Whether you are a first time home buyer and renovating your new home or are a home owner looking to renovate, you will want to first know how to hire the right contractor for renovations.  Finding a qualified contractor is the key to a successful renovation project.  You need to remember that, depending on the project, you will have a contractor in your home for days, weeks or months and you want to ensure you have workers who will know how to work in your home by maintaining a respectful and professional demeanor and who you can trust.   At the same time, you want a professional and cost efficient renovation.  Having your home renovated can be upsetting to your lifestyle and you have to make allowances, but you don’t need other stresses that are not necessary, like disagreements due to unmet expectations, extra expenses or finding out too late your contractor is not that good.

Here are some tips to ensure you hire the right contractor for your renovation:

Get personal references – When you embark on your quest for a contractor, start by getting recommendations from friends and family.  Post you are looking for a recommendation for a qualified contract on Facebook.  Take a drive around the neighbourhood and see if there are any renovations being done for your neighbours, ask them what the experience is like and if they would recommend them; this way you can get an idea of what the contractor is like as the work is actively being done.  They may even let you take a look at the renovations.

Meet face to face – You may first want to make a lot of calls and narrow down your search, but don’t hire a contractor based on a phone conversation.  You will want to meet them face to face.

Ensure you get everything in writing – Get a quote and ensure it includes the bottom line, including the cost of labour, materials and taxes.  A paper trail protects you and your contractor so get all the details about the project — including a start date and an end date.  Have an attorney review it before you and your contractor sign off on it.   A contractor should be diligent but there may unforeseen things that happen as the project gets going, so ensure you put any changes that come up in writing, initial it and print out an updated plan for the both of you.   Also make sure your contractor provides you with all surveys and inspections required by law and keep a copy of the reports.  Ensure you also have a payment schedule in the quote and don’t pay in one lump sum before the work is started.  It is a good rule of thumb to get 3 quotes.

Check out previous clients –  A good contract should have many client references and pictures.  Don’t be shy to call former clients to find how their project went and this may be a good time to find out if there is any advice they can offer.  Don’t just rely on results alone, visit a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works.

Ask questions – Don’t be shy to ask questions, after all they are the ones who are qualified and it is important you get all your questions answered and develop a comfortable relationship with your contractor.  Some questions may involve costs, time frames, what products are recommended and why.  You want to ensure you are not getting the Royals Royce of materials when less expensive materials will do.

Don’t pay before the work is done to your satisfaction –  Don’t pay all the money upfront, you and your contract should agree upon a payment plan to ensure you are satisfied before making the final payment.  Before accepting any offer, give it at least a few days before going ahead with the job or any additional work.

Do a end of day walk through – Let your contractor know you will be doing a end of day walk through before they leave.  Get an update from them on how the work is progressing and if there are any changes to the dates or the renovation.  You will also want to make sure at the end of the day there is proper clean up and the work area is left in a neat and safe condition.

If you are first time home buyer or already own your home and are looking to finance your renovation, contact the mortgage brokers and financial experts at Oakville Mortgage Team about our Renovation Mortgage options.