Importance of Good Home Improvement Contractors For Your Home Improvement

Good Home improvement contractors are very important for your home improvement project. Without them, you cannot alone bring into existence all your ideas that you have planned for your home improvement plan. However, there are some easy home improvements that you can handle alone. But when you talk about big home improvement projects, you are indirectly talking about home improvement contractor.

They are important because they are professionally trained for home improvement projects. Plus, they are into business and they know more than you do and think of. Whether you are planning a kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling or repairs on a big scale, you should get help from a professional home improvement contractor. On the other hand, if you plan to redecorate your home with a low budget and cost effective measures, you can do it yourself.

Big projects need bigger planning as well as understanding of the entire situation. It needs a lot of effort to complete a project with all the requirements. Home improvement contractors are licensed and also have financial assistance which they get from insurance companies. In case of a loss, mishap, thunder or any such unpredictable phenomena, good contractors have a safe side.

But do not select any home improvement contractor which does not qualify for your requirements; does not have a license and professional experience. Good contractors are those which help you save your time and money. In addition they also support your ideas just like you want them to be. One needs to think deeply before signing any contractor. Otherwise, results can be harmful.

Residential Home Improvement Contractors – Protect Yourself With These Tips

As I say so frequently that I’m beginning to bore myself, “most remodeling contractors are honest and reliable individuals who want to do quality work at a reasonable price.” Unfortunately, there are just enough contractors out there (or people who claim to be contractors) who take advantage of their customers that some reminders and tips are helpful if you want to do everything possible to protect yourself and your property during home improvement.

1. Don’t make assumptions about referrals. Exercise the same due diligence in evaluating and checking out all contractors. You might have friends or relatives, co-workers or neighbors referring you to contractors they have used with good results. Many people are also simply trusting recommendations from home improvement stores. Even when you are referred to a contractor, check him or her out before you sign a contract. Consumer Reports recently released findings from a study of people who hired contractors to whom they were referred by the two leading home improvement stores. Their survey indicated that people who used these referrals had more problems and were less satisfied with the work than people who used other contractors.

2. Build your remodeling budget in a way that creates a 20% cushion for unexpected surprises. Although the National Association of the Remodeling Industry suggests an allowance of 10% to 20%, I think you are safer to budget for a 20% cost overrun due to surprises. There are literally hundreds of things that can happen or that can be discovered once remodeling begins that will result in a cost overrun. It is not uncommon, for example to discover termite damage, dry rot, damage from leaking pipes, outdated wiring, etc. My point is that you should not use your entire budget on the basics. You will be much more comfortable with your budget if you leave room for surprises.

3. Get a contract – don’t deal with a contractor on the basis of a proposal. If at all possible, get a contract that states a final price for the work, not an estimated cost that can go up or down. Your contract should be as specific as possible and as detailed as possible. It should also contain some kind of warranty for both the installation and the products or materials. You can also specify in the contract that all materials used will be new materials and meet the standards outlined in the contract. It should also state that any changes made during the construction period will be authorized only by written change orders that explain the difference in cost up front. If a contractor is unwilling to sign a contract stating the final price of the remodel, find another contractor.

4. Know what your insurance covers and take out a liability policy if necessary. It is usually easy to call your insurance agent and ask what is covered in terms of damage to your property, loss of property or possessions, and injury or death of a worker on your property during the construction period. You should also be certain that the contractor carries workman’s compensation insurance and liability insurance against injury or death of a worker and against damage or loss to your property or possessions. If you have any concerns about adequate coverage, discuss it with your insurance agent and consider taking out an additional policy during the construction period.

5. Monitor all liens placed against your property during construction (construction liens) by any contractor or subcontractor and ensure that they are removed when the project is finished and the contractor is paid in full. There are unscrupulous contractors who accept payment for a job and then do not remove the liens. In most of these cases, the homeowner is not aware of the lien until some time later when trying to sell the home or take out a loan for further improvements. When homeowners try to resolve the issue, the contractor claims that the bill or part of the bill was never paid and demands payment before removing the lien.

6. Never do business with someone who comes to your door offering their services.

7. Never pay a contractor the entire bill up front. Work out a payment schedule that reflects work completed, and put the payment schedule in the contract.

8. Specify the quality of workmanship and the quality of materials to be used in the remodel or addition in the contract. Not only should you specify materials quality, you should check materials to ensure compliance with the terms of the contract as they are delivered to the construction site. Insist that the costs of all building materials be specified.

9. Include all job specifications in the contract. The more specific the description of the work to be done, the more protection you have. Job specifications state exactly what work is to be done, how it is to be done, the quality of materials to be used, when it is to be complete, and that it must pass inspection.

10. Check all licenses, permits, proof of insurance, and state or local certification before you hire a contractor or subcontractor. Check to be certain the contractor has or obtains all necessary permits, licenses and certificates. Check with issuing agencies or insurance companies to confirm that insurance and licenses are current.

11. Insist that the contractor show you proof of bond coverage for the total replacement cost of the project.

12. Be sure the contract includes the appropriate information about how conflicts will be resolved, when and how the contract will be or can be terminated, and that lien releases will be provided upon payment.

13. If you give the contractor a key to your home for use during the construction period, change the locks as soon as construction is completed.

14. Take the necessary steps to protect your property and your possessions. Put away all valuables in a safe place. Define the construction area for everyone – tell your family not to enter the area during working hours; define limits of access to the rest of your home for the work crew. Protect your landscaping by covering shrubs if necessary and taking other steps to reduce accidental damage. Seal off the construction area from the rest of the house to confine dust, etc.

15. If you are remodeling an old home, make sure any work with potentially hazardous materials is done under the safest conditions and that hazardous materials are completely removed from the work site immediately and disposed of as instructed by your local government. Be sure any lead paint is properly removed; be sure any asbestos is removed and disposed of correctly; be sure old horse hair plaster (that could contain arsenic) is disposed of properly.

These tips will help you protect your family, your property and the people working on your remodeling project. Residential home improvement contractors should be very willing to cooperate on all of these points.

Copyright 2008 by ABCD Publishing

Finding the Right Home Improvement Contractor

As your home grows older certain changes and improvements are needed to increase its lifespan. Likewise, if you want to add some more rooms to your existing building layout, you need to make the necessary changes and improvements to your home. There are people who go for home improvements just to enhance the market value of their property. Some want to make their homes more energy efficient and cash in on the incentives provided by the federal and state governments. But who helps you in making all these changes and improvements to your home? Well, it is the home improvement contractor.

General contractors are professionals who have the necessary experience and exposure to making home improvements. These contractors help you in getting the work done according to your time schedule. So, it is extremely important that you identify and select a professional contractor who will not only provide you with a quote but will also tell you how to save on the costs. So, how do I find a good home improvement contractor?

Well, it is not so difficult in this age and time. There are various ways of finding a good home improvement contractor. One of the first things that you can do is to look into the local telephone directory. Look for people who are from your area and fix up a time with them and discuss your plans and ask for a quote.

You can find a lot of good home improvement contractors through the local newspapers also. For this, look into the classifieds. Many contractors display their ads in the local newspapers to attract new customers and generate business. Look up these contractors and discuss with them. You may find the right person to do the job.

Next, you can check up with your friends, relatives, colleagues and others and find out whether they can recommend their home improvement contractor. The good thing about this option is that it will save you a lot of time and money since the contractor is recommended by a person whom you trust and who has also experienced the contractor’s work.

You can also visit the internet and browse through various building and construction websites. You will come across some very good contractors. Likewise, there are many local area classified ads on the internet. As you browse through them, you will be able to find the right home improvement contractor for your home.