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Showing posts with label Homeowner Referral Network. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homeowner Referral Network. Show all posts

February 11, 2011

Tips and Resources For Hiring Contractors

Hi Folks,

   Hope you're having an awesome week !

   If you have ever hired a contractor, you know that it can be quite time-consuming and sometimes quite difficult to find the right person. Today, we will be discussing some tips for hiring a contractor, as well as some resources to find contractors to hire.

   Debra M. Cohen of Home Remedies of NY, Inc. says that you should ask for the names and phone numbers of three to five customers for whom the contractor has completed a similar project in the past two years, as "This will make it more difficult for a contractor to “hand pick” only his best references. Call each reference and ask the homeowner what they liked and didn’t like about the contractor. Ask him if the final cost of the job exceeded his estimate and if he completed the work in a neat and timely fashion. Most importantly, ask them if they would hire the contractor again for another home improvement project."

   Cohen suggests that you contact your county offices to, "research what credentials are required for home improvement contractors in your state and in your county.", as well as ensuring that the contractor has a minimum of $1 million in general liability insurance. Cohen reminds us to, "get a copy of his license and insurance for your records." Allen K. Bahn, President of American Consulting Services, Inc., similarly states that you should, "First check the requirements of the state and local authorities and these include training, Bonding, Workmens Insurance, (and) General liability". Bahn says that many people have been, "duped by unreliable contractors giving them bogus papers. Yes these contractors can and are prosecuted but that does not solve your problems.", and says that, "in fact you have a full and total liability for all the actions undertaken by your contractor and subs."

   Jody Costello, creator of ContractorsFromHell.com, say that it is important for you to, "Conduct background checks that include uncovering relevant lawsuits, any small claims court filings, mechanics lien history, credit standing with suppliers and licensing history if required by your state." Costello also says that you need to conduct a thorough interview, "asking key questions around customer care, problem solving, safety issues, working with city inspectors, knowledge of code compliance, who will supervise your project and how much time they’ll spend, and how they handle unexpected surprises."

   Cohen also points to that fact that it is important to see how your personalities mix, since, as she questions, "Are you the type of person who likes to be involved in every decision or do you prefer to “leave your job to the experts”?". Cohen says that your contractor’s personality can make or break the success of your project.", as there are some contractors that, "prefer not to be micromanaged and others who want the homeowner’s input on every aspect of the job."

   When it comes time for an agreement, make sure that you get it in writing, says Cohen. "If your contractor is hesitant to put the details of your job in writing, I would be concerned.", says Cohen. She also suggests that you ask the contractor to, "document details about the type of materials he plans to use, his anticipated start date, project schedule and completion date." Bahn also suggests an, "exit clause for you.", so you can be in charge and protect yourself. Costello says that you need it in writing that, "you require Lien Releases at the time of each payment (in writing as part of the contract) from all subs/suppliers for work performed and material supplied to date." She also suggests having the following in writing: thoroughly written specifications sheet, start and stop dates, hours of working time on your project, days- Monday through Friday, hours such as 7am – 3:30pm.

   Cohen says that most contractors, "will request a down payment ranging from 10-30%. The remaining balance will be paid in increments in stages throughout the remodel and a 10% balance should be held until the final details of the project are completed to your satisfaction."

   Additionally, Bahn advises that, "the inspectors come when only when you are there. Many an city inspectors take bribes overlook violations. Even if they are punished ,you as the owner are liable for the problem."

   Now that you have been armed with how to weed out and find the right contractor for your project, where can you find them?

   Costello refers to hiring the right home renovation contractor as an “inside job”, and one that requires, "thoughtful research on the part of the homeowner. Doing the “behind the scenes” work before you even think about finding a contractor is key to a successful remodeling project and a positive working relationship with your contractor."

   Cohen suggests using a referral from a local "Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business", since they refer a. "full stable of contractors from painters, plumbers and electricians to General Contractors, moving companies and architects. HRN's verify each contractor's license and insurance based on state and county requirements, check contractor references, work only with well-established contractors, and follow through every referral until project completion. Referrals are provided free of charge to local homeowners and contractors can't pay a fee to be listed or referred. There are currently more than 300 HRN's operating nationwide." She also says that, "When looking for a contractor, many homeowners ask their friends and family for recommendations but in my experience, getting a contractor referral from another trades person is far more reliable."

   Costello says that, "The fact is that home improvement has consistently ranked at the top for consumer dissatisfaction and fraud according to various consumer agencies. With little accountability on the part of the home improvement industry, it becomes the homeowners’ responsibility to get educated and informed so they don’t become a victim of an unscrupulous contractor."

   Hopefully, these have been some helpful tips for you. A great place to find a contractor is in our Home Services section, and you can offer your Home Services there as well.

Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

TAGS: #contractor #HRM