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Tips for Selecting a Great Real Estate Contractor

Oct 30, 2007
When you decide to build a home rather than to buy a home or when you make the decision to remodel the home that you already have, you most likely intend to get the job done with the help of contractor. Unfortunately, contractors have earned a somewhat bad reputation as some have failed to live up to their contracts or provide the quality of work homeowners expect when they buy their services. In order to keep yourself from being disappointed by your contractor, it is important that you follow these simple tips.

Tip #1: Ask Your Friends and Family

The single best way to select a contractor is to ask around. If your friends or family members have worked with a contractor that did a good job for them, you should put that contractor high on your list. The more recently the friend or family member hired a contract to work on their real estate the better. After all, if a contractor just did a great job a few months ago, he or she is likely to still be able to provide the same level of service.

Tip #2: Check References

Of course, you may not know anyone that has recently purchased real estate or that did any remodeling to their homes. If this is the case, you won't have much of a starting point when choosing a contractor. Therefore, it is essential that you check the references provided by the contractor. Ideally, you should check into references for jobs that are completed as well as for jobs that are in progress. This way, you can check out the real estate in varying levels of completion in order to determine the quality of the work.

Before you buy the services of a contractor, you should also talk with some of the references. Ask the references important questions, such as:

- How well did the contractor stay on schedule?
- How happy were you with your real estate when the job was completed?
- Did you feel as if the contractor listened to you when you ran into a problem?
- Were your concerns easily resolved?

Talking with past clients is an excellent way to get an idea of the type of work the contractor does as well as his level of commitment to customer satisfaction.

Tip #3: Check the Contractor's License

If you are going to buy the services of a contractor, you certainly want someone that is properly educated in the craft. Before you sign a contract and buy the materials for the job, check with your Contractors State License Board in your state. By checking with the board, you can confirm that the contractor is licensed and you can also find out the areas of specialty in which the contractor is licensed.

When checking on licensing, ask the contractor for his or her pocket license as well as another form of identification. Then, check the license against the other form of identification in order to make sure the names match up. Since it is illegal for a contractor to use another contractor's license, a reputable contractor will have matching identification.

Tip #4: Make Sure the Contractor is Insured

As the buyer, you shouldn't be expected to buy insurance to cover the job. Rather, the contractor should have insurance in place. Check to make sure the contractor is insured against property damage, worker's compensation, and personal liability. Ask for a copy of the certificate of insurance to verify coverage as this will protect you if something goes wrong while on the job.

Deciding to buy real estate in order to build your own home or to remodel your current home is an exciting time in your life. Make sure you do your homework before selecting a contractor in order to prevent your dream from turning into a nightmare.
About the Author
Eric Bramlett is the broker & co-owner of One Source Realty in Austin, Texas. Eric currently manages his Austin Real Estate Guide, his Westlake Real Estate company's website, & his Lakeway Real Estate Guide.
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