for a contractor?
It’s best if you started looking for a remodeling contractor about two to three months before you plan your remodeling project. You’ll have plenty of time to vet different candidates and find the perfect fit for your needs.
How do I know if a contractor is reliable in my area?
Finding reliable contractors in your area may require a bit of research. You can start by asking your local building department or home improvement store for recommendations. You can also check online directories like the Better Business Bureau.
Your real estate investment is one of the biggest ones you will make in your lifetime. So, when choosing a home remodeling contractor, ensure that you are working with someone qualified and reliable. Don’t hesitate to ask around and do your research to find the best possible candidate.