Home Renovations

Home Renovations

Critical Questions to Ask Your Contractor Before You Start Your Project

Whether you’re building a new home from the ground up or undertaking a renovation, you’ll make a lot of complex and critical decisions along the way. Your home building or renovation process all begins with choosing the right construction company (contractor). Having the right team on your side can make all the difference. Luckily, there are questions to ask a general contractor that can help you find the best fit for your project.  

Here are 10 questions to ask your remodeling contractor before you start any home renovation project.

  1. Are you licensed and insured?  Out of all the questions to ask a contractor, this may be the most important. A contractor without the proper license or insurance can put YOU at risk financially. The license requirements will vary depending on your state.  A contractor without insurance is a red flag. You’ll have to assume liability for their safety covering all the costs associated with any accidents that occur on your property. 
  2. How much will my project cost? How do you handle cost estimates and changes to the budget? Making sure that they provide you a detailed breakdown of costs is imperative during any home project.  One of the reasons jobs run over budget is the homeowner changes their mind about something, you need to know your contractors process for handling those situations.
  3. Are you familiar with the necessary permits and regulations for my specific project? And will you be obtaining these required permits? Most cities need permits and building inspections by a local department before you can begin the project. Whenever a contractor tells the homeowner they need to get the permit in their name it’s a red flag because ultimately the person responsible to make sure the job is done properly is the person whose name is on the permit. A responsible contractor will understand this and act accordingly.
  4. Will there be a dedicated team for my project? This question lets you know if the same people will show up at your house every day. If you want to feel secure and avoid meeting new crew members everyday, make sure that the contractor provides a dedicated team to your job and find out who the project manager is over them.
  5. How long will my remodel take? Many factors can affect the answer to this question, labor, materials, even pandemics! However, understanding what the ideal timeline is without any interruptions is a conversation must. 
  6. What is your experience with home renovations? May seem like a silly question but it’s important to ask. You want to understand how much experience your contractor actually has - are they new to the game?  seasoned veteran? or somewhere in between, and what is your comfort level with this answer. It’s even a good idea to check out their reviews and comments online or if you know someone that has used them in the past, reach out and talk to them about their experience.
  7. Do you anticipate any challenges with our project? All projects come with their own challenges, it’s best to know these as soon as possible to avoid surprises. This will help you prepare for any adjustments to the cost or timeline.
  8. What is the best way to communicate with you? Communication is key to a positive experience! Your main point of contact with the company should be clear at all times, a set process for you to communicate with the contractors team is an absolute must. Ask for specific, such as methods and timeliness of responses.
  9. How will payment work? Once you’ve agreed-upon a contract, you can ask about the payment schedule. Most contractors will ask for payment before the project begins, typically payments are made after each project milestone completion with the last payment being made when everything is complete. A payment schedule will not only ensure your project completion, but it will help you with your own financial organization.
  10. Will you take steps to protect my property? All renovation projects start with some amount of demolition, always good to ask what measures your contractor's team will take to ensure that the house stays intact. Ask about relocating items and covering furniture to avoid damage. A lot of responsibility lies in the contractor's hands - to avoid scratching floors, staining carpet, or damaging the surrounding walls. Also good to ask about them locking up when leaving the property if you won’t  be home that day.
Renovations, remodeling, redecorating and the like can be exciting, fun, laboring, and scary all at the same time. Working with a contractor with whom you can develop a relationship makes the process that much smoother and easier.

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