If you've decided to do some renovations on your home to make it more sellable, it's time to look for a credible contractor. Before anyone begins work on your home, it is important to do your homework.
1. Ask for Referrals
- Your architect will make recommendations
- Your RE/MAX agent will offer some suggestions
- Contact friends or neighbours who have had similar work done
- Ask at your local builder supply store
When you're interviewing contractors, ensure their credibility. Contact their references. Ask to see some samples of the contractor's work and speak to his clients to ensure that they were satisfied with the price, length of time in which the project was completed and overall, how the project was handled. Also, check with your local Better Business Bureau.
Once you have the names of a few contractors that look promising, arrange to get estimates from them. By arranging for three quotes you'll get a good idea of the costs and quality of work.
When going over the project with your contractor, ensure that he understands your needs and your budget. Each contractor will have a different idea on how to approach the work and they should inspect your home before giving an estimate. If contractors are bidding based on an architect's plans, be certain that they have detailed their approach to the job based on the drawings.
What's more, if there is a significant difference in the price, ask the contractors to explain their estimates. And keep in mind that the lowest price is not always the best. A price that's too low may mean that the contractor has undercut to get the project and then may submit additional project costs once the project is underway. As well, a high price doesn't always mean that you're getting gouged. The contractor may have budgeted for higher quality materials and may offer workmanship that is of an overall better quality.
In every case, before you sign the contract, be certain that it is as detailed as possible to the point of noting the specific finishes and brand names of the products to be installed.
2. Evaluating a Quotation
- Are the specific details of the project outlined?
- Are the specific costs detailed?
- Is there a provision for extra costs?
- Has a cap been set for the total project?
- Is there a firm project timeline?
- Has the contractor allotted time for inspections?
- Have you indicated that you wish to see all material receipts?
- Will the work be subcontracted?