Finding a contractor for home additions can be a daunting task. If you’re going to be investing thousands of dollars into your home, you want to find a reputable home addition contractor. Depending on your location, home addition builders can be a dime a dozen, so it’s important to find one that won’t scam you. According to the FTC Consumer Sentinel Data – Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker Americans lose nearly $13 million each year to home improvement scams. Home improvements are usually necessary for being a homeowner, so this article will take steps to ensure that you are not part of that $13 million that is lost yearly to scams.
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Why is it Important to Choose the Right Home Addition Contractor?
The right home addition contractor can make your home addition dreams come true (within reason) with a variety of home addition services, including quality designs and professional construction. The wrong home addition contractor, however, could make your life a living nightmare by evading calls, producing shoddy work, and even possibly running off with your money. Home additions can often take a few months of construction and interaction with your contractor, so it’s important that you choose a credible one that will do what they say they’re going to do.
Expert Tips for Choosing a Contractor for Your Home Addition
Home additions are done every day in this country, and some of these projects go well, and others do not. Knowing what to look for when choosing a contractor for your home addition is vital for a smooth sailing project and overall satisfaction of your home addition. Keep reading to find expert tips for choosing a contractor for your home addition.
1. Find a Contractor
This one seems easy enough, right? Just look up contractors on the Internet. If it were as easy as that, then this article would not be needed. The first tip that you need to know is that there are different types of contractors. There are home addition contractors and remodeling contractors, and even some specially-qualified contractors can do both. Consider whether you want home addition services, remodeling services, or maybe even a little of both. Then, you can find several contractors on the Internet or start asking other people in your community.
2. Use Local Contractors
By asking your neighbors and community members for recommendations for contractors, you’ll most likely be directed to local contractors. It’s a good idea to use local contractors who are established in the area because they most likely have proven track records of quality work and clearly care about their reputation in the area. Quite often, local contractors can have close ties to your community as family members or friends, and this usually increases their credibility and drive to uphold a credible reputation. Try to find a local contractor who is big enough to get the job done but small enough to care.
3. Look for Liability Insurance
Once you find a few contractors, you’ll want to start studying up on them. Remember that you’re the consumer, so shop around by researching several contractors for your home addition. It’s important that your contractor has insurance, such as general liability insurance, which covers property damage and bodily injury, should any of that occur during the construction of your home addition. Many reputable contractors also have other types of insurance, such as professional liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.
Home additions are investments that you want to increase your living space as well as home value. Reputable home addition and remodeling companies will be fully licensed. You can simply ask the contractor for their licenses, and a credible one will be able to explain which ones they have. You’ll want to verify professional licenses, which can usually be done by checking with your state’s labor office online or calling them.
5. Home Improvement References and Portfolio
Home improvement projects generally consist of two major components to make a homeowner happy: the outcome of the addition and how the contractor conducted themselves. Ask the contractors for their portfolios, and the pictures will usually speak for themselves. An experienced contractor will have an impressive portfolio prepared to show off their quality project. Also, ask for references so that former satisfied customers can speak for themselves as well. If a contractor is new, they may not have a portfolio, but surely they will have some sort of reference that can speak to their work ethic and ability to handle projects.
6. Check the BBB for Home Renovation and Home Remodeling Companies
Home renovation and home remodeling companies with poor reputations can’t run from the Internet. Check your contractors on the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) website by typing their names into the search box. You can find information such as customer reviews, complaints, and accreditations. It’s not mandatory that all businesses are accredited with the BBB, but if a company has taken the time and effort to do, it’s usually a good sign. You can even use the scam tracker feature on the website to see if the contractors you have been researching have been involved with or accused of any scams.
7. Get Estimates and Home Addition Ideas
Once you’ve done your thorough research on several contractors, schedule a time for them to come out to your home and give an estimate. Many contractors offer complimentary estimates and, during the estimate will give you home addition ideas that could suit your home or budget. Remember during estimates that you have not signed any contracts, so you are under no obligation to hand over any money. You can take your time and shop for as many contractors as possible. If a contractor offers a complimentary estimate, enjoy that service and use it to your advantage to find the best contractor.
8. Less isn’t Always More for Home Addition Costs
Once you have the estimates, be aware that less isn’t always more. Don’t go with the lowest estimate just because it’s the cheapest. Sometimes going with the cheapest estimate will end up costing you more in the long run if errors or damages occur. The current cost of labor and materials will greatly impact the total cost of the home addition project. If home addition cost is a concern for you, there’s no need to worry. You can always ask the contractor about a payment schedule that breaks up the total cost into smaller bills. This is usually done anyway for home addition projects with smaller payments, such as down payments and final payments, so homeowners don’t have to pay for the entire project all at once.
9. Choose a Contractor
Once you choose a contractor, it’s time to continue the process of hiring a contractor. The next step is to sign a contract, which is a legally-binding agreement. As such, expect your contract to be incredibly detailed. It will not be a one-page document; if it is, it’s missing details. Information that should be included in the contract is the contractor’s information, including name, contact information, licensing, and insurance information.
Other details should be the timeline of the project, payment details, permits that need to be pulled, as well as a termination clause that protects both parties involved. Only sign the contract when you are sure that it entails everything that should be addressed prior to beginning the project.
10. Home Improvement Receipts
It may seem like once the contract is signed, the home improvement project is completely in the hands of the contractor. This is partially true, but if the contractor doesn’t pay their subcontractors or another party which is involved in the project, a lien can be placed on your house. To prevent this, you need to keep the receipts (or copies of them) for all materials. You’ll also want to request lien releases from all the subcontractors and the general contractor prior to making more payments. In the same vein, don’t make the final payment until the job is complete. The final payment is usually an indicator that the job has been finished, so there is no reason for a contractor to do more work if they have received all of their money.
No homeowner goes into a home addition project thinking that they’re going to be scammed; yet for some homeowners, that’s exactly what ends up happening, and it is accompanied by months of headaches and thousands of dollars lost. Home additions still need to be done, so make sure to research reputable home addition contractors because they do exist. One green flag of a reputable home contractor is one that offers complimentary estimates. Also, seeing that a company has won awards over the years is a great sign. One such company is KBR Home Addition, and you can learn more about details by contacting them via a phone call or a message. Also, you can schedule a complimentary home addition estimate today!