All thumbs on home projects?
Let’s face it, home projects aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Lots of homeowners don’t have the skills, or the time – or the interest.But where consumers shouldn’t drop their guard is managing inevitable relationships with contractors they hire to do it for them.At risk for the ill-prepared are thousands of dollars in project costs and untold weeks or months of dusty, noisy inconvenience. Toss into the mix the potential for strife caused by miscommunication and unmet expectations, and all the money and hours poured into the task can be so much water down the refurbished drain.In markets where labor is scarce, homeowners feel lucky to find a contractor – any contractor – to take their money. In most cases, they’re afraid to pose even cream puff questions for fear the contractor will walk away. But that’s when things can get dicey.It’s in your best interests to ask basic questions of potential contractors. Any contractors worth their salt also want to clear up ambiguities or at the very least sell you on why they are good or how they make customer lives easier.Focus your inquiries on finance, schedules, scope of work and expectations. In some instances, you won’t so much ask questions as make declarative statements such as, “This is what I expect for our new bath.” What questions really do is create a climate for conversation between both parties.Questions are best asked before you ask for a bid. This leads to more accurate bids by contractors. Remember: bids are important but far from the only deciding factor. Often, the low bid isn’t the price you want to accept.Scope of work questions- Here’s our project. What work will it entail in terms of tearing out walls, plumbing, etc.?- Do you see any particular construction issues we need to deal with right now?- Who will perform the work on our project? What is their track record?- If you run into unexpected situations, call us before proceeding.- We would like to have only one person with authority for house keys.Finance questions- Who will order and pay for materials?- We would like to pay for your service as portions of the work are completed.- How do you typically handle project finances and spending for materials?- How will we both handle change orders?- Will you arrange for permits and licenses?- We want to talk at least once each week about budget items.Schedule questions- What is a typical workday for you and your crews?- How long should this project take barring any unforeseen changes or problems?- We request you not show up before 8 a.m.- What special order materials should be ordered now to avoid delays?- Here’s where you can park and the bathroom you should use.Expectation questions:- We want the project to involve the best possible materials and construction practices.- We want the project to involve the lowest cost materials and construction practices.- What is most important to us is quality of construction.- We expect the job site to be clean of debris at the end of the workday.- Are there questions you have about our expectations?- Here is our preference for paint, appliances, wood moldings, light fixtures, etc.Summit County Colorado Real Estate
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