Steps Homeowners Should Take Before Calling A General Contractor

Professional Advice

There comes a time when every homeowner needs to call in an expert general contractor to take care of remodeling projects around the house. However, before calling up your favorite contractors and scheduling appointments, there are several other steps you should take first to ensure that your home improvement project goes as smoothly as possible. 

These steps are simple but will help you prepare your home and belongings as well as get organized with what needs to be done and who will do it so that you are completely ready to hire a general contractor in Wake County, NC.

Get the HOA Approval

If you are considering doing anything major with your home (such as building an addition), check first with your homeowner’s association to see if there are any restrictions or requirements you should be aware of. There may be guidelines about what materials and colors can be used for such projects. You might also want to familiarize yourself with your municipality’s zoning laws. This should give you some indication as to what sort of work is (and is not) permitted.  

Set Your Budget

It is crucial to make sure you can afford your renovation before you start planning. Search online.  Don’t forget to factor in building materials, labor costs, and other additional expenses such as permits. Once you have your budget and understand what it will cost to renovate your house, use that information to set your expectations. 

Get Multiple Estimates

While you might save money by hiring one contractor and asking them to take on all of your home improvement projects at once, it is always best to get estimates from multiple contractors before signing on the dotted line. This will help you avoid overpaying for work that may not be worth your investment or spending too much money on projects you really don’t need.

Check Their Past Work

Sure, you can look at their portfolio online. A better option is to ask for references. A great contractor will be as proud of their work as you are when it is complete; they won’t mind giving you references and answering your questions about how things were done.  If a builder does not want to give you references, consider that a red flag.  

Check Their Reviews

It might seem like common sense to check out someone’s reviews before hiring them for any type of work. But in all honesty, it is a step that many homeowners often skip to get their project underway as soon as possible. The good news is: the internet makes it easy to check reviews. Simply search for the contractor and see what you find. If you can’t find anything about them online, that should be a red flag in itself. It might be because they are new to business or because their past clients are not happy with their services. 

Check Their Insurance and Licensure

When you hire someone to perform work in your home, you want to make sure they have their stuff together. Find out if they carry proper insurance (e.g., general liability and worker’s compensation) and ask for proof. This protects them as well as you in case any accidents occur. If a subcontractor is being used, they must also have adequate insurance. Your contractor should also have proper licenses. Working with a licensed contractor means your project will go more smoothly because there is a better chance that the person knows what they are doing.  In NC, if your building construction or alteration project exceeds $30,000 the statute (G.S. 87-1

) states you are required to use a general contractor licensed in this state. .

Get Everything in Writing

You must get everything in writing before moving forward with your project. You may also want to take photographs of your home and its exterior before you start working on it so you can compare where it was with where it ends up once construction is complete. Otherwise, you may not know whether or not something has been done correctly until it is too late. When getting things in writing, be sure to include the following:

  • A detailed description of what needs to be done. 
  • The total cost for all items listed (including any additional fees such as permits). 
  • An estimated completion date for each item listed. 
  • A guarantee that all work will be completed satisfactorily (and by whom) and what recourse you have if it is not completed satisfactorily (if applicable). 
  • A list of who will perform each step in the process, including subcontractors.
  • A change order should be in writing to avoid misunderstandings

The Last Word

Perhaps you are considering building a porch or deck or are in the market to build an addition to your house? Either way, hiring a general contractor may be something you are considering. However, that step can often be easier said than done! To ensure that you choose the right contractor and set yourself up for success, keep these tips in mind before you even call your prospective general contractor in Raleigh.

Remember to take your time when hiring a contractor. It is common for homeowners to feel rushed into making decisions. There is so much to consider that most people want to get it over with as soon as possible. That said, rushing is not wise. It can be easy to make poor decisions when you don’t take your time, so allow yourself plenty of time to make an informed decision.

Call Glasgow Design Build

Glasgow Design Build licensed general contracting firm serving Wake County (Cary, Raleigh, Holly Spring and Apex) specializing in creating new spaces and renovating existing ones. If you need help with any type of home renovations in Wake County, NC, we have you covered! Feel free to call (919) 228-9107 or fill out an online form to schedule an appointment. Our staff looks forward to helping you bring your vision for your home into a reality.