I am currently renovating a home I bought in November. The house needs a great deal of work as it had sat vacant for several years. In the midst of this renovation, I have learned and re-learned some lessons about working with contractors that I share below:
GET BIDS FROM SEVERAL CONTRACTORS--- Whether you are looking to do renovations on your personal home or on a real estate investment property, get bids from several contractors. Print out a list of what you want done, and give a copy to all contractors bidding on the work. If you want them to bid on labor and materials, say so in your list of what you want done. I discovering in this recent renovation that there were thousands of dollars difference in the bids. Whether you are a homeowner or a real estate investor, everyone likes to save money.
ASK FOR REFERENCES FROM THE CONTRACTORS- Don’t be afraid to ask the contractors bidding on your renovation work for references. When I speak to the references, I always ask for the address of the property where they did the work in case I want to go by and see the work myself. I always ask when the work was done to get some idea whether they have recent experience with the contractor. These specific questions of the references also helps insure that they really were a client of the contractor and not just their good friend.
HAVE THE CONTRACTORS COME AT THE SAME TIME TO THE SUBJECT PROPERTY- In most recent experience with a renovation, I had all the contractors interested in the job come in a 2 hour window of time. That helped save me time from having to meet four different contractors at different times. It also created a spirit of competition between the contractors when it came time to return the bids on the renovation.
TALK ABOUT MONEY- Don’t be afraid to ask questions about money. Will the contractor need money before the renovation or during the renovation? Will the contractor only seek to be paid at the end of the work? When they give me their bid, I ask them is that their best price. I have asked hundreds of dollars in renovation expenses by simply asking them that question.
These are a few tips I have learned and re-learned about working with contractors on renovation. Good luck in your work.- Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties