Hiring a home remodeling contractor for your home improvement projects can seem like an overwhelming and stressful task. However, when done correctly and with enough forethought, it can actually be one of the most rewarding decisions you can make for your home. Choosing a remodeler is similar to picking a doctor. It might not be your heart but having someone cut your throat open and reconstructing your entire house is certainly not unlike getting major surgery. Whether you’re planning to remain in your current home for years to come, or you’re remodeling as part of a quick sale, you need to ensure that your remodeler is well qualified to handle the job.
In order to find the top contenders in the home remodeling contractor market, ask your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors for referrals. Then, contact these individuals to make sure that their recommendations are not biased. By finding at least three or four potential contractors, you can then set up face-to-face interviews with each of them, in order to determine if they will fit within your desired budget and level of complexity of the project.
Once you’ve met with potential contractors, make sure you have them scheduled for a free consultation. During this consult, have each of them draw up a rendering of the home remodeling project that you would like to have done. Have them provide you with a price estimate, as well as a timeline outlining when they anticipate completing the work. Be sure to ask each contractor for references, and make sure you check them out personally. You never know how much of a personality flaw there may be in a contractor’s manner, until you sit down and speak with him or her personally.
Another area to keep an eye out for is the contractor’s licensing status. Not all states require licensing, which can make it extremely difficult for the average homeowner to hire a licensed contractor for a renovation project. A quick background check of the state that the contractor resides in, as well as the contractor’s board of directors, will give you an accurate indication as to whether or not a license is required. If it is, the board of directors will need to be contacted to ensure that the license was legitimately attained. If the contractor fails to obtain a valid license, it may be immediately suspended and any further work ordered by the board may result in significant fines. Make sure that you keep in mind the possibility that the license may be suspended while the legal dispute between the homeowner and contractor goes through the legal system.
While most states require a home remodeling contractor to be licensed, some do not. If a contractor is not licensed to perform certain tasks within a state, he or she may not have the tools and training to complete the job properly, and could potentially end up being held legally liable for injuries or damages that occur during or following the remodel. Keep in mind that many remodelers do not use quality products and techniques when doing work inside the home, which can also lead to injuries. For this reason, it is important that a contractor be licensed or otherwise authorized to use quality products and techniques before beginning any work on any home remodeling project.
It is important that you stay informed about contractors and their licensing status at all times. You never know when changes are going to be made to licensing laws. The Internet is a great source for any current information regarding licensing and certification. If you live in North Carolina, contact the Board of License Counselors for information on how to obtain a copy of your contractor’s licenses. North Carolina residents wishing to remodel their homes should ensure that they are licensed prior to beginning any project.