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P&K How To: How to Vet a Building Contractor

When you have the opportunity to build or remodel your home, it’s important to choose a contractor who will do a thorough job and treat your home as he would treat his own. Finding that contractor can seem overwhelming, but following these steps can ensure that your dream home becomes a reality.

1. Ask for recommendations from people you trust. Does your best friend’s house have beautiful architectural features? Does your aunt’s house stand out from the rest? Ask for contact information for the contractors they used.

2. Try a quick internet search. You can read reviews others in your area have written, and on websites like Thumbtack and HomeAdvisor, you can even get a quote for your project. For a complete list of contractors near you, visit the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s website.

3. Make a list of your top choices. Based on whether your priority is cost, timeliness, positive reviews, or something else, it should be easy to narrow down your options to about five contractors. Gather their contact information for the next step.

4. Conduct phone interviews. This can be an easy way to gauge your initial feeling about a builder and address any concerns you may have. It can also help you narrow down your list by getting more details about what each builder is and is not willing to do and what he charges for services. Other questions you may want to ask in this stage are how long a project like yours should take, how many other projects the builder takes on at once, how he chooses subcontractors, and if he is willing to provide professional references and proof of insurance.

5. Meet face to face. In this phase, you can continue the interview process and get estimates. Ask if the contractor can show you some of his work in person to ensure that you will be happy with the final product.

6. Sign a contract and agree on a start date. If you’re ready to move forward, be sure that everything you have agreed on is put in writing and signed by both parties.

A few simple steps can save you lots of time and headache. This process can help you bring the vision of the home in your mind into fruition and create the perfect space for your family to grow in.

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