When you finally decide to give yourself the green light on a home renovation project you’ve been considering for a long time, it’s an exciting moment. It’s tempting to rush right in, hire a contractor, and get the project started. But before you do that, it only makes sense to take a little extra time and think about your “vetting process” for renovation contractors. After all, this is a decision that will affect the quality of your finished result, and the performance of your renovation investment over the long haul.
1. How much experience do they have?
The answer to this question should be concrete, and should exceed the threshold of what you consider to be a good amount of experience in the industry. It should also cover a wide range of home renovation projects – unless you’re looking at specialists who focus in one area, such as kitchens or home additions. Either way, it’s important to establish that your chosen home renovator is highly experienced. Essentially, this means that your investment will be handled in a skilled and secure way. Hiring an inexperienced renovator is one of the most common paths to frustration, headaches, and spiraling expenses.
2. What similar projects can they show you?
It isn’t enough for a renovator simply to say that they have five or ten years of experience working in the field of home renovation. They should be able to get very specific, showing you concrete examples of similar projects to the one you’re proposing. For instance, if you’re looking at a bathroom makeover that includes changing the grubby old bathtub for a bright walk-in shower, the contractor should be able to show you the finished results of similar bathroom renovation projects. They should be able to tell you specifically about their experience and expertise in this area, and provide references to set your mind at ease.
3. Is the work guaranteed in writing?
This is a big one, and a surprising number of homeowners hire a renovation contractor without thinking about guarantees. We expect a strong guarantee when we buy a new appliance, or even a laptop computer – and we should have the same standards when it comes to home renovation. In fact, our standards should be higher. After all, this is a huge investment. In some cases, the total cost of home renovations will be higher than the cost of a new car. Either way, homeowners need to know that their investment is legally protected against faulty workmanship, bogus materials, or other breaches in quality. Make sure to read the language of the contract carefully, ask questions, and be totally comfortable with the guarantee before signing.
Is the renovator giving clear answers to these questions?
If you come across a contractor that offers vague answers to important questions, or doesn’t seem to have the time for your inquiries, this is a good sign to look elsewhere. Chances are, there’s a skilled and reliable renovator in your area who ticks all the right boxes, and is ready to deliver make a competitive bid for a high quality home renovation.