Tips for Hiring a Contractor for Renovations

Tips for Hiring a Contractor for Renovations

If you have just purchased a home and require a mortgage or you already have a mortgage and require renovations, you will want to know the best mortgage solution and how to hire the right contractor for renovations.  Professional contractors are in the service business and a significant part of the value they provide lies in their ability to communicate with, and satisfy, their customers.  Finding a qualified contractor is the key to a successful renovation project.

We’ve listed some tips to assist you in hiring the right contractor for your renovation:

References from friends and family – Before your search for a contractor, check with friends and family, chances are they have experience and may be able to provide a reference, either personally or from their friends.  Facebook is a great way to get the word out you are looking for a qualified contractor and can tap into your friends resources to find a qualified contractor.  Also, why not take a drive around the neighbourhood and see if there are any renovations being done for your neighbours, ask them what the experience is like and if they would recommend them; this way you can get an idea of what the contractor is like as the work is actively being done.  They may even give you a peek at their renovations.

Don’t hire over the phone – It’s good to call as many contractors as possible and then narrow down your search, but don’t hire a contractor based on a phone conversation.  Request a quote and meet them face to face.  You also want to ensure they have a website, business address and search their company name online to see if there is anything negative about the company.

Get it in writing – Get a quote and ensure it includes the bottom line, including the cost of labour, materials and taxes.  A paper trail protects you and your contractor so get all the details about the project — including a start date and an end date.  Have an attorney review it before you and your contractor sign off on it.   A contractor should be diligent but there may unforeseen things that happen as the project gets going, so ensure you put any changes that come up in writing, initial it and print out an updated plan for the both of you.   Also make sure your contractor provides you with all surveys and inspections required by law and keep a copy of the reports.  Ensure you also have a payment schedule in the quote and don’t pay in one lump sum before the work is started.  It is a good rule of thumb to get 3 quotes.

Check out previous clients –   Find out about previous projects and request a list of past customers to contact for references. Professional contractors are proud of the work they do and will be happy to provide this information. Don’t just ask, call former clients to find how their project went and this may be a good time to find out if there is any advice they can offer.  Don’t rely on results alone, visit a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works.

Ask questions – There are no stupid questions, you are making a big financial decision and you will be pretty much living with the renovators for a certain period of time, so it’s important you ask the questions right away.  Here are some questions you may want to ask.

  • What is the history of your renovation company?
  • What services do you offer?
  • Have you done renovations like ours before?
  • Can we visit one of your current projects?
  • Do you carry workers’ compensation and liability insurance?
  • What warranty do you offer on your work?
  • Do you do clean-up and safety checks before the end of each day?

Don’t pay before the work is done to your satisfaction –  Don’t pay all the money upfront, you and your contract should agree upon a payment plan to ensure you are satisfied before making the final payment.  Before accepting any offer, give it at least a few days before going ahead with the job or any additional work.

Do a end of day walk through – Let your contractor know you will be doing a end of day walk through before they leave.  Get an update from them on how the work is progressing and if there are any changes to the dates or the renovation.  You will also want to make sure at the end of the day there is proper clean up and the work area is left in a neat and safe condition.

Whether you are a first time home buyer or already have a home, financing a renovation project, although necessary, can get costly.  If you are a first time home buyer, you may want to ensure you have the right mortgage product to make it happen. You may also want to find out more about the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit. If you have an existing mortgage, you may qualify for Refinancing or a Home Equity Loan to help with Renovation costs.  When looking to financing your home renovation, make sure you leave some wiggle room and build in a small cushion (good rule of thumb is an extra 20 percent of your total budget).

If you want need more information on financing your renovation project, contact the mortgage brokers and financial experts at Richmond Lending to learn about our Renovation Mortgage options and get best mortgage rates.


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