Hiring and managing contractors is a stressful part of doing home renovations. Below are some helpful tips to make the process easier:
1. Hire contractors by referral. Professionals in the real estate industry such as Home Inspectors, Appraisers, and Realtors can be helpful. Friends, relatives, and co-workers can be a secondary source of referrals.
2. Don’t choose contractor based on the cheapest price. This could indicate they use cheap materials, they are desperate, or that they are missing items in their quote, which will come to the surface once the work starts.
3. Ensure progress payments are fair and the contractor isn’t getting too far ahead, especially if you’re supply materials. When dealing with General Contractors ensure the title of the property is clear before making final payment. In Ontario subcontractors have 45 days to place a lien on a property, and the construction lien act requires home owners to withhold 10 percent. It’s important to become familiar with your local regulations.
4. Write out a detailed scope of work to provide contractors for estimates and to insert into contracts. Be very clear on what materials you will supply and what materials you expect contractors to supply. This also helps to ensure that the quotes received are comparable.
5. Ask for proof that contractors have adequate licensing and insurance for the work being performed. Some municipalities have additional licensing or registration requirements.
6. Check references of both previous clients and subcontractors to ensure the general contractor pays them on time. Reading online reviews can also be helpful.
7. Get the right contractor for the right job. A contractor that is good installing kitchen cabinets may not that be good for finishing basements or building additions.
8. Contracts should have a time frame associated with them. Negotiate a penalty if the work doesn’t get done on time. You can also incentivise the contractor to finish work early. This is especially recommended for investment properties, as a lengthy renovation can result in lost rental income.