At the ripe age of 26 and with a great level of naivete and hubris I embarked on the process of building a home. My then husband and I decided that we would be perfectly capable of being our own general contractor. This I believe now is a clear sign of the hubris of youth! We thought that because we had grown up in the area where we were building and knew a lot of people that we would be able to easily find subcontractors to work on our home build. This assumption turned out to be our downfall and a true life lesson. We ended up hiring friends of the family to paint, the father of one of my high school friend’s father as a finish carpenter and a plumber that came highly recommended by our neighbors. In a perfect world this would have all added up to major savings and the security of knowing the people you were working with. However, this is not a perfect world and in the end we often couldn’t get a hold of my high school friend’s father and after charging us for a ridiculous amount of copper piping the plumber that came so highly recommended disappeared and with him all of the pipe.
We lost several thousands of dollars, many work hours and spent countless amounts of time feeling frustrated a stressed out! After that harrowing experience I truly believe that if I ever decide to renovate or build another house I would first find an experienced renovation and construction consultant to lead me through the process of finding a reputable and reliable general contractor. There are some definite red flags that you should be on the lookout for when you are renovating or building a home and pitfalls an experienced consultant can protect you from.
Red Flags to Watch Out for When Hiring a Contractor
- They have negative or old reviews online- information is always changing and if they haven’t had any reviews for a while it shows that they haven’t been working
- They refuse to provide you with any written references
- Their prices and promises seem to be too good to be true
- They ask for all of the money upfront or they ask for cash
- Their answers to your questions are vague or unsatisfactory
- They want you to apply for all of the permits (this usually indicates that they aren’t licensed)
- They aren’t licensed and/or they don’t have insurance
- They won’t give you a written contract or bid
- They request unlimited funds for materials
- They use a very pushy sales approach, saying things like “You only get this special price if you sign your contract today!”
- They won’t tell you if they are hiring subcontractors or who those subcontractors will be
- They quote too low of a price
- They aren’t bonded- contractors must carry a surety bond to protect customers from poor craftsmanship
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Construction/Renovation Consultant?
There are many benefits to hiring a construction industry professional consultant to assist you in finding a reputable and reliable general contractor. Here are the most impacted benefits to doing this:
- It can reduce the stress and aggravation of the renovation project- having someone who knows the right questions to ask and the steps to take to renovate or build a home can greatly reduce your stress
- They can educate you about which renovations to make, which contractors to hire and the reasonable cost for each renovation and construction project
- They will be able to advise you about the necessary permits and the cost of these permits (some contractors will charge you extra fees in addition to the actual permit cost as a way to make extra money)
- They can have more influence over the general contractor because they will be connected to future jobs where you are only one job
- The consultant will know contractors from having worked with them on previous projects so they can protect you from possible problems and find the right fit for your project
- If you are using a 203k loan for renovation you are required to have an approved consultant to disperse draws from the escrow account to pay contractors
- They will be there to walk you through the process and advocate for you!
This is a service that Advance Home Inspections Offers!
Advanced Home Inspection owner David Cassavaugh offers this service. He is a seasoned professional that has been a carpenter and general contractor for over 30 years and a home inspector for 10 years. He will walk you through all of the processes, procedures and permits. In addition, he will help you to avoid all the pitfalls that can develop during a new construction or renovation project. If you hire David to be your Construction/ Renovation Consultant, you will be getting an advocate who will work solely for you and can help you to choose a general contractor that best fits your job and your needs. This is an inexpensive service that can save you thousands of dollars and countless hours of aggravation. If you are interested in more information about this service or would like to hire David, contact Advanced Home Inspection at 603-303-8211, you will be glad that you did!