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Selling a Home? 5 Tips for Choosing a Home Repair Contractor

Before starting any repairs or renovations you’ll want to do extensive research on a contractor. It might seem hard to find a quality one that fits your budget, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few things to consider when hiring a home repair contractor to get your home ready to sell.
Before starting any repairs or renovations you’ll want to do extensive research on a contractor. It might seem hard to find a quality one that fits your budget, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few things to consider when hiring a home repair contractor to get your home ready to sell.

Having a home prepped and ready before selling is going to save you a lot of time and effort. Before starting any renovations or repairs, you need to find a home repair contractor. Do some research to find one that fits your budget and has experience doing the project you want.

If you’ve never hired someone for a repair or renovation job before, here is what you want to do to find a quality home repair contractor.

Get Recommendations

Just like you probably do with most things you buy, you’ll want to start with recommendations. Start by asking friends and family if they know any good contractors. Odds are at least one of them has hired a contractor for something.

Also look at online reviews. There are plenty of websites like Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor that are tailored to homeowners looking to hire contractors for repairs and renovations.

Conduct Interviews

Conducting interviews, whether they be over the phone or in person, will help you narrow down your choices. These are a few questions you can ask a potential candidate:

  • How long have you been working in the business?
  • Are you licensed?
  • Do you have references?
  • What is your proposed timeline for this project?

The way they answer questions is going to help you decide who would best fit your schedule, expectations, and budget. Pay attention to non-verbal cues such as if they show up to the interview early or late, or if they seem like they’re taking the interview seriously.

Look at Their Previous Projects

Once you’ve narrowed down your list or picked a candidate, take a look at their previous projects. If you asked for references during your initial interview, now is the time to reach out. You can ask them questions like if the contractor stayed on schedule or if they fell through with any listed agreements.

You should look at previously completed projects that were similar to yours. This can help you get a better understanding of how long it took them to finish and what materials they used. All of these factors can help you determine if the contractor is a good match.

Make a Home Repair Contract

Much like most business deals and transactions, there is usually a contract in place to protect all parties involved. Home repair and remodeling projects are no different. Before starting any project, you should know why you need to have a contract.

One of the biggest reasons is to protect both you and the contractor. The last thing you want to pay for on top of the cost of the project itself is legal fees. A contract also serves as written proof of the details of the project as well as agreeing that the contractor will be the one completing the project. There are a few crucial pieces needed in the contract to make sure you’ve covered everything.

Job Description

First things first you need to have a clear description of what the job entails. You’ve probably already covered this with the contractor during the interview process but you should have this all in writing. This prevents any problems regarding miscommunication about what’s expected in this project.

Important Deadlines

Next, you’ll want to have the start and completion dates clearly outlined. If there are deadlines in the middle of these two dates these need to be in the contract and acknowledged by both you and the contractor. Allow room for a few drawbacks because these are very common with home projects.

Payment Terms

You and the contractor will determine how much and when the contractor gets paid. Most contractors will ask for at least 30% down, but each state has laws regarding down payment limits. What most homeowners do is hold back at least 10% until the job is completed to your satisfaction.

Penalties

Give yourself the option to deduct or delay payments if completion dates are missed to encourage the contractor to meet your time frame. You’ll need to be specific about amounts and clearly define terms.

Outline of Costs and Materials

If you aren’t going to be supplying the materials yourself you should have a detailed outline of which materials are to be used and what the budget is. If you’re allowing the contractor to purchase the materials they choose, make sure you give strict price guidelines to keep everything in budget.

Termination Clause

Lastly, it’s very important to clearly spell out reasons the homeowner or contractor can leave the job without penalty. You’ll also want the option to terminate the contract in the case of poor quality work or failure to adequately communicate.

Don’t Let the Price Fool You

If you come across a contractor that’s offering their services at a very low rate, it might not be as good as it seems. Sometimes it’s not always the best to hire someone for the cheapest price possible. After all, a botched home repair project can end up costing you thousands of dollars more than what the project would have been if you hired someone else.

If you’re trying to prepare your home to sell you should consult a real estate agent before starting these projects. By working with Clever, you’ll get matched with a Partner Agent in your area with the expertise of houses and what repairs and upgrades are necessary. They’ll be your resource for knowing exactly what should be fixed in your home and what’s not worth the investment.

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Andrew Schmeerbauch

Andrew Schmeerbauch is the Director of Marketing at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you top agents to save on commission. His focus is educating home buyers and sellers on navigating the complex world of real estate with confidence and ease. Andrew has worked on projects for the United Nations and USC and has a particular passion for investing and finance. Andrew's writing has been featured in Mashvisor, L&T, Ideal REI, and Rentometer.

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