5 Tips for Finding a Good Renovation Contractor

Real estate investor working with a renovation contractor over house plans.

If you are a real estate investor, you need to have a trustworthy renovation contractor (or network of contractors and specialized subcontractors) that you can depend on to get the job done right. You want to work with someone who will complete quality work in a timely manner without ripping you off. This is vital if you want to flip houses or remodel a house to use as a rental property.’

Here are 6 tips from PropertyLark to help you find and select a good renovation contractor for your real estate investments:

1. Ask Around

If you are part of a real estate investor network or know people who have had renovations done recently, ask around. Find some good referrals for contractors. Word of mouth is always helpful. If someone you trust recommends someone they trust, that’s definitely a good start!

2. Research Their Credentials

Once you have a few recommendations and you have sought out a few top candidates, you need to dig a little deeper. Search online to find out the contractors’ credentials and experience. See what jobs they have worked on, which licenses and designations they hold and determine if they have the experience and expertise you are looking for to tackle your particular remodeling project. Some things to look for include:

            • Permanent business address
            • Public contact information (including a professional website)
            • Certifications, licenses and designations
            • How long they’ve been working in the community
            • Liability insurance
            • Subcontractor relationships
            • Recent local projects
            • Overall reputation
            • Customer reviews

3. Interview Each Candidate

Remember that ultimately, the contractor is working for you. Treat it like you would filling any important job position as a manager. Take the time to interview them and don’t be afraid to grill them a little. See if they are a good fit for your project and if you feel a sense of trust and confidence with them. Make them earn your business!

4. Check All References

During the interview and introductory process, be sure and ask each contractor for references. You can look up specific projects they have worked on and talk to the people who hired them. See if they lived up to initial expectations and if their quality of work, timeliness and other deliverables line up with your plans.

5. Get Any Promises in Writing

One of the worst things you can do with any contractor is to trust a handshake deal only. Get key parts of their promises in writing and, ideally, get a firm contract in place. This will protect you financially, keep them accountable and give you more legal power if something does go wrong. Have your lawyer review or prepare the contract