By Family Features
When planning a potential home remodeling project, the list of decisions to make may feel nearly endless. Ultimately, you may find the most important decision is choosing a trustworthy team of professionals to complete the job.
For example, an organization like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry provides homeowners with helpful ways to find qualified, professional remodelers and contractors. These seven tips can help guide you through the selection process and assist you in making an informed decision that best suits your needs.
1 LOOK LOCAL
Local remodelers have a vested interest to perform quality work that satisfies their customers in order for their business to survive. That’s why word-of-mouth referrals can be especially helpful in finding options near you. Ask relatives, friends, neighbors and business colleagues who live nearby about projects they’ve completed and the professionals they’ve used. Other resources may include people you know in the local home industry, such as lenders, real estate agents and material suppliers.
2 FOLLOW BUILDING CODES
Another advantage to hiring a local professional is he or she typically knows and understands the local building codes and permit requirements for your town or city. Building codes can vary considerably from each jurisdiction and are known to change from year to year. Most structural work or footprint expansions require permits.
3 CHECK FOR LICENSES AND INSURANCE
Many states, but not all, require contractors to be licensed, bonded and insured. Contact your state or local licensing agencies to ensure the contractor you’re considering meets all requirements. Most states require a contractor to carry worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability insurance. Ask for copies of their licenses and insurance to make sure it is current.
4 CHECK FOR VIOLATIONS AND COMPLAINTS
Check with your Consumer Affairs Office and your local chapter of the Better Business Bureau to ensure there are no complaints on record for the contractors you’re considering. You can also search for reviews online and verify they are members of reputable trade organizations that promote professional excellence, such as NARI.
5 COMPARE APPLES TO APPLES
If you solicit estimates from more than one contractor, be sure they are working off the same scope and quality of work. Discuss variations in prices and beware of any estimate that is substantially lower than the others.
6 BE INFORMED
A good remodeling professional educates clients on green remodeling, universal design, lead safety, new products, building techniques and trends. Make sure you’re hiring someone who has knowledge and expertise relevant to the remodeling industry, as well as the appropriate certifications and experience to complete the job.
7 CHECK REFERENCES
Don’t rely on a contractor’s personality or demeanor. If a professional does not offer references, ask for them and follow up with a site visit or phone call.