When scheduling a renovation, the relationship you form with a contractor is a partnership where each side has different rehabilitates. Here are a few “who does what” key areas:
Permit: Get permits for the work to be done, its your property and if there’s a visit from the local building inspector, its your responsibility to have proper permits. If you want the contractor to provide permits, be sure its in the contract and clearly states that all permits and costs for obtaining the permits, will be arranged by the contractor. And all work will be completed to building code standards by certified and licensed trades.
Insurance: the contractor should have valid insurance, including liability insurances, but that only covers you in case of accidents on the job site. When planning a renovation, call your insurance broker for additional coverage. because if there’s damage to a neighbors home or public property, its likely that the contractors insurance wont cover it. They will look at you.
Contract: make it a written document of “Agreements” based on your renovation plans. it should outline all the work details and include information about materials, products, subcontractors (if any), start and finish dates,. and a payment schedule. Review it carefully. Verbal agreements lead to failure and money disputes.
Renovations are a great way to increase the value of your home as well as provide you with the modern creature comforts that we see on TV almost daily. Before you start a renovation trust your instincts, and keep this list of troubling phrases in mind when looking for a contractor.
“We happened to be in your neighborhood”
Never hire anyone who says the offer is only good if you sign up right now, or who can’t provide references. The best way to hire someone is by referral.
“We wont know the costs until we start the work”
In some cases, it may be legitimate – having to look behind a wall . But contractors should be able to provide a range, including the “worst case scenario” so you know the ballpark your in.
“We require payment in full before we start work”
Pressure tactics to make the full payment or larger than normal deposit before work begins, should set off alarms, even if the contractor claims they need the money to buy materials. The Canadian Home Builders Association recommends a deposit of 10-15% of the total contract.
“We can offer a special deal if you pay cash and we skip the paperwork”
While it can be tempting, always get an agreement in writing. A written contract protects you, and details the agreement between you and the contractor. Considering a renovation? Feel free to call me for resources that can help.