The market outlook for Arizona real estate is looking tremendous for 2017.
We are seeing more and more homeowners further investing in their homes with major remodeling projects. All too often, however, we take calls on our Saturday morning hearing homeowner horror stories about their projects that have turned out badly.
Now, while this isn’t something you need to worry about if you hire one of our Rosie-Certified partners, we’ve compiled a list of seven steps everyone should follow when making contractor decisions.
1. Get a list of possible candidates
Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations of people they have used. You might even visit the homes of friends to see completed jobs. You can also get names from your homeowner’s association.
And, of course, you can consult a referral network that you know and trust — such as rosieonthehouse.com — for possible companies.
Visit the websites of your candidates as well.
2. Check the candidates out
Take possible candidates’ names and verify records with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. You want to make sure they have valid licenses that have not expired.
3. Check the license, bond and insurance of contractors
Does the contractor have unresolved complaints on file with the state? The registrar files complaints in categories such as disciplined, bankruptcy, settled or withdrawn. If a complaint was withdrawn or settled, that means the contractor has corrected the situation.
An unresolved complaint is cause for concern.
A contractor must be bonded and insured. Ask for evidence of all that, and check expiration dates. The bond should be enough to cover the work he or she completes each year. You can find bond regulations on the ROC’s webite.
4. Have candidates come to your home for interviews to discuss your job
Everyone talks about having three candidates and three estimates, but that isn’t always necessary. Sometimes you may have to get more than three depending on what the proposals and prices are like.
During your visits, ask when the contractor can do the work and what special problems might come up. You might want the contractor to visit twice.
5. Visit references that contractors give you
Get names and phone numbers of references from the contractor. You can phone them, but if it’s convenient, it’s better to visit the house to look at the completed job to see if you like the work.
6. Ask questions about the estimates
Can you cut the price by cutting out part of the job? Is everything in the estimate that you discussed during the home visit? What quality of materials will the contractor use? How long will the job take?
7. Be cautious before signing a contract
That contract should include a complete, detailed description of your job. It should outline what is not included as well. It should have a project schedule and a payment plan.
You want 24-hour contact information for that contractor and a termination clause that explains how to stop a project that’s going bad.
Once you’ve gone through all these steps, you’ll be ready to start your job with confidence. There will be problems along the way of course, but if you’ve done your homework, you’re going to be a lot more confident about how great your home will look once the job is done.
In our ongoing mission to be, every Arizona homeowner’s best friend, Rosie on the House has already taken care of these seven steps for you. Each and every one of the contractors and service providers in our referral network must exceed these basic standards to be part of the network.
You can visit our list of Arizona’s very best contractors or service providers for your home improvement projects at RosieontheHouse.com – Arizona’s most trusted referral network.
For more homeowner advice, DIY tips, and information about all the projects around your house, home, castle or cabin, visit Arizona’s largest collection of homeowner DIY advice and information at RosieontheHouse.com.
Tune in to KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday morning from 7-11 a.m. for the Rosie on the House broadcast!
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