Start a home remodeling project by choosing a qualified contractor

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While some projects can be tempting to tackle personally, many larger-scale projects may require hiring a qualified professional. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Outside of the home itself, remodeling is typically one of the largest investments people can make as a homeowner. While some projects can be tempting to tackle personally, many larger-scale projects may require hiring a qualified professional.

Because remodeling a home is a big undertaking, it’s important to take steps to ensure the professional who is hired to perform the work is qualified to complete it to the highest standards of quality and integrity.

Consider these tips from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry to help homeowners make an informed decision when hiring a remodeling contractor.

House
Whether the home features a midcentury modern, contemporary or farmhouse design style, it’s critical to choose a remodeler who is knowledgeable in the construction and design of the style of the home. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Get recommendations.

One of the best ways to find qualified, professional help is through word-of-mouth referrals. Ask relatives, friends, neighbors or co-workers – particularly if they’ve recently renovated their own homes – if they have any previous experience with companies they would recommend. Also consider searching online for reviews of companies in the area.

Stay local.

It’s often best to consider established local remodeling companies first, as they are typically more compelled to perform high-quality work, which allows their businesses to thrive and remain in the community. Local professionals are also likely to know permit requirements and building codes in the city or county, which can change from year to year.

Follow the home’s design aesthetic.

Whether the home features a mid-century modern, contemporary or farmhouse design style, it’s critical to choose a remodeler who is knowledgeable in the construction and design of the style of the home. Additionally, a company that specializes in remodeling kitchens may not be suited for a bathroom or bedroom project.

Ask for licenses and insurance.

Many states, but not all, require contractors to be licensed, bonded and insured. Ask for copies of licenses and insurance certificates for any remodelers under consideration to make sure they’re current. Most states also require contractors to carry workers’ compensation, property damage and personal liability insurance for their crews. Contact the state or local licensing agencies to ensure the contractor meets the minimum requirements.

Check references.

Once the list of potential contractors has been narrowed down, ask for a list of references and a portfolio of their work. A typical reference list includes 10 or more jobs with dates as well as the customer’s name, address and phone number and a portfolio should also contain at least 10 projects with photos of the space before work began, during the project and after completion. If possible, also consider visiting a current job site to see firsthand how the contractor operates.

Search for violations or complaints.

Because homeowners can’t always rely on a portfolio or references, it’s important to also check with the local consumer affairs office or the Better Business Bureau to ensure there are no complaints on record for the contractors under consideration, which may help further narrow the list.

Compare apples to apples.

While a number of different factors goes into every remodeling project, be sure all contractors solicited for bids are using the same scope and quality of work requirements. Discuss any significant variations in price or timelines and be wary of any substantially lower estimates.

Find more tips for selecting a contractor at www.remodelingdoneright.com.