Avoid Remodeling Re-Dos by Choosing Contractor Carefully Pt. 2

June 10, 2012

Continuing on from yesterday’s post on the pitfalls of not choosing a remodeler carefully for your Chicago home, lets take a look at how to to avoid costly mistakes when finding a contractor.

Remodeling plans for homeThe goal is to enlist an experienced, qualified and reputable professional who will not only complete the contract as specified—on time and on budget—but who will clearly and effectively communicate with you throughout the process.

Stewart recommends getting a referral to a reputable contractor from a trusted professional organization like the Greater Chicagoland Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI of Greater Chicagoland), whose members have to abide by strict industry codes and regularly keep up with continuing education in their profession. Once you have the names of a few good leads, research them carefully. Ask for and contact several homeowner clients to gauge their satisfaction level with the contractor.
Mimi Altman, executive director of NARI Chicago, said that, prior to hiring a contractor, you should also request:
  • Proof of adequate worker’s compensation and general liability insurance coverage for himself and any workers he hires.
  • Proper identification which indicates a permanent place of business and business phone number.
  • Reassurance of financial stability—ask the remodeler for bank, trade and supplier references, and contact these parties to inquire about the contractor’s financial solvency.
  • A written contract proposal, given to you within a few weeks of your initial meeting, that spells out the scope of the project, the expected start/stop dates, exactly what labor and materials are included and not included, the names of subcontractors who will be used, any special permits required, payment arrangements, and notice of a three-day right to cancel the contract (required, per Illinois law).
  • A warranty, expressed in the written contract, of the contractor’s workmanship and the materials used for at least one year from the job completion date.
  • A realistic price—be suspicious of any figure that appears too low or too high; also, avoid paying a large deposit (a 10% to 20% deposit up front is typical, but may be more if a significant amount of custom-made materials are involved) or paying in cash only.

Based in Des Plaines, The Greater Chicagoland Chapter of NARI is a not-for-profit trade association founded in 1987 and currently consisting of approximately 280 member companies. NARI Chicago is committed exclusively to the service of the local professional remodeling industry, representing professional remodeling contractors, product manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, trade and consumer publications, utilities and lending institutions.

About The Author

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Lynn Walsh is the President at Walsh Communications, LLC. Walsh Communications is a full-service public relations, marketing and advertising agency for home builders and real estate-related industries.

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