How to Find a Contractor
Selling Your House and Need to Find a General Contractor To Complete Home Renovations?
Here’s what you need to know before, during, and after you are remodeling your home.
Plan It All Out…
- Keep a project journal to track all aspects of the project
- Build a list of improvements
- Rank your list in 3 ways: by cost, by ROI, and by the quality of life
- Budget every project on the list
- Expect budget and time overages
- Contact your insurance company to see if your premiums will increase depending on what renovation you choose
Things To Do Before Looking For a Contractor
- Build a List of Contractors in Your Area. *Write this down in your Project Journal so that it won’t be lost as easily.
- Check What Permits Are Needed For the Home Improvements You Want. Both city and county levels of government can have different required permits. Even neighborhood associations may also have requirements for any project. (Usually to enforce workday limits on any project). *If you are doing major renovations look into your neighborhoods bulk trash policies. The demolition of a sizable area of any house creates a lot of debris.
- Find Out What Inspections Are Required For Your Renovation. Depending on the size of the project you might be required to get the renovations inspected by a trusted inspector. It will make things go by much smoother if you pre-plan an inspection ahead of time. The office that you are scheduling the inspection through will most likely have information on what they require for every project. Some types of projects might have special requirements.
What To Look For When Deciding On a Contractor
- Check What Type and Quality of Insurance They Have. Policies need to be able to cover much more than the entire budget of the project.
- What Warranty Do You Offer, and What Does It Cover? Most legitimate construction companies will have at least a partial warranty on their labor. While the company may not cover it themselves, manufacturers warranties are upheld on the materials as long as they are installed by a reputable company that has already proven their dependability.
- Verify Their Manufacturers Awards as well as Third Party Awards. Manufacturer awards will tell you that they have completed many installs, that will speak of their installers’ experience. The third-party awards will usually center around customer service. Having both types of these awards is definitely ideal.
- Create a List of Questions You Think You Should Ask. Write down every question that you believe you should ask. Don’t be afraid of sounding dumb. The contractor’s answers to your questions should be informative and non-aggressive.
- Ask Each One Where They Think Delays Will Happen During the Project. Vague answers are necessarily a bad thing in this instance. Many different problems can spring up even when a contractor believes he has “seen it all”. If they immediately tell you the most common “hiccups” that will be better than if you tell you “exactly how it goes every time”
What You Should Pay Attention To Before Signing a Contract for Renovations
- For Large Renovations, Ask About Financing Options. While you will have to apply for the financing, it can relieve stress about dealing with accounting issues. Some homeowners might be able to get financing through their own banks, but be warned if you get financing yourself most banks will need proof of everything that is done during the renovation.
- Find Out If the Price Includes Permit Fees. It is a good idea to get your contractor to obtain these for you. *Ultimately though, you will be the one that will be fined for a failure to post proper permits.
- Everything Should Be In Writing. Do not ever have understood agreements as a part of any renovation. Make sure that everything that you have discussed with your contractor has been documented in the contract before you sign or initial anything.
What to be Wary of While Renovations are Happening
- Contingency Plan… account for between 10-15% contingency within your project budget for issues that arise through no one’s fault. These happen on many projects that have any bit of complexity to them. *Remember if you are doing renovations on your master bedroom/bathroom and don’t have alternates in your house you may be without amenities for an extended period of time. And if you are doing bathroom renovations they will probably have to turn off the water. If that is scheduled make sure they finish enough of the project so that you can turn it back on after the workday is over.
- Don’t Be Stubborn. Many contractors will do their best to make sure you get everything you want, but sometimes because of unforeseen complications, a contractor is not able to fulfill them all. If this becomes the case, listen to the explanation of why it can’t be done. Maybe it is something that can be readdressed at a later time.
- Stay In Communication With Your Contractor. You do not need to talk to your contractor every day, but a weekly call that goes over everything that has happened that week is a good idea so that you can document everything. They will contact you immediately if problems arise that need your recorded acceptance to do.
ROI (Return on Investment) of Home Improvements
Depending on where you live in the US certain projects might recoup more money than others. For instance, in the Northwest replacing your garage door will net the greatest return in 2019. Other areas of the US replacing your front door with a steel door will net a higher ROI. These projects were all surveyed by Remodeling Magazine.
Any home improvement that focuses on making your household more energy efficient will recoup the most on average. The federal government and even states can have incentives for making your home more energy-efficient. Some of these incentives may just be a tax deduction, but will still help you in deciding what are the best projects to accomplish. Look into as many government incentives as you can think up to help recoup more of the cost of remodels. There are many ways to save money and get the most value out of your renovation projects.
These are the best and worst projects of 2019 as compared through cost vs. value:
- Garage Door
- Stone Veneer Accented Entryway
- Outdoor Wood Deck Addition
- Minor Kitchen
- Siding Replacement
- Window Replacement
- Grand Entranceway (Fiberglass)
- Roof Replacement (Asphalt Shingles)
- Front Door Replacement (Steel)
- Mid-ranged Bathroom Remodel
- Suite Addition (The lowest ROI of any project)
- Backyard Patio w/ Outdoor Kitchen*
- High-end Kitchen Remodel*
What Projects Should You Do To Increase the Curb Appeal of Your Home?
Front Door, Garage Door, and Stone Veneered Entranceway are the best ROI for curb appeal. Any of the curb appeal projects will be visible as you are driving past, so even if it is something that is visible from the front buyers may not notice it unless it is a visible difference between you and your neighbors.
