10 Important Questions to Ask Your Contractor
November 9, 2022
by: Robb Flannery
10 Important Questions to Ask Your Contractor
Are you thinking about hiring a contractor before selling real estate? Here are ten important questions you should ask the contractor before signing a contract.
If you are considering selling real estate, you will have to start fixing it up so that potential homebuyers looking at buying real estate are interested. In many cases, it means making a few renovations or repairs.
While DIY culture is strong, if you are willing to invest in a project and hire a contractor, you will see a much better ROI when you get to the negotiation table. Most homebuyers don't want to hear about how you were able to YouTube a repair, but they will get interested when they realize a renovation was completed and is under warranty with a professional contractor.
Of course, knowing you need a contractor and knowing which contractor to pick are two separate things, worried about choosing the right contractor for your next repair? Here are ten questions you should ask any candidate to ensure the results are exactly what you want.
Do You Need A Contractor?
The first thing you need to ask before starting a project is whether or not you need to hire a contractor. DIY tasks are best left for small-scale issues like replacing the hardware on kitchen cabinets. Refreshing your cabinets, replacing flooring, and changing countertops are tasks best left to a contractor. If you are thinking about a repair or renovation that will take longer than an hour or two, it is time to call in a contractor.
Figure Out Where to Look for a Contractor
Now that you know you need a contractor, it is time to actually start looking for one. Word of mouth is always a great way to find a contractor because the friend, family member, or colleague offering you advice can also vouch for the contractor they recommend. Local real estate agents that work with clients buying real estate or selling real estate can also be a great source of information.
Inquire About Their Licenses
Before signing any contracts or letting a contractor break ground on a new project in your home, it is important to make sure you check their license. Licensing requirements vary widely, but almost every state or province has its own set of requirements, and if your contractor is legally compliant, you can rest assured they are dedicated and properly trained.
Find Out What Experience They Have
The experience of a contractor plays a large role in the type and quality of work they can provide. A company with a host of experience with the project you require help with will always be the best choice. Most contractors have specializations, such as kitchen remodels or basement remodels. Choose a contractor that aligns with your goals.
Contracting Teams Versus Subcontractors
You don't want to go through the extensive process of finding a trustworthy contractor only to find out that they are subcontracting the actual project out to another team. While sometimes an extra professional like an architect or engineer to consult, it is usually best to choose a contractor with a trained team on standby for the job.
Get a Time Estimate
The construction world is currently experiencing an unprecedented shortage of labor that has been compounded by supply shortages following the pandemic. Time is a very important factor when it comes to choosing a contractor. If the best contractor in your region can't reasonably schedule you this year, then it may be time to move to the next name on the list. When selling real estate, you don't always have a year to wait.
Ask for Previous Work or References
One of the perks of working with contractors is that they should have proof of their previous projects. Ask to see their portfolio or photos to get a good idea of the results they are capable of delivering. You can even ask for references which any credible contractor can provide.
Are They Insured?
As a homeowner, you must protect yourself when contractors and their teams come into your home. Business liability insurance protects you against medical or property damage from negligent repair.
Find Out if You Need Permits
Some repairs and renovations require building permits. Most contracting firms should know whether or not you will need to obtain a permit and will offer to obtain the permit on your behalf. Keep in mind that work that is done without the appropriate permit will not improve your property value.
Read the Contract And Then Read It Again
Finally, before signing your contract, make sure it is clear, and you understand the fine print. Look at details such as insurance, time estimates, financial estimates, permits, and the proposed payment schedule. Don't sign anything until all your questions have been answered and you are confident about moving forward.