Hiring A Contractor – 10 Mistakes To Avoid

A very smart attorney I know paid $7,000 for a roof repair, only to have the roof leak the next time it rained. The contractor stalled, made excuses, but never did a thing about it. Anyone can have these kinds of problems when having repairs or improvements done, but to make it less likely, avoid the folowing mistakes when hiring a contractor.

1. Not knowing what you want. If you don’t know what you want, you might not like what you get. Also, if you change your mind and change the job halfway through, the contract – and price – have changed (Hint: it won’t get cheaper). Know clearly what you want done.

2. Not getting everything in writing. You don’t want to hear, “I didn’t say I was going to include the gutters.”

3. Not having dates in the contract. Did you want it finished this year? You better have it in the contract.

4. Paying too much up front. A deposit may be a reasonable request when the contract is signed, and money for materials prior to the start date. Never pay in full before the job is finished.

5. Hiring unlicensed contractors. Actually, this can be okay, if you know what you are doing (and he does). The license doesn’t mean you get expertise, but it does mean you get leverage. A contractor will right his wrongs to avoid losing that license.

6. Hiring the first one in the phone book. Ask friends who had work done, or the owner of a hardware store. Find a recommendation based on a similar job to yours.

7. Thinking there will be no problems. Weather delays, employees quitting, and more will happen. Having problems is okay, but it’s not okay if the contractor can’t work out the issues to your satisfaction.

8. Expecting neatness. Believe it or not, it is sometimes efficient to leave things laying where they’ll next be used. There will be messes, so prepare accordingly. Cover things if it will be a dusty job, for example. Also be clear in the contract that the jobsite will be cleaned up at the end of the job.

9. Not having penalties in the contract. This is important on large jobs. It’s one thing to say “Work to be completed by May 2nd,” but better to add, “$100 per day to be deducted from the contract price for each day the job is unfinished beyond May 2nd.” That’s what I call a motivational clause.

10. Thinking contracts will prevent problems. They help, but unreasonable people on either side of a contract can ignore them, or use “literal readings” to make things even worse. Find someone you can work with, and keep your eyes open.

Thanks to Contractor Match for spending the time to write this article and enlighten homeowners on how to seek out a contractor and find the right one.

Preventing Fire Damage Outdoors

As you inspect your home, trying to fire proof it, you must keep in mind that your outdoors area is also a part of your home. Do not forget to inspect your patio, back yard, roof and garden when trying to minimize fire hazards as these places are as important as the indoors sections of your home.

Wood Stored in the Backyard

Storing wood in your backyard requires that you follow the basic fire prevention rules to minimize the chance that wood will catch fire that may lead to a larger scale disaster. If you make sure to maintain your wood safely, you can reduce the occurrence, size, and intensity of a fire. As a first line of defense, create a 30 feet safety clearance around stored wood. A green lawn is a good safety parameter, as long as clean of fire catching debris.

Plant Safe

As there are some plants that ate more fire resistant than others, it is smart to plant these plants in the safety zone. Even with this kind of plants you must remove dry leaves, dead limbs, twigs and debris to prevent them from fueling a small fire into a more intense fire. Thin out trees and keep a fifteen feet space between crowns. This will help reducing the chance of fire spreading. If you own high trees or cannot perform this job yourself, hire a professional to do that for you. In addition, remove limbs and dead branches from 6 to 10 feet of the ground to prevent fire from spreading from the ground to the trees.

Roofing

In the past, roofs were built of hazardous, flammable materials and many home losses were a direct result of the roof catching fire. Nowadays, there are new trends that promote fire safety. Consider using non-combustible roofing materials. When building or replacing the roof. Non-combustible materials include class A shingles, metal, or terra cotta. If you don’t have plans to rebuild your roof any time soon, you can still treat it with fire retardant processes and reduce roof flammability.

Barbeque Grills

Barbeque frills require maintenance. Clean your grill and keep it free of dirt and debris build ups. You will find it easier to clean the grill after every use and remove dust and cobwebs before they build up. Check your hose and confirm it is in good condition and cracks free. Never use damaged propane tanks.

For more information, check out https://www.ready.gov/home-fires

How to Hire the Right Building Contractor for Your Home Remodeling Project

Finding and hiring the right home remodeling contractor for your home remodeling project can be daunting and confusing. You can easily search the web or look in the yellow pages and find many home remodeling contractors listed in your area but the question remains – which one do you hire for your  project. Which one will perform quality work, charge a fair price and get the job done on time.

To reduce the risk of hiring the wrong home remodeling contractor you should first do a little preparation yourself for the home remodeling project. Sketch out and write down what you want remodeled. Provide a copy of this information to each prospective home remodeling contractor as this will help to minimize misunderstandings of requirements.

If you are adding a home addition, use stakes and string or even spray paint and mark the area on the existing lawn/ground.

Next talk to your local building inspector to understand what permits and building requirements are necessary for your home remodeling project.

Visit home improvement centers such as Lowes and Home Depot, and look at materials expected to be used on your project (e.g. lumber, doors, windows, appliances, countertops, roofing material, etc.). Make note of their costs so you will be able to compare material costs proposed by prospective contractors. While visting home improvement centers also talk with some of the employees about costs and lead times for particular products of interest. For example, there are many types of doors and windows and frequently there can be significant lead times for deliveries.

When you start calling prospective contracts ask for references and previous work that you can visit.

Finally, make sure you get multiple quotes and make sure that they are in writing. Also ask how long your quote is valid for.

For further help in finding the absolute best, most qualified interior or exterior home remodeling contractor for your next home remodeling project visit www.northjerseyhomerenovations.com to get quotes from contractors in New Jersey.