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Owning a home brings a lot of responsibilities. You need to keep your house in good shape so that it remains livable and to make sure that your asset retains its value. Besides this, you can also improve the value of your home by doing improvements like adding new construction and putting in a new kitchen.

But regardless of the reasons, when it comes to doing some work on your home, you may decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor. It can be tricky to decide if you have to do it yourself or find a contractor. The truth is that it’s a good idea to work with a professional contractor rather than doing the project yourself. This article provides the top tips to help you hire the right contractor.

Get several estimates

While planning your home renovation project, the first step is to choose the right contractor for the work. This is a crucial step because a good contractor can make sure that the work is done properly. You want to ensure that you check the quality of their job in advance. You should also agree in writing on what work they need to do and agree on the scope of the project. Further, find out whether the potential contractor is insured and licensed in case something goes wrong.

That said, you need to talk to several potential contractors and ask for written estimates. Make sure that you compare contractors who have experience doing the same type of work you want them to do. You should also look at work methods, building materials, timelines, and other things that can vary by contractor. But you need to be cautious of estimates that seem to be too low or too high. For accurate estimates, you can visit 5 Estimates.

Hire licensed contractors

You can choose to hire local and licensed contractors because they are easier to contact, especially when a problem arises in the future. These types of contractors can also be familiar with the building codes in your local area. Ask the potential contractor for their physical address. But you need to be concerned about any contractor who refuses to give contact details or goes door-to-door seeking work.

It’s also important to check the contractor’s past work. When doing this, find out how their previous projects turned out, their areas of specialization, and many more. You should also make sure to check their references, the quality of their workmanship, and customer service. You can also find out their professional reputation and the years they have been in business. You should always choose to hire someone with more than five years of experience.

As explained earlier, you need to take several estimates so that you can make a good decision. Therefore, don’t feel pressured into making an instant decision, especially when it comes to signing a contract. You should also be careful if you are requested to make a large deposit upfront.

Also, make sure that you read the fine print that is on the contracts and estimates. If there is an emergency repair that needs to be done but doesn’t have enough time to thoroughly find a contractor, then you can ask friends or neighbors to check if they know about any good contractor who provides emergency services.

Check their insurance and bonding

It also makes sense to make sure that the potential contractor is insured and bonded. Therefore, you should ask them for a certificate of insurance that provides the name of the insurer, policy limits, and policy number. You can choose to contact the insurer directly to verify the coverage so that you are assured that it’s still in effect. You should avoid hiring an uninsured contractor because you can be liable when accidents happen on your property.

Get everything in writing

You must have a contract before the project starts. Everything should be in writing and ensure that the contract is well-written and clear. Consider hiring an attorney to review the contract before signing it for your protection, especially if the project involves significant costs. A good contract should have a detailed description of the project to be done and the cost of each item.

A contract should also have a payment schedule. For example, it can indicate that you may pay the contractor a half payment before starting the project and the balance upon completion of the work. A contract should also include the start and completion dates. Any applicable guarantees should also be in the contract and state what is guaranteed, the length of validity, and the person responsible for the guarantee. Lastly, a contract should have signatures from both parties. Don’t sign a contract that has blank sections

Any changes to the contract need to be acknowledged by both parties in writing. And, you should ask the potential contractor if they have all applicable building permits. Once you choose to cancel a signed contract, make sure that you follow the cancellation clause of the contract. You should send the written notification of the cancellation by registered mail to make sure that you retain the proof of the cancellation.

You should understand that you have the right to cancel the contract. There is usually a cooling-off period that allows you to cancel the contract without incurring any penalties. But make sure that you follow the applicable rules when you are in this cooling-off period. And, if you choose to cancel, then you need to send the notice of cancellation to the potential contractor.

Don’t pay up-front

It’s also not a good idea to pay the whole amount before the contractor finishes the project. Also, make sure that the checks are made payable to a company and not to a person, and don’t make cash payments. For a larger project, it’s normal to pay one-third of the costs before the start of the project. In such cases, you can keep as a receipt the cashed check.

Delays in a project can occur, and it can sometimes not be the contractor’s fault. Regardless of the timeline that is in the contract, circumstances like weather can prevent the project from remaining on schedule. Therefore, you need to prepare and adjust your plans accordingly.