If you have collected photos of your dream home or house remodel, drafted a general budget, and talked with friends about how you wish your home was more comfortable or modern, you may be ready to hire a professional builder or remodeler to get the job done right. Below are some helpful tips to guide you in finding the best professional for your project.
Do your homework when hiring an industry professional. A professional has the training, experience, and references from satisfied clients to demonstrate their remodeling expertise.
Check out these steps for hiring a professional builder or remodeler:
Collect names of builders and/or remodeling companies.
Start by searching BRAGB's Directory of Professionals. You’ll get a list of nearby BRAGB members to contact. Asking friends and neighbors for names of qualified company names may also help you find a match for your project.
Discuss your project with a couple of builders/remodelers.
Call a few companies from your list to discuss your project. Describe what you envision for the new home or remodel, styles you like, your estimated budget, and other ideas for the work. Ask them if they can provide background information on their expertise. They may have a website or brochure they can share that describes their experience and accomplishments.
Check the builder/remodeler's license status
In Massachusetts, a Construction Supervisors License (CSL) is required by building departments before they will issue a permit. A person holding a license is required to be on the job. You can verify proper licensure on the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety and Inspections website: https://madpl.mylicense.com/Verification/.
Ask if the builder or remodeler has general liability insurance and other important questions.
Be sure to ask some important questions about the business that will help ensure you hire the best professional. Do they have general liability insurance in case of an accident on the job? Do they guarantee their work? How do they handle any problems that may arise on the project? Having these answers in advance will prevent future problems and nail down the best professional for the job.
Check the references and background.
After you start speaking with builders/remodelers and find one or two who match your project’s needs, be sure to conduct some background research by checking with the Better Business Bureau, talking to their references, and asking if they are a member of a trade association (such as BRAGB). Companies with these qualities tend to be more reliable, better educated, and more likely to stay on top of construction and design trends.
Check the contractor's arbitration and guaranty fund history.
The Office of Consumer Affairs runs an arbitration program to resolve disputes between registered contractors and homeowners and administers a Guaranty Fund for homeowners with unpaid judgments against registered contractors. Use this search to find out if the contractor has lost any arbitration cases since 1997 or has had any Guaranty Fund claims filed against his or her registration since 1993. For more information: http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer-rights-and-resources/home-improvement-contract/check-a-contractor.html
Don’t necessarily simply choose the lowest bidder.
Many people may be lured by the lowest price to their home building or remodeling project, thinking that they have found a great deal. But beware of these alluring low prices. These bids may be more costly in the end if the contractor is cutting corners, not taking into account certain costs, or is inexperienced. Professional companies have stories about coming into homes to fix remodels from unscrupulous contractors who did shoddy work or failed to complete the job. Often times, the lowest price may not ultimately provide the best value for your new home or remodel.
Make the smartest investment in your home by hiring a professional. They’ll help you stay on budget, solve challenges, and provide a higher-quality service.