How to Choose a Contractor for a Remodeling Project

Remodeling your kitchen, bathroom or basement can greatly enhance your enjoyment of your home — as well as its value. If you’re an avid DIY-er with serious skills and sufficient time, this might be a project you can take on yourself. If not, you’ll need to hire a contractor to make your vision come to life. But how do you go about finding the right contractor for the job?

Costs of Remodeling

Before looking for a contractor, it’s wise to remind yourself of the costs involved in remodeling. According to HomeAdvisor, the national average for remodeling multiple rooms is $40,285. The actual cost depends on the area you live in, the specifics of your home and the extent of the project. Take a look at some average costs for commonly remodeled rooms:

  • Basement: $18,711
  • Kitchen: $20,474
  • Bathroom: $6,000 – $14,000

How to Select a Qualified Contractor

Clearly, when you’re talking about amounts this large, it’s important that you work within your budget — especially if you’ve taken out a loan to finance your remodel project. Hiring a qualified contractor is the best way to approach this. Here’s how to find one:

  • Ask your real estate agent or a neighbor for referrals. This is often the best way to get the names of trustworthy contractors with a good track record. Find out what kind of projects the contractors have done and how satisfied the homeowners were with the overall process, as well as the result.
  • Look for contractors on Angie’s List, the Yellow Pages or Yelp. Make sure to read the reviews, since this will give you a good idea of each contractor’s quality and capabilities.
  • Make a list of three to five contractors. For each one, visit their websites to check their qualifications and the types of projects they do. Then call each one to discuss your project and their availability. It’s also advisable to ask to see examples of their work. You should also ask for references and follow up with them.
  • Shortlist three contractors and ask them to bid on the project. This should involve an on-site meeting — at your property — and a review of your remodeling blueprints or plans. Ask the contractors to price out their quotes so you can compare the costs of labor and materials.
  • Compare the contractors and make a final selection. Look at the whole picture again, including the quality of work, experience, references and quotes.
  • Get it in writing. Don’t rely on a verbal contract — a trustworthy contractor will offer you a contract that details the scope of the work. It should also contain a warranty on the completed work, which gives you recourse in the event the work falls short of your agreement. In addition, ask to see proof of insurance. This will protect you, your family and your property in case the work performed by the contractor causes bodily harm or property damage. And remember: If you have any questions or concerns about the contract, it’s best to get some independent legal advice so you’re fully informed before you sign.

Conclusion

When it comes to remodeling your home, it’s essential to find a contractor who possesses the qualifications and experience to get it right. Because when done well, a remodel is an investment in both the value of your property and your enjoyment of your home.

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