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Choosing a Contractor + How to Get Bids for Building Out Your House Plan

Jul 3, 2008
For those of you worried about choosing a general contractor to build your new home from house plans, feel confident in knowing that most custom home contractors are reliable, honest individuals. The very few who are not, have created an image well beyond their real numbers. To help you find the right GC for your new home, here are some very simple rules and suggestions to follow:

* Never choose a contractor based solely on lowest price.

* Always obtain more than one estimate.

* Don't rely on possible legal remedies as your protection against someone you are apprehensive about to begin with. Simply don't hire that particular contractor.

* Research their background first before hiring them. If your state has a licensing board for contractors, call to find out if there are any outstanding complaints against that license holder.

* Call your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints on file.

* Don't be afraid to thoroughly interview the contractor candidates. Ask what kind of worker's compensation insurance they carry and get their policy number and insurance company contact information so you can verify everything. If they are not covered, you could be liable for any work-related injury incurred during the project.

* Be sure that the contractor also has an umbrella general liability policy.

* Don't hire the contractor who only suggests changes that will reduce the price-and possibly the quality-or the contractor who does the opposite and only makes suggestions that will result in expensive changes.

* Choose a contractor based heavily on past performance. Ask for names of clients and follow-up with phone calls and drive-bys if possible. A good contractor will be happy to provide as many referrals as you want.

* Choose a contractor based on recommendations of local business owners he deals with such as bankers, material suppliers or local officials.

* Choose a contractor who appears knowledgeable and has a helpful attitude and will have your best interest at heart.

* Use common sense judgment.

* Finally, don't be rushed into making a decision, no matter how competitive the market may seem. And never pay a deposit to a contractor at the first meeting.

How to Get Bids on Your Project
If you have decided not to be your own contractor, you will have to find someone to build your home. Don't cut corners when you make the decision on your contractor. Thoroughly research and get bids from several contractors. It is worth the effort to find a builder that meets your budget requirements and makes you feel confident in them.

Here are some helpful tips for accepting bids from contractors:

* Always get more than one estimate.

* Never base your choice solely on lowest price.

* Don't hire a contractor you are already uncomfortable with. You can't always fall back on legal remedies if you have problems with them later.

* Research the contractors before hiring them. If your state has a licensing board for contractors, use them to learn of any prior issues or complaints.

* Check for complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.

* Be sure to thoroughly interview the contractor candidates. Ask about their worker's compensation insurance and get their policy number and insurance company contact information so you can verify everything. If they aren't covered, you could be liable for any work-related injury incurred during the project.

* Make sure the contractor has an umbrella general liability policy.

* If the contractor only suggests changes that are lower cost or only higher prices, do not hire them. Choose one who suggests both. Your chosen contractor should consider quality factors along with price reduction.

* Base your choice on past work of the contractor. If they are good, they will gladly provide referrals. Get names of the referrals. Call and if possible, drive by.

* Local business owners can also give a good point of view of the contractor. Talk to people the contractor deals with such as bankers, material suppliers, or local officials.

* The contractor should be knowledgeable with a helpful attitude. They should consider things that are in your best interest.

* Last, but not least, use your common sense. Don't rush into a decision no matter how competitive the market may seem. Never pay a deposit on the first meeting with a contractor.

Becoming Your Own Contractor
Should you choose to become your own contractor it is best to have resources. The main three resources that we recommend are as follows:

* "The Complete Guide to Contracting Your Home"
* "How to Plan, Subcontract, and Build Your Dream House"
* "Be Your Own House Contractor"

The largest obstacle in contracting is having all of the products and supplies readily available when needed. You want to make sure the building process runs smoothly and in a timely manner. So even if you choose to hire a general contractor, it is very important to understand the processes in which you will be embarking. You want to make sure your vision of your home is exactly what the final product will be.
About the Author
Find unique house plans today at TheHouseDesigners.com. If you can find a cheaper price we'll give you a 5% refund. Browse our narrow lot house plans for a wide selection. We ship all our plans for free.
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