While roof replacement is not in the top 3 projects, there is a chance it will become a must-have renovation if your roof is looking very worn and you are trying to sell your house soon. An ugly or aged roof can turn off buyers because of the high probability of having issues in the first couple of years after buying your house.
If you need a ‘lawn care facelift’, do not spend too much. Spending money on higher end topiary trees or bushes will not net much on your sale. But a consistent front lawn with little weeds will improve the curb appeal of your house without breaking your wallet. Don’t focus on customizing entrance walk paths, or building new flower beds unless you are going to fill them with a hardy plant varieties that need little maintenance for the area of the country you live in.
What Should You Do To Your Kitchen Before You Sell
Kitchens can be one of the most expensive home renovations. If you must ‘spruce up’ your kitchen before you sell, try to stay relatively inexpensive. Replacing old appliances can make your kitchen look much better for buyers. Sometimes they will want to keep all the appliances, so you might be able to negotiate a price to sell the more nonpermanent appliances to the buyers.
Apart from appliances, the most you can expect to recoup is around 60% for projects around the kitchen. Think about replacing the fronts of your cabinets if you need to do anything before you put your house on the market. Updating fixtures is also something that can help if you do not want to pay for cabinet fronts. Refrain from replacing sinks or counters, you will not see much recoup from those projects.
Do You Need To Remodel Your Bathroom Before You Sell?
Mid-range Bathroom remodels can add a lot of comfort and still add enough value to a sale that it can become a selling point for a buyer. A homeowner spends a large amount of time in this room so if you believe your bathroom is outdated, it might be a good idea to freshen up the look. Mid-range remodels include changing fixtures, replacing acrylic showers and/or baths, and updating cabinet fronts for aesthetics.
Major bathroom remodels are one of the most costly home renovations on the market. Major remodels include moving existing plumbing and remodeling the floorplan of the bathroom. Even if it isn’t a brand new addition to an existing house, the labor for them is usually high. If you believe you must renovate your bathroom completely make sure to use generally accepted aesthetics so that you can the most back from a sale.
Moving plumbing appliances is also extremely costly because you will have to dig out a channel in concrete in order for the water to flow right from the appliance. This also requires plumbers to be on-site quite often.
Also if you decide to create closets in your master bathroom, make sure that it won’t ‘feel’ confined and that there is adequate ventilation. You can probably recoup the most from a project by creating more storage space anywhere in the house as long as it doesn’t take away bedroom space.
Great Living Room Remodels That Can Add Value For Resale
Flooring is probably the most thought of home renovation when someone is creating a list of projects for a living room. If you have an old carpet, you will probably want to get rid of it and replace it with vinyl plank flooring. If you already have another type of flooring, use that money elsewhere around the house.
Ceilings can get costly and you will see little return on investment. If your house is older than the 1980s, you will probably want to retexture your ceilings, unless you know they have been renovated in the past 20 years.
You Love Your New Master Bedroom, Will It Help You Sell Your House?
The short answer to the question, no it will not help you sell your house. Master bedroom remodels are notorious for adding too many customizations to the area that it dissuades a future buyer. Generally accepted aesthetics will always help you sell your house faster as long as they look new.
Other Home Improvements That Sellers Contemplate Before Putting Their House Up For Sale
High-end Customizations to your house will dissuade sellers because if they do not fully accept all the changes that you have done to your household, they will be costly to fix. If you are trying to sell your house we do not recommend repurposing that spare bedroom to office or Theater/Gaming Room unless the renovations you do are not permanent or highly visible.
If you really need a home office, use bookshelves that are detached from the walls and a desk that isn’t built-in. If you have a need for steady, internet connections with high speeds, install new wall plates and drop an ethernet cable down your wall. This will alleviate the need for your wifi router to be in the same room. Keep it in the living room so that the rest of the household can still utilize it effectively.
Best Times of the Year for Home Improvements
Depending on what renovations you are attempting, you should also take the season into account before deciding when to start a project.
This is when the majority of your roofing, siding and other outdoor amenities will be completed. Summer is also a General Contractors busiest time of the year. This makes finding a good contractor more difficult unless you plan ahead during the winter. This is also the time of year you can do almost any project. If it is an outdoor project, plan for breaks and plenty of water. One subcontractor that has heat stroke will shut down a project for at least a day.
With rain and possibly snow the majority of your home Improvements should be indoors. Bathrooms are good this time of year. Tile will take longer to set usually during these months, but it is manageable with preparation.*Remember anything that needs to dry, like paint or cement, will take much longer during wet weather.
If you live in a desert climate, installing roofs and outdoor renovations are popular. Outdoor demolitions are also good this time of year. Get your backyard prepped during these months to make adding a new flower bed in the spring much easier. Building outdoor amenities will be best done during these months unless you are constantly exposed to precipitation. This is usually a contractor’s slowest time of the year. Unless specially made for it, roofing cannot be installed under 40* F and the surface of the roof has to be above 45* F. Anything that expands and contracts like wood will need to be installed with care in the winter cold.
How Can DaBella Help
We can also take care of your exterior needs by helping you create that perfect entryway. We carry Alside® vinyl siding and James Hardie Vinyl Siding. Which uses industry-leading siding to create some of the longest-lasting siding on the market. Our fiber cement siding by James Hardie® adds durability that vinyl can’t obtain with the same low maintenance.
GAF roofing shingles and accessories are known across the US as one of the top 3 roof shingle manufacturers. GAF has even garnered us with a reward that only a handful of roofing companies nationwide receive. Even our manufacturers know we strive for excellence in our customer’s satisfaction. All of the products we use at DaBella are backed by the highest standards in our industry.