Are you planning a major home renovation or addition this year? Looking for a good contractor at a price you can afford? Before you hire just anyone, keep these things in mind to make sure you find the right person and protect your home at the same time.
Have an Idea of What You Want
When you ask for an estimate, it’s easier (and faster) if you have a clear idea of what you want. A good contractor will offer their professional opinion on what’s possible and/or more cost effective. But you also need to give them something to work with. Saying, “We want to remodel the kitchen” isn’t quite enough. Knowing exactly what you want done will make the process of getting a quote smoother.
Get Multiple Quotes
Ideally, you’ll get at least three quotes, but more is better. Prices can vary wildly from contractor to contractor but in general, be wary of estimates that are too high and too low. Good contractors will often be somewhere in the middle. Make sure that the quotes you get have the same information on type of work, type of material, etc as part of the price so you’re comparing similar quotes.
Hire Licensed Contractors Only
In a perfect world, they’ll also be a local contractor, too. Either way, they should be licensed and happy to give you that information. They should also be able to give you contact and location information for their company. Once you have this information, check to make sure their license is current and valid and that their business actually exists.
Make Sure a Contractor is Insured and Bonded
It’s great if a contractor offers this information, but you need to verify it for yourself. Request a certificate of insurance (COI) which should include the insurance company name, policy number, and policy limit amount. Once you have that, call the insurance company to verify the information is accurate. Only work with an insured and bonded contractor. If you don’t, you’ll be liable for any accidents that occur on your property.
Understand What You’re Paying For
In any renovation job, there will be a variety of costs from labor, materials, permit fees, and more. Before you sign an agreement, know exactly what you’re paying for. Take the time to ask questions until you have a clear understanding of what you’ll be charged, how any additional costs may be dealt with, and what work is being done.
Get Everything in Writing
There are a lot of details that go into a home renovation or addition. Make sure you get it all in writing.
- Description of the work to be completed
- Payment amount and payment schedule
- Estimated start and end date
- Fixed bid or “cost plus” (with a cap) information
- Applicable guarantees and the details of those guarantees
- Signature from you and the contractor
You should also receive a copy for your records.
Set Boundaries for the Job Site
A small job may require one or two people in your home for a day or two. Larger jobs could require multiple people in and out of your home or property for days or weeks. Contractors often work with subcontractors who have their own teams. Make sure you set boundaries for access to your property and who will be on your property. It’s important to require that subcontractors follow the same licensing, insurance, and background checks as your main contractor, as well.
Check Your Home Insurance Coverage
Before you hire a contractor to work on your home, make sure you understand what (if anything) your home insurance provides or covers during renovations. Depending on the renovation or addition, you may also need to update your policy limits or coverage. Give us a call and speak to one of our agents to ask questions and update your policy, if necessary.
Ready to hire a contractor and make necessary changes around your home? Contact us at Charlotte Insurance to discuss how it will impact your home insurance!