No home remains the same year after year. Age does outdate a home, and usage makes a homeless functional as time goes on. Whether seeking an update for aesthetic purposes or to increase functionality, choosing a home renovation contractor should be done carefully.
Costs, of course, must be considered, but also the type of renovation, whether full renovation of a newly purchased property or smaller renovations of a home that simply needs upgrading. Some homes only need a slight fix-up of some rooms like the kitchen and bathroom, while other homes have become dated, and a full renovation by a licensed contractor is needed.
Shop Around For The Best Home Renovation Contractor
It is always prudent to make sure the contractor that is chosen is licensed and insured. These facts should be asked of any contractor, and a license will be in possession of a home renovation contractor if they are legitimate. A visit to a home renovation contractor’s website should state if they are licensed.
It is not rude to ask a contractor for their license number and then check it with local or provincial offices in Canada or with local municipalities or states in the USA. The licensing requirements may differ from area to area, so this is a crucial step in the process of selection of a contractor.
There is a difference between a licensed contractor, a certified contractor, and a registered contractor, with a licensed contractor being the most stable and secure selection.
Obtaining a license is more costly for a contractor, and therefore the contractor is generally insured also, which is imperative as well. Also, check the date on the license before hiring, as an expired license is useless. Ask for references from others and look for high ratings and testimonials on all contractor websites in addition.
Is Insurance Important In Selecting A Contractor?
Any home renovation contractor is entering a home to do renovations, so of course, insurance should be required. If damages occur, who will pay for these, and how long will a homeowner need to wait to have any damages rectified are crucial facts to know.
Hiring an uninsured home renovation contractor can leave the cost of repairs to a homeowner, and a homeowner’s insurance may be reluctant to cover the expenses involved in remediation. Property damages and even personal injury damages on a worksite may leave a homeowner open to paying for all necessary repairs and can lead to a civil lawsuit by an injured individual, including family members.
Costs may be lower with uninsured and unlicensed contractors, but in the end, there is a high chance that substandard materials will be used and substandard work will be performed.
How To Tell If A Home Renovation Contractor Is Honest
Unfortunately, while most contractors are honest, some are not. They can be trying to make money without having the skillset or training to do a great job. Signs to look for to determine honesty include but are not limited to:
- Reluctance to produce proof of insurance and licensing
- Avoidance of giving a written estimate of costs and timeframe for completion of work
- Not answering the phone or answering questions promptly
- Not using a signed and detailed contract before work begins
- Being unable to produce references from other clients or refusing to allow contact by a homeowner with prior clients
- Seeming confused about the process that will be followed throughout the renovation project
- Acting angry or upset when questioned about costs, timeframe, or paperwork.
- High-pressure tactics to get a deposit and start work
- Asking for the entire project’s funding upfront—a deposit is common, but not a full payment. Full payment requests as a deposit are a red flag.
Conflicts Can Still Arise Due To Personality Or Expectations
Some great contractors and homeowners seeking renovations just do not mesh personality-wise. If a homeowner does not like smoking outside the property or parking in front of the home, this should be discussed, as should the start and end times of work each day.
If a homeowner is an “early bird” and rises early but goes to bed early each night, then pairing up with a contractor that shows up later in the morning each day and prefers to work longer into the evening, problems can erupt. Family life, in general, should be discussed to avoid personality conflicts and business organizational conflicts before signing any contracts by either party.
Contractors also do not usually work during the weekends, while some might. It is important to know this if a homeowner does not want contractors in the home during the weekend. In reverse, a contractor that does not allow work on weekends will not show up on a weekend as the workers are not available on weekends.
What Happens If Conflicts Do Arise During Renovations?
If conflicts do erupt, it is more prudent to speak directly to the home renovation contractor and solve the problem through negotiations between the homeowner and the contractor. Quietly sitting down and discussing issues is more productive than threatening or angry accusations.
Civil lawsuits against a contractor not only leave a job unfinished but cost the homeowner and contractor money that neither wants to spend to go to court for conflict resolution. Any home renovation can be stressful to a homeowner, so it is important to know ahead of time and expect some disruption to routine family life.
Although most contractors try to be as little disruptive as possible, there will be some noise, dust, and dirt. Homeowners need to expect and accept this fact. In addition, some delays might occur that a contractor could not have predicted, such as finding bad plumbing or writing, etc., that was not in the original specifications. Discussions should always be open and honest throughout all home renovation projects.
Home Renovations Contractor Guide Summary
While costs do count, of course, in the selection, a satisfaction guarantee should exist, and all paperwork should be clear as to what work is to be performed. Reputation, licensing, and certification are important issues, so any homeowner should check into these.
If conflicts arise, it is best to negotiate calmly throughout the conflict. Homeowners must also show patience and be knowledgeable about the processes involved in home renovations of any type. If a homeowner feels any negativity, then following “gut” instinct is the best solution, and the search should continue. Once work starts or money changes hands, the process becomes complex when it goes awry.