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Top 20 Gottchas of Doing a Home Improvement Project

To Home Improvement scamsHome improvement projects whether big or small can either be a homeowners dream come true or a nightmare that never goes away. Check out these top 20 gottachas and you will be on your way to a dream home project.



1. Building Permits. When it comes to building permits some contractors will ask or require you to secure the permit for smaller jobs and some contractors will take care of all the necessary paperwork and fees associated with the permit. So, be sure to ask the contractor who is securing the permit and it is even necessary for your project.
2. Price Differences. As you start to secure bids for your project keep a detail account of what each bidder is offering. If not you will find yourself falling for the cheapest price. I generally believe the cheapest is never the best. Remember, the price is based on quality of labor, quality of product, a company’s experience and reliability, and their overhead.
3. Negotiate. Sometimes this is a necessary evil. But, don’t be afraid to as for more services or a better price… they can only tell you No. And the last time I checked No doesn’t cause any bumps or bruises.
4. Decisions. Be prepared to make decisions. In order for most contractors to really help, you need to be able to make decisions about colors, styles, quality, and some will ask you for your business.
5. Mistakes. Mistakes are apart of any home improvement project. Be prepared to deal with mistakes and keep an open mind to keep your project moving smoothly. If they continue, consider whether you and your contractor are mis-communicating or if the contractor is not paying attention to detail.
6. High Expectations. Remember you are probably be talking to a salesperson about your project and you must be realistic about their goals and confidence about your project. A little disappointment can be drastic if your expectations are too high and your contractor is not managing your expectations properly.
7. Be Open Minded. You must be open minded, because usually you will judge that contractor by your last experience with a contractor. If you had a bad experience, you maybe more skeptical of the next one. If you had a great last experience stay on your toes with the next one.
8. In Writing. Everything must be in writing. Don’t take someone’s word. Legally what’s in writing is what counts.
9. Price Changes. Ask the contractor for their policy on price changes. You don’t want surprises nor do you deserve them. If you or your contractor changes something, it should be in writing and you should associate a price change or not with that change.
10. Delays. Delays can occur because of the weather, change orders, improper planning or may other occurrences. Be sure your contractor is concentrating on your job and not juggling several. Again, be open minded to explainable delays.
11. Insurance. Be prepare to the possibility of having to increase your homeowners insurance. Depending on the size of your project you may need to increase your insurance or a least get a homeowner’s insurance review.
12. Communication. Just like any relationship, communications is key. Keep the lines of communication open!
13. Problems. Ask your contractor how they deal with problems that come up on the job. Is he personally responsible or does he have someone else in charge.
14. Organizational skills. Not everyone is as organized or schedule oriented as you may be, so keep that in mind. You should get a sense of that on your first meeting.
15. Licensed and Insured. Please make sure your contractor is properly licensed and insured. Your homeowners insurance in most cases doesn’t cover you when a contractor is involved and you have a written agreement for the project. Accidents, injuries, and damage will fall back on you personally. Needless to say that can be devastating.
16. Your Expectations. Make sure the contractor is Clear on your expectations. Express what your expectations of the project are and make sure they feel they can meet those expectations.
17. Pre-Payment. Don’t prepay for a job. A small deposit maybe required or necessary in some cases, but don’t prepay.
18. Subcontractors. Be prepared to work with subs. Depending on the type and size of the project may require subcontractors to assist on certain parts of your project. Make sure you have a clear understanding if your contractor will involve subs.
19. References. Ask for reference and be sure to check them. Depending on your project, you may want to go look at some of their work.
20. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!