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Choosing A Builder

If you need a builder or contractor for your home, you have to choose wisely. The wrong person for the job could cost you thousands in losses, waste your time and even do permanent damage to your home. Before you sign on the dotted line with a contractor or builder, do some research to avoid disaster.

Start a Recommendation List:

Ask your co-workers, family members, friends and acquaintances for referrals. A person who has used a particular contractor or builder in the past can give you their personal review of the experience, including work quality and communication level. Make a list of those who are recommended to you and note who got bad reviews so that you can avoid those businesses altogether.

Confirm Credentials:

Once you`ve got a list of potential candidates, you can narrow it down by checking out their credentials, such as license information. Contact the state licensing board and verify the contractor or builder has a valid license. Remove any business that doesn`t currently have a valid license.

Ask the board about professional home member associations in your area. Membership associations usually have standards that builders and contractors must meet, such as undergoing continuing education, so having a contractor who is a member of an association is a bonus.

Check consumer reports on each builder or contractor on file at your local consumer bureau, such as the Better Business Bureau. Look at the consumer satisfaction rating and complaints, if any. Use the information to remove some contractors or builders from your list.

Contact the Remaining Names:

Set up a meeting with each of the remaining builders or contractors on your list. Make sure you bring your home project`s details to the meeting, including the materials you want and other specific details. The contractor or builder needs this information to give accurate pricing, time estimations and other details.

Ask any questions you want. The builder or contractor should be honest, open and upfront with you. If they don`t know an answer offhand, they should volunteer to get the information for you. Avoid any contractor who is dishonest, vague or evasive in their answers.

For example, if the contractor isn`t giving you any idea of how long the project will take, it may be a red flag. The contractor may not have enough people on staff to handle your project but isn`t being upfront about it.

Ask the contractor or builder for a list of referrals, specifically past customers you can contact. Speak to the previous customers to get an idea of how the contractor or builder works and what kind of work quality you can expect.

Before you agree to work with any builder or contractor, get an itemized estimate in writing. If you want special items, such as pine furniture, you need to see the price you`ll pay for each piece individually to determine whether the offer is competitive. Don`t sign any agreement until you have a full price estimate from at least three different contractors or builders.

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