Time for your some renovations?
Spring is a great time to look at doing some renovations on your home. Now that you have decided what you want to change, the bigger decision comes up. How do you find a contractor that is right for you?
What to look for in a contractor.
If you are doing major renovations to several rooms, you may want to hire a General Contractor. They will oversee the whole project, hire the tradespeople they need, obtain permits, materials, etc. If you are doing a smaller renovation, look for a more specialized contractor. Make sure you have detailed discussions about what you want to be completed and make sure they understand your expectations. If the project requires multiple skills, i.e. plumbing and electrical, make sure there are qualified people working with your specialized contractor.
You may come across a contractor who will offer you a lower price based on you paying them cash. Watch out for this. If you don’t have a receipt and proof they did the work you may have a hard time getting things fixed if they are not to your satisfaction. Find a contractor that will give you a written contract and will guarantee their work. Also, always make sure they have Business Insurance. This can help to cover you if something goes terribly wrong.
Where to find your contractor.
Many people in smaller communities will ask for recommendations from friends or family. This is ideal because you may be able to actually see the work the contractor has completed for them and ask what their work ethic was like. If you do not have someone who can give you a recommendation, look up your local Home Builders Association to find a member in the field you need.
Don’t be afraid to meet several contractors and get different quotes. Interview them for your job and see what kind of feeling you get and who you connect with. Find out their qualifications and get their references. The right contractor may even be able to look at your project and offer suggestions on how to improve the plan or get more value for your money. Have them provide you with estimates not only for cost but also for when they could start and how long it will take.
Once you get your quote…
Make sure you look at all aspects of the quote so that you can compare apples to apples. Decide what is more important for your project. You may have a contractor that is less money but cannot complete your project for another 6 months. Do you want to wait that long? You may want to pay a little more if you can get it done sooner.
In the end, it is better to trust your gut and go with the contract you get the best feeling from.
Get a contract stating the description of the work to be completed, start date, end date and terms of payment. You can also include what happens if there are changes. You can ask for proof of insurance at this time as well.
If you are doing major renovations, make sure to contact your insurance broker to let them know. Depending on the scope of the renovation being done, you may need a special clause or endorsement added to your home policy. Your broker can discuss this with you. Also, depending on the renovation, the rebuilding cost of your home may need to be increased in order to say within the underwriting guidelines. Most insurance policies require you to be insured to the rebuilding cost so any renovations being done that will add value to your home should be reported so your home insurance can be amended.
Source: Canadian Home Builders’ Association