J.D.R. Hawkins

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Archive for the tag “contractor”

Guest Post by Carolyn Mitchell

This guest post relates to what my husband and I have been going through. We started to have an addition put on last June, and it still isn’t completed. We’ve had to start from scratch by hiring another contractor. Word of advice: don’t go through Home Depot’s Pro Team! Make sure the contractor you hire is licensed and insured. Ours lied to us, so here we are a year later, with an uncompleted project. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this article.

10 Ways to Find a Reliable Contractor For Your Upcoming Home Renovation

Finding a reliable contractor is a vital part of your home renovation plan, and knowing how to find the perfect one will ensure that the job is done right. Check out our tips for hiring the best contractor for your home remodel.

10 Ways to Find a Trusted Contractor

1.   Ask Around

Word of mouth is often one of the best ways to find a great, trustworthy contractor for your job. Ask for professional recommendations on community social media platforms and from neighbors, friends, or family.

2.   Search Online

Do some research online to find reputable contractors in your area. Home service apps are becoming popular sources for professionals to advertise their business with their qualifications, experience, and reviews right at your fingertips. You can also search your city’s website for recommendations. Sometimes there is even a list posted by the city of trusted contractors that keep up-to-date on building permits and regulations.

3.   Read Reviews

When you find a contractor, look for reviews about their previous projects. Reviews could sometimes skew more positive or negative, so reading between the lines is an important factor when reading through them. However, by sifting through them, you will be able to start building a clearer picture of what doing business will look like with certain contractors.

4.   Seasonal Expectations

Depending on the type of project, some home renovations may have seasonal highs and lows. Most indoor repairs tend to happen during the winter months, while spring through early fall is when most outdoor work is carried out.

Keep the season in mind when you are planning your project because it could be a busy season for your contractor. Remember that although you want your project completed right away, a company having a full schedule speaks to the quality of their work.

5.   Interview Prospective Contractors

Interviews are a great way to get to know contractors and how they like to carry out business. Start simple by asking questions about your project over the phone to narrow your search.

Once you have focused on a few select contractors, have face-to-face interviews or consultations so you can show and talk more openly about the project, price, and time frame.

6.   Ask for Bids

After researching your project’s estimated costs and narrowing down potential contractors, have your final group submit bids for the work. Review the offers and find the best one for the job. Beware of a price that is too high or too low and be sure to ask about any fees that may come later down the road.

7.   Check for License & Certification Information

It is crucial in home renovation projects to ask the contractor about which licenses, certifications, and insurance documents they possess. Not having some of these items could invalidate their work when the city checks the job or when you sell your home. You also do not want to be held liable for any on-the-job injuries, so make sure your handyman service has an insurance plan.

8.   Make Sure They Obtain Permits

You will know a good contractor because they will be on top of procuring the necessary permits themselves. If a professional asks for you to get local permits, that is a sign they may not be the right handyman for the job. If they say you don’t need permits, you could be putting yourself at risk for city fines or redoing projects that were not approved. A reliable contractor will take care of all the documentation the city deems mandatory.

9.   Discussing Payments and Schedule

Going over payment plans and schedules should always be a topic discussed prior to the work getting started. This way, the contractor and the client can set expectations about what is acceptable for the duration of the project. Discuss specific goals and time frames for those goals.

Scheduling days and times that work best for you and your home renovator is essential to your plan. You want everything to run smoothly and quickly without disrupting your life as much as possible. Having a conversation about the working hours the team can commit to will help create an environment that is less disruptive for both parties.

10.  Going Over the Contract

Once you have finally found the contractor that fits your needs, it is time for the contract. Make sure to carefully review the contract before signing to ensure that all the agreed-upon points are present in the writing. When you and your contractor have all the details hammered out on paper, sign your name and get the project going!

Find the Best Contractor

Contractors know there are many other home service professionals vying for your business. The best ones will put in the extra effort to ensure your satisfaction. By doing research, reading reviews, interviewing, and asking for specific bids, you will be able to find the right contractor for your home renovation project.

Author bio:

Carolyn Mitchell is a freelance writer and content strategist with a passion for home décor. She can often be found re-painting and updating the furnishings in her home, and she is also a dedicated cat mom to two adorable kitties.

Guest Post by Julian Lane

I like to share blog posts when I can, including those that don’t necessarily have anything to do with my books or the Civil War. These blogs are strictly for your information only. I hope you enjoy this article and find it useful. Thank you, Julian, for your contribution.


What to Know When Preparing for Costly Home Repairs

Being a homeowner means you will have a place of your own, a place to feel secure, and a place to create memories. However, it also means you will face costs associated with replacements and repairs. You’ll deal with burst water pipes in the winter, a broken air conditioner in the summer, a roof that needs replacing every couple of decades, and many other issues. But just because you can’t always predict these things doesn’t mean you can’t prepare.

Establishing an Emergency Fund

Some synonymous terms with “homeowner” are “Mr(s). Fix-It” and “Mr(s). Pay-For-It.” Hopefully, you don’t have a money pit, but you should expect to fork out some money to upkeep your home, save for those inevitable big expenses that will need replacement, and put aside some savings for those unexpected repairs or replacements. Emergency repairs can be some of the most costly expenses homeowners face because they are not planned for. It’s essential to start an emergency fund as soon as possible and to plan to save 1 to 3 percent of the value of your home. When that tree falls on your roof or that pipe bursts in your wall and floods your house, you’ll be thankful you planned ahead.

Other Ways to Fund Emergency Repairs

Emergency repairs can be costly, but they should not remain unresolved until you can afford to fix them, as they could lead to further damage and unsafe conditions (mold, structural damages, fires). If you haven’t saved for an emergency fund and don’t have the immediate extra income to cover the costs, you should look to alternative sources such as government funding, insurance, taking out a home equity line of credit, applying for a personal loan, or seeking assistance from family and friends. The longer you do nothing about a major issue, the more complicated the problem will become, and you will lose more value that you’ve invested in your property.

Expecting Replacements

All good things must come to an end, and some replacements should be planned for. For example, an asphalt shingle roof should last 20 to 25 years, while metal and tile roofs will last longer but will still require repairs and eventual replacement. While you can ensure that the replacement costs do not happen sooner than planned by getting a warranty on the roof, hiring tree cutters, and routinely inspecting the condition of your roof, a normal wear-and-tear replacement will need to occur. Some other replacements you should plan for are major appliances and HVAC systems.

Finding the Right Contractor

After you determine that some work needs to be done to your home and you know where you will obtain the financing, you should then begin your search for the right contractor. Not all work is created equal, and not all contractors are as equally equipped to perform the necessary replacements and repairs to your home. Choosing the wrong contractor can lead to incomplete projects, higher expenses, more damages, the need to replace/repair sooner, and added stress.

Here are some tips for selecting a contractor:

  • Get references from people you trust
  • Read reviews
  • Interview contractors
  • Check for licenses
  • Have a contract
  • Require proof of permits
  • Pay for the project in installments
  • Verify insurance coverage
  • Keep the lines of communication open

Depending on the size of the repair or replacement, a contractor can be in your life for a while — and they most certainly will impact your home.

There is seemingly no end to the possible issues you can face as a homeowner. However, if you’re prepared, you’ll be less likely to be overwhelmed when those days come. Start by setting up and growing an emergency fund, and stay up-to-date on alternative sources for funding emergency repairs. Also, do your research and get to know what common replacements you can expect. Finally, take seriously the process of choosing your contractor, because they can either fix your situation or make it worse.


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