Choosing a Contractor

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Deciding on a contractor is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life.  This is the person or company that is building your home, not just a house.  It is not only an emotional investment but a substantial financial investment.  Making sure you have chosen the right builder can feel overwhelming but there are tips to make it the process easier.

  • Recommendations:  Asking neighbors, friends, or family in the area is one of the best places to start.  Knowing someone who has had personal experience with a contractor can give you the best insight on them.
  • Interview at least three to five contractors.  The initial interview can be over the phone and from there you can decide if you would like to meet in person.  The in person meeting should include a list of references and an idea of cost.  If you have plans drawn already, be prepared to give the contractor a copy so they can properly give you an estimate.  If you don’t have plans, your contractor should be able to recommend an architect.  Just know without plans, the contractor can only give a rough estimate of cost.
  • Narrow down your choices to 2 or 3 of the contractors you interviewed and then call their references.  Once you get the estimates and references, schedule another meeting with the potential contractors to review the information.  Choosing the contractor with the lowest bid isn’t always the best choice.  They might be cutting corners or desperate for work.  The general financial estimate breakdown is 40% is for materials, 40% goes toward overhead with a profit margin of 15-20%.
  • Once you have chosen your contractor, signing the contract and payment schedule is the next step.  The contract should include proof of liability & worker’s compensation insurance; a start date and projected completion date; specific materials and products to be used; and a requirement that the contractor obtain lien releases (which protect you if he doesn’t pay his bills) from all subcontractors and suppliers.

Communication is key through the whole process.  Having a good working relationship & clear communication with your contractor is essential to home building process.  My business has been built on these principles.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me 609.597.1597

Joel Montgomery

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