How to choose the right renovation contractor.

To continue the "renovation" theme we've been on for the past few weeks, we might as well talk about how to choose the right renovation contractor.

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,
liability 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 client 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.

I hope that helps...

Your trusted mortgage advisor,

Jeff Kerwin


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