How to Hire a Contractor

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Real Estate

How to Hire a Contractor - Be careful when hiring a contractor. Many are legitimate professionals, make sure they are licensed, bonded and insured.  Always ask about their warranties/guarantees of workmanship and products.


l Check with friends, neighbors, trade associations, and home improvement stores for referrals.

2 Get three bids, then bargain. Contractors routinely lower bids.  Remember you get what you pay for too, quality of workmanship is more important than price.

3 If a bid is substantially lower than others, ask why. Will the contractor use inferior products, or is he too inexperienced to make an accurate estimate? Confirm the details, trust your instincts!

4 Are estimates based on a fixed price or a “cost-plus” bid? In a fixed price bid, changes during construction are re-negotiated. In a cost-plus bid, the contractor does the job, then submits receipts along with an invoice for labor.

5 Contact your local consumer protection agency to find out the local laws.  And your local building permit department.

6 Don’t hire someone without a written estimate, contract, contractor’s license number, and local references. You can check and confirm a contractor's license is active.

7 Arrange for your own loan and NEVER pay in full up front.  Arrange to make payments upon completion of defined amounts of work.

8 Include written warranties. Note the name and address of the party responsible for honoring the warranty, as well as the warranty’s time period.

9 Specify who is responsible for obtaining and paying for permits, and insist that construction codes are followed. Make certain all permits are properly completed and closed with the building permit department.

10 Every contract should include the following: 1) A detailed description of the work and the materials to be used; 2) the total cost of the work and a payment schedule; 3) additional promises made by the salesperson/contractor; 4) start and completion dates, warranty information; 5) cleanup information;  and 6) the signature of you and your contractor.

11 Take 'before' and 'after' pictures of your upgrades, remodeling and improvements and keep records that will come in handy when you go to sell your home. 

12 Using a professional, qualified contractor and taking the time to do a project correctly upfront can make a big difference whether the project adds value to your home or negatively impacts it.  Do not attempt to do projects yourself without the proper training and experience, you could end up paying more to redo it.

 Be completely satisfied before making final payment. As long as you have your money in hand, you call the shots. Still, be aware that some states allow subcontractors and suppliers to file a lien against your home if you hold payment unnecessarily.  READ carefully what you are signing at all times and review with an attorney if necessary.  You don't want an error in placing a lien on your property.

Hope this is helpful- and if you need assistance in knowing whether or not an improvement would add value to your home, give me a call and let's set up some time to discuss first! 

Mati Rosa Morphis/Realtor (916) 949-6509