November 1st, 2010
How to Secure the Best Estimate for Home Repairs
- Whether you want to build a swimming pool, remodel the kitchen, or replace a leaky roof, getting the right estimate from a reputable company can make all the difference in not only the quality of your home renovation, but in your return on investment as well.
“In today’s difficult economic times, many Philadelphia area contractors are happy to offer a discount,” says Larry Flick, CEO of Prudential Fox & Roach. “But the lowest bid is not necessarily the best bid. Homeowners must be aware of the right questions to ask to make sure they are truly getting a good deal.”
General contractors recommend the following 10 tips when securing bids for home remodels and renovations:
- Be clear on the extent of your work. Each contractor you talk to should receive the same ground rules and expectations. Changing your mind somewhere along the way could have a big impact on final pricing.
- Check the Better Business Bureau for any complaints about a contractor before you sign a contract.
- Ask for references, and do follow up on checking them out.
- Check the contractor’s licensing to be sure it is current. “The risks of using unlicensed workers is great,” says Flick. “As the homeowner, you are ultimately liable.”
- How much clean-up is included in the price? Will old materials be hauled away? Will the lawn be put back into good condition?
- What about liability? Will any work be sub-contracted? Will all workers be insured?
- How long will the job take? Rain and other delays can affect the outcome, but you don’t want a contractor tearing down a wall and not returning for a week or more.
- Check with your insurance company. Will using one type of material over another affect insurance discounts or tax liability?
- Don’t be afraid to haggle. Trust your instinct about the contractors you interview – and don’t hesitate to ask the one you prefer if he will meet a lower price estimate.
- Read the contract. Be sure it reflects everything you expect before you sign on the dotted line.
“Just because you got the lowest price in town, doesn’t mean you’ll have the best outcome,” says Flick. “A poorly done or unfinished job can cost you even more down the road.”