Having your home remodeled, or a custom home built, should be an exciting time; however, your construction project can quickly turn into a nightmare if you do not find the right contractor or builder to partner with. This makes it important that you take your time before jumping into a construction project, as you should plan on meeting with several potential contractors before choosing one to work with; doing so will give you the best odds of finding an experienced builder who will meet your needs.
Yet, you may be wondering if there are any additional steps that you can take when choosing a contractor, as well as during construction, to ensure that your contractor does a good job.
To help ensure that your project goes as planned, here are a few proactive steps that you can take to ensure that your contractor creates the dream home you have always wanted.
Do Your Research
Before you even begin meeting with contractors, it is critical that you take the time to do extensive research on each of the contractors/builders you are considering working with, as this can help give you insight into the quality of their work as well as their customer service skills. Of course, the best place to start when researching a contractor is customer review sites such as Google Reviews, Yelp, and Angie’s list. Reviews can give you a good sense of what it would be like to work with a contractor, how they handle complaints and disputes, and you may even get to see pictures of a contractor’s work.
You should also consider doing additional research on any builder you are seriously considering working with to see if they have a complaint history with the Better Business Bureau or local disciplinary boards. Contractors who have many unresolved disputes, or who have had serious infractions or lawsuits filed against them, may be risky to work with. You can tell a lot about the quality of a builder, and their customer service skills, by seeing how they address complaints on review sites, social media, and their business’s Better Business Bureau listing.
Ask About Their Subcontractors
While it is important to find out everything you can about a builder you are considering working with, it is equally important that you ask each contractor/builder you meet with about any subcontractors that they may work with during your project. While it is not uncommon for contractors to bring in subcontractors to help them on large jobs, or to perform specialty work, it is important that you ask questions about these subcontractors in order to ensure that only qualified people are working on your home. Make sure to ask who the contractor works with, how much experience the subcontractors have, and check that each subcontractor is properly licensed and insured (you will want to make sure that your primary contractor is properly licensed and insured as well). If a contractor does not have specific partners they work with, they may bring on unskilled day laborers who likely will not do as good of a job as skilled contractors, which can cause major headaches during construction.
Get a Written Contract
While you have likely heard this before, it cannot be overstated how important it is that you get a detailed, written contract outlining the terms of your project before work begins on your home, as this will ensure that you are protected should a contractor try to go back on their word during construction. Without a proper contract, it’ll be the contractor’s word against yours should a dispute arise during construction, and you may find yourself vulnerable to being taken advantage of by your contractor.
Make sure that your contract includes details such as projected start and end times for your project, estimated costs for materials and labor, payment deadlines, a detailed materials list, warranty information, and your contractor’s license number. Read over this contract carefully before you sign anything, and make sure that you request changes if you think something is missing, or if the wording seems too vague for your liking.
Having a good contract is important for several reasons. Not only will a contract protect you during the build, but also, if a contractor is willing to take time to draft a thorough contract with you and go over every minor detail before construction starts, this indicates a builder who is looking out for your best interests, and they will likely work hard to do a good job on your home.
Check In With Your Contractor Frequently
Once construction begins on your home, your work is not done. In order to ensure that your project goes smoothly, it is important that you check in with your contractor regularly to see how things are going. Depending on the scale of the job, you may need to talk to your builder daily to see where your project is at and if there are any decisions that you need to make.
This will also allow you to regularly see the progress to make sure that everything is going according to plan and meets your specifications. Being involved in the project can help to ensure that the final product is up to your standards.
Don’t be Afraid to Speak Up
It is also important for you to remember to advocate for yourself and speak up if anything does not appear to be to your liking at any point during construction. While it can be intimidating for many people to stand up to their contractor and tell them that they do not like what they see, it is important for you to remember that you are the customer.
You are investing a lot of time and money into creating your dream home, so it is important that you say what you want and that you are involved with the construction process.
Your contractor should be more than happy to make necessary changes to ensure that you are happy with their work, and they would rather you speak up early than find out at the end of the project that you are unsatisfied with their work.
Taking certain precautions when having a home built or remodeled can help to ensure that the final result is the dream home you have always wanted. Contact us for more advice on steps that you can take to find the right contractor for your project.