With the housing market bouncing around, many homeowners have considered sprucing up their homes with some simple renovations. Whether its prepping for sale or upgrading for an expanding family, make sure you are an educated consumer before you hire a contractor. These five tips will help to protect you and ensure that you hire a reputable professional.
- Always Get Multiple Quotes. Although this seems obvious, it can be very time consuming and many people simply don’t have the patience to go through the process. Getting multiple quotes from several professionals can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars on your job and in this economy, who couldn’t use a little extra money in their wallet?
- Check the Licenses of the Contractor You Want to Hire. Most people overlook this step and assume that everyone has the proper licenses necessary to do your type of job. BE SURE! It is your responsibility to verify that this contractor is licensed before you hire them for your job. Should you hire someone who is unlicensed and something goes wrong, you will have very little recourse. Taking a little extra time to verify their license information can ensure that you are hiring someone who is qualified to do the work. Most states have a website where you can verify a person’s license information. For example, New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs website has a link to “Search for a Contractor”.
- Ask for Proof of Insurance. All contractors should be able to provide this information upon request. Once you have it, call the listed insurance company to verify. An uninsured contractor could leave you with a potential disaster on your hands.
- Ask for References and/or Read Reviews. Any reputable contractor should be able to supply you with a list of satisfied customers they have done work for. Was the project finished on time? Did they stick to the budget? Were they happy with the quality of the work? Much of this information as well as various reviews are available on the internet.
- Ask a Lot of Questions. There are no stupid questions…at least not when you are about to make a serious financial investment in your home. Make sure you have all of your questions answered prior to the start of the job. This will give you a clear understanding of the job and peace of mind.