Tips on Homes

Friday, October 28, 2016

Remodel


 Before You Start That Remodel
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Get Recommendations
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Start with your friends and family and then check in with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area. You can also talk with a local building inspector, who'll know which contractors routinely meet code requirements, or take a trip to your local lumberyard, which sees contractors regularly and knows which ones buy quality materials and pay their bills on time. 

Phone Interviews
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Once you've assembled a list, make a quick call to each of your prospects and ask them the following questions:
• Do they take on projects of your size?
• Are they willing to provide financial references, from suppliers or banks?
• Can they give you a list of previous clients?
• How many other projects would they have going at the same time?
• How long have they worked with their subcontractors
         Most Important: Are they Currently Licensed and Bonded

Meet With the Contractor - Face to Face 
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Based on your phone interviews, pick three or four contractors to meet for estimates and further discussion. A contractor should be able to answer your questions satisfactorily and in a manner that puts you at ease. It's crucial that you communicate well because this person will be in your home for hours and days at a time. Don't let personality fool you, and keep in mind that the individual that's coming to your home wants the job! Just because he drives up in a new truck or Mercedes, doesn't mean he will be the best one. Check with your local Better Business Bureau to make sure that you are choosing one that doesn't have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors. You can also check online to make sure they are currently licensed and bonded.

Investigate
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You now have it down to the top four contractors. Now that you've narrowed your list, call up a few of their former clients to find how their project went and ask to see the finished product. But don't just rely on that phone call. Even more important, visit a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Is the job site neat and safe? Are workers courteous and careful with the homeowner's property? If gates are used, are they locked? 

Blueprints and Bids
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Any conscientious general contractor will want not only a complete set of blueprints, but also a true sense of what the homeowner wants out of a project and what they plan to spend. When you are  comparing bids, ask the contractors to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and other expenses.  
If they choose and pick what to show you - RUN!


Payment Schedules - Very Important!
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Payment schedules are a must on any project, and can give you an idea of the contractor's financial status and work ethic. In California the law states that the contractor can only receive 10% to start the project. If they want more, they may have financial problems. For large projects, a schedule usually starts with 10 % at contract signing, three payments of 25 percent evenly spaced over the duration of the project and a check for the final 15 percent when you feel every item on the punch list has been complete. Even if the project is not that large, be careful how much you give up front.
You will also need to know who will be in charge if the Contractor is not there. Some contractors will be there for the start - and slowly slide away to start other jobs.

Can We Afford That?

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This could be the downfall of your project, and could become an open ATM to some. After you have signed the contract and the project has been started, you decide you want more cabinets in the kitchen. To save yourself possibly hundreds of dollars or maybe more, make sure you go over this with the contractor and then have the contractor write and date the change order up including materials, labor and the time it will add to the project. DO NOT do this over the phone, or have a subcontractor OK the change. Make sure the change order has the Contractors company name, signature and License Number on the order.

Don't Let Price Be Your Guide 
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The low-ball bid, is not always the best bid. This contractor is probably cutting corners or worse, desperate for work which is not in your best interest. The single most important factor in choosing a contractor is how well you and he communicate. All things being equal, it's better to spend more and get someone you're comfortable with. Remember this individual will be your New roommate for the next few weeks or months.

If It's Not In Writing-Pass!
homes for sale and lease-760-547-5773The Contract needs to be very specific detailing each and every step of the project to include: Payment schedule - Proof of liability insurance and worker's compensation - Start date and projected completion date - Specific materials and products to be used, and also require that the contractor obtain lien releases (which protect you if he doesn't pay his bills) from ALL subcontractors and suppliers. 
Finally, remember that as soon as a change is made or a problem uncovered, the price just increased and the project just got longer. The four most expensive words in the English language? "While you're at it....
Federico Filippi/Webmaster

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Oceanside, CA.
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