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Choosing a General Contractor for Your Home Renovation Project

Choosing a General Contractor for Your Home Renovation Project By Sarah Clark
HIPhome Columnist
December 31, 1969

Avoid common pitfalls consumers fall into when selecting a general contractor for their home renovation project. These tips will help you become a savvier consumer when it comes to choosing a contractor for your renovation project.

Get Referrals from Trustworthy Sources

Ask friends, neighbors, and your realtor about contractors they can vouch for. Ask referrals detailed questions, such as whether or not the contractor completed their project in a timely fashion. Were the contractor's prices competitive? How would you rate the quality of their work? Also, ask what kind of work they did to get a sense of their area of expertise and how it relates to your project.

Ask for References

Once you've identified a few potential general contractors, ask them to provide references. Ask the contractor's references questions similar to the ones listed above. You may also want to ask if the general contractor's total costs for the project exceeded the original estimate. Contact your local Better Business Bureau to gain additional information about their reputation.

Get Several Bids in Writing

Get at least three bids on the same home renovation project and compare to get a sense of how much each phase of the project will cost. If you're remodeling a bathroom, for example, get the individual cost of the tub, countertop, tiles, toilet, and any other material used or installed. Does one bid stand out as markedly different from the others? This may help you eliminate contractors whose prices or methods differ significantly from the norm.

Negotiate an Air-Tight Contract

Make sure you negotiate a contract that includes detailed information about your home renovation project. Also, the Home Builders Association of Lincoln, Nebraska says that you should establish a payment schedule in the contract and that you can expect to pay about one-third of the total project costs up front.

After doing your homework in selecting a quality general contractor, you can look forward to enjoying the results of your home renovation project.


About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer based in Arlington, Virginia.

*Before you apply any of the advice described on the Hip-home.com website, you should consider if the advice is safe and suitable for your individual home situation and consult experts as necessary to evaluate the suitability for your circumstances.
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