Whether you’re updating your home or repairing significant damage, good renovations are key. Unfortunately, while some home renovations go off without a hitch, others become costly nightmares for homeowners. So, if your residence is in need of renovations, it stands to reason that you’d want to avoid the latter. Fortunately, this is easier than many homeowners make it look – provided, of course, you make an effort to avoid the following missteps.
Doing Business with Unlicensed Contractors
In many states, contractors are required to have licensing, registration or certification in order to operate legally. Furthermore, it’s important to remember that being licensed, registered or certified in one state doesn’t necessarily mean that a contractor is able to legally operate in others. When shopping around for the right contractor, make sure to limit your options to people who are legally permitted to work as contractors in your state. While working with unlicensed contractors may be tempting – due in no small part to their lower rates – going this route is often more hassle than it’s worth.
For one thing, unlicensed contractors have very little incentive to maintain a degree of professionalism and be honest with customers. While unprofessional behavior on the part of licensed contractors stands to deprive them of their licensed status, unlicensed contractors run no such risk. Additionally, an unlicensed contractor is far less likely to complete a job on schedule or on budget as a licensed one. In fact, if a job becomes too bothersome, they may simply walk away from it, leaving the work unfinished.
So, before committing to hire a contractor, confirm that they possess the proper licensing, registration or certification needed to operate in your state. In addition, make sure that they’re covered under general liability, professional liability, commercial auto, worker’s compensation, inland marine and business owner’s insurance policies. This will help ensure that you don’t get stuck paying for any medical costs contractors incur or property damage they cause while in your employ.
Doing Business with Poorly-Rated Contractors
Not every licensed contractor is equally obliging, with some being considerably easier to work with than others. So, before deciding on a contractor, seek out online feedback from past clients. Although most contractors are liable to have garnered a bad review or two, you should shift your focus to other candidates if someone’s negative reviews massively outnumber their positive ones.
Failing to Secure the Proper Permits
In the absence of the right permits, you may not be able to legally carry out certain renovations. So, before beginning work, make sure to learn which permits this job requires. This is another instance in which hiring a dependable licensed contractor can truly pay off. In addition to being able to identify which permits you’ll need, a good contractor will be able to pull them with relative ease. Pulling permits can be particularly easy for licensed contractors in areas that utilize convenient municipal software.
Not Requesting Estimates or Timetables
Given how expensive home renovations can be, it is imperative that you always request an estimate before giving a contractor the go-ahead to commence work. Even if an estimate isn’t 100% accurate, knowing how much you can expect to spend can help you avoid late-stage sticker shock. Furthermore, in the case of renovations that are covered by insurance, you may be expected to submit contractor estimates before work can get underway.
Additionally, if the renovations in question are going to have a significant impact on your daily routine, you’re well within your right to request timetables from your contractors. However, you should also keep in mind that, like estimates, timetables are projections that are always subject to change. Still, having a general ballpark figure for how long renovations are likely to take can ensure that you’re able to plan accordingly and make the necessary alterations to your usual routine.
Although certain renovations can add value to your home and increase its livability, there’s a lot that can go wrong when large-scale renovations are undertaken. So, if your experience with such renovations is minimal to nonexistent, you’ll need to do your homework before fully committing. By educating yourself on some of the most common mistakes that cause renovations to go south, you can effectively minimize your chances of running into trouble the next time your residence finds itself in need of major work.