Tips for find­ing a home ser­vices provider

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Real Estate Weekly -

Home­own­ers who are good with their hands can tackle many mi­nor home im­prove­ments on their own. How­ever, more com­pli­cated projects of­ten re­quire the ser­vices of pro­fes­sional con­trac­tors to en­sure the ren­o­va­tions are done right, com­pleted on time and within bud­get.

Choos­ing a home ser­vices provider re­quires care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion on the part of home­own­ers. The wrong con­trac­tor can cost home­own­ers time and money, so home­own­ers must ex­er­cise due dili­gence when vet­ting con­trac­tors be­fore go­ing for­ward with a home im­prove­ment project.

Types of con­trac­tors

The Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion notes that the scope of a project may ne­ces­si­tate hir­ing var­i­ous types of con­trac­tors. The more com­plex a project is, the more likely it is that home­own­ers will need to hire con­trac­tors who spe­cial­ize in cer­tain areas. Un­der­stand­ing the dif­fer­ences be­tween con­trac­tors can help home­own­ers make in­formed de­ci­sions.

Gen­eral con­trac­tors man­age home im­prove­ment projects. This in­cludes hir­ing sub­con­trac­tors and su­per­vis­ing their work. Gen­eral con­trac­tors also se­cure build­ing per­mits and sched­ule in­spec­tions.

Spe­cialty con­trac­tors fo­cus on spe­cific areas of a project. For ex­am­ple, home­own­ers who are re­mod­el­ing their kitchens may need new cab­i­nets in­stalled by a con­trac­tor who spe­cial­izes in cab­i­nets and cab­i­net in­stal­la­tion. That con­trac­tor is a spe­cialty con­trac­tor. The FTC notes that th­ese con­trac­tors both de­sign and build projects.

Ar­chi­tects de­sign homes as well as any ad­di­tions or ma­jor ren­o­va­tions to homes. Ar­chi­tects are of­ten nec­es­sary when projects in­volve struc­tural changes to ex­ist­ing homes.

Hir­ing a home ser­vices provider

Once home­own­ers de­ter­mine which type of con­trac­tor they need, they can they be­gin re­search­ing lo­cal pro­fes­sion­als.

Neigh­bors, fam­ily mem­bers and friends who have worked with con­trac­tors in the past are great re­sources. Seek rec­om­men­da­tions from peo­ple you trust, even ask­ing to see com­pleted projects if pos­si­ble.

• Uti­lize the in­ter­net. Web­sites such as HomeAd­vi­sor and Angie’s List are free of charge and can be great re­sources when home­own­ers are look­ing for con­trac­tors. Each site in­cludes re­views of con­trac­tors from past cus­tomers and con­tact in­for­ma­tion for lo­cal con­trac­tors.

• Con­firm qual­i­fi­ca­tions. The FTC ad­vises home­own­ers to con­firm con­trac­tors’ li­cens­ing and qual­i­fi­ca­tions be­fore hir­ing any­one. Some areas may not re­quire li­cens­ing, but many do. Home­own­ers can con­tact their lo­cal build­ing depart­ment or con­sumer pro­tec­tion agency to de­ter­mine the li­cens­ing re­quire­ments for their area.

Hir­ing a home ser­vices provider is a com­pli­cated process that can be made eas­ier by home­own­ers who do their re­search and take the de­ci­sion se­ri­ously.

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