We've all heard renovation horror stories. The best way to avoid them is to choose the right contractor. Here's a handy checklist:
- Decide what kind of contractor you need. A general contractor manages the project, hires the tradespeople and takes care of the permits. If it's a smaller job, choose a specialized contractor who handles specific projects (like bathrooms or windows) and does the work himself.
- Interview and get quotes from at least three. Ask about experience, talk to past clients and visit past projects. Make sure each contractor has a license, libaility insurance, workers' compensation insurance and a clean Better Business Bureau record. Then ask for a detailed plan, including timeframe and cost.
- Get everything in writing. Include a list of materials and brands, labor to be performed (is site cleanup included?), warranty, permit obligations, and how clietns changes will be handled
- Agree on a payment plan. Include down payment amount (anything under 15% is reasonable). Work out a payment schedule and make sure payments sync with the work that's been done (don't pay half until it's halfway complete).
- Schedule a final walk-through. Check off every detail. Make a list of things that still need to be done before making the final payment.