Renovated homes always increase the value of a home. It is estimated that Americans spend around $114.6 billion on home renovation projects with an average construction project costs anywhere around $45,000. The scale of work ranges from simple carpentry jobs to adding/remodeling bathrooms or kitchens or even converting rooms. With so much investment, it indeed makes sense to choose home improvement and remodeling contractors with care.
Statistics at the New York Times Department of Consumer Affairs reveal that complaints about home improvement contractors far outnumber all other categories. Here’s a quick guide to help you find the right contractor:
– The first thing before hiring a contractor is to make sure that he has a license. Almost all states follow strict guidelines before issuing a license. Contractors are required to clear criminal background tests, written examination, and are charged a license fee. In some places like New York and Nassau, they are even required to pay a bond through a trust fund which is used to compensate consumers who were affected by shoddy and less than professional work.
– Licenses may not be a complete guarantee of the contractor’s professionalism, but at least they give the state to move on behalf of the consumer.
– Make sure that you read the contract terms and conditions in detail. Even the smartest people have faced problems because they failed to read the contract. Paying a contractor in cash also isn’t a good idea, because more often than not, it ends up in a dispute.
– And if possible, consult an architect or other specialist. People often ignore this. Homeowners are not always specific about conveying ideas to the contractor. This can sometimes prove to be a costly mistake and even involve changing the entire project. But an architect can ensure that the message is conveyed to the contractor clearly. The blue print drawn by an architect leaves little room for mistakes, because you can’t have a contractor who can come with excuses saying, ‘you didn’t tell that to me before’.
– Make sure that a penalty clause is included in the contract. As stated earlier home improvement and remodeling jobs aren’t cheap. A penalty clause would bind the contractor in finishing the project on time.
– You can also ask the contractor to provide an experienced foreman to handle the project. While this may increase costs, this would indeed be a bargain when compared to the expenses incurred because of inadequate supervision.