Engaging in a home exterior improvement is worth the time and investment. When done efficiently, you will have good results. At the end of the project, you have a home with a new facade. Besides, you end up with an asset having higher market value. How do you make sure you end up with these outcomes? Simple. Always make sure that you hire a professional exterior contractor who can best execute your plan.
If you want to remodel and be problem-free, rely on a professional. Remember to look for one through reliable sites and recommendations from family or friends. Take the time to get to know them through initial interviews. And use your best judgment when narrowing down your choices and selecting the best.
Over time, I have gotten to know a lot of contractors as I do rely on them, if not all the time, most of the time. When I refurbished our kitchen floors, I hired an epoxy flooring Boston contractor. When I had our exterior sidings replaced, I called our go-to contractor. I believe that if you want good results (from remodeling or any home project), hire someone who has the best skill set for that particular job. And I did.
You may have a list of remodeling jobs you want on your home’s exterior. But you cannot move forward because you have so many unanswered questions. I have been there too. I can relate.
Here is a guide that I have been using. It may help answer some of your issues. Eventually, you will move the project forward.
6 Critical Steps To Do Before Hiring a Contractor
Make a Realistic Budget
Having a list of jobs to be done is critical. But most important is to assign a cost for these. Of course, the costs are going to be an estimate since the actual cost will vary with what you have budgeted (Factors like price adjustments, delays, repeat jobs, and other issues can affect your projected costs).
So to narrow the gap between actual versus budget and ensure that you can finish the project without going overboard, remember to come up with a realistic budget and stick to what your available finances can achieve. Segment your budget according to the required down payment, the periodic billings, and the total project cost. Then for each item, add a small amount as extras to cover possible price increases. For the down payment, assume a rate of 10% of the total project cost. It is the amount usually charged by contractors. Do not accept more than this percentage.
Check Cost of Materials at Hardware Stores
Be careful when choosing every item that goes into your remodeling. Why? Because the type, make, look, and cost will have an impact on the project – the finished product. Before you buy any item, the big ones especially, consider these factors:
Some materials can be difficult for someone (even a contractor) who has no or little experience with it. So always ask the salesperson if such materials are easy to install without the need for hard-to-find equipment.
Benefits and Disadvantages
There are a lot of exterior remodeling products in your local hardware store. So when you visit, make sure you own your time that day. You will be spending a great deal of it inquiring and interviewing. For instance, is a fiber cement siding more convenient versus one of engineered wood? How much will you save if you opt for a wood siding? Which one is sturdier fiber cement, or wood? Do both have the same measurements? Questions like these are critical. So take your time. Do not be in a hurry and leave off these questions. Lastly, think about what matters and your objective for remodeling. Does the cost of the roofing material matter more than the look?
Do you intend to live in your home forever or resell it shortly? These questions point to which one is your real priority for remodeling. When you are sure about what is important to you, it will be easier for you to decide. Of course, if you are thinking of reselling, then the return on investment will matter more than anything else.
Get to Know Your Prospective Contractors
Take note that any home remodeling is an investment and a big project to tackle. Since you are going to shell out hard-earned money, you want the best return on investment. Discussing the details of the work with prospective contractors will help you in making a decision about which one is the best. So how do you go about comparing these professionals when a good many of them seem to garner top scores when it comes to experience?
If all candidates show a great deal of knowledge and experience, consider other factors such as their project cost estimate. Study their pricing and find out how they price materials and labor. Also, you will know from previous clients (if you can find them and talk to them), if they had a good experience with the contractor. Were there delays? If so, were they reasonable delays? Do they deliver their commitments and are not just paying lip service? Were they easy to reach when there are complaints or changes? The answers to these questions will serve as your
guide, whether the contractor you are eyeing has a good reputation and deals with clients in a very professional way.
Look for Good and Bad Reviews
There is nothing wrong with asking contractors for references. If they are proud of their work and have maintained good relations with past clients, he will not hesitate to refer you to them. He can also give you his website (most of them have one) where you can find his satisfied clients and what they have to say. A contractor knows that clients will want some proof of their past work and feedback from his previous clients. So do not hesitate to ask. Once you have gotten hold of the references, you may call them too. Politely introduce yourself and mention the name of the contractor. If you also have the address to the site he has worked on, you may want to visit it and see for yourself.
Once you are satisfied with the feedback, you may also do your homework. Search for more info that will lead you to conclude that the contractor is the one. Ask friends and colleagues who referred him to you. Have a more in-depth discussion with them. Another way of checking independently on him is to look for his Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. If the contractor BBB accredited, you check his track record and reputation through this website. Visit the BBB regional website and input his name, address, and email, among others.
Verify Permits and Licenses
Any professional contractor should have a license to operate his business. Though there are different laws per state, a license to operate is generally the same across States. Look for your contractor on government websites. You may enter his license number or the name of his business. Verify important info like his status (active and current), the period within which he has been holding a license, whether he is a B General Contractor (which means he is licensed to do all types of remodeling), and other important info. Another way of telling if he is a legitimate contractor is if he instructs you to issue checks in the name of his company, not to an individual. But you can only confirm it at a later time when you have chosen a contractor and have sealed the deal.
Require a Signed Contract
Remodeling by a contractor requires paying money in exchange for services. Therefore, it is critical to have a valid contract. The contract should embody what you have negotiated. Here is a list of what is supposed to appear in it:
- Business information. Contractor license number, complete name, and address as well as current contact numbers
- Project Completion. It should specify when the project will begin and when it is supposed to end.
- Scope of Works. As the title implies, it lists all works to be complete to fulfill the project.
- Payment Scheme. The contractor should indicate when the billing is due and the amount involved.
- List of Materials. He should give specifications on the brand, color, size, amount, and all other relevant information.
- Contractor obligations. It is a statement of all his duties as a hired contractor. It will also state what he is not obliged to do.
- Homeowner obligations. Obtaining agency approvals before the work commences is mostly the duty of the homeowner. Disclosing superior knowledge that affects the project completion is, at times, included under the owner’s responsibilities. It is a list of your duties like clean up, getting permits to remodel, and others.
- Other Stipulations. It includes events that will cause the cancelation of the contract, refunds (if any), what to do when changes in the project are necessary, and other related information.
Enjoy Your Home All Over Again
Exterior home remodeling can be a worry-free project if you hire a professional who is in the best position to implement your plan. Make sure to follow the steps in finding a legitimate and experienced contractor. If you find and hire one, you are sure to finish the project and fall in love with your new home all over again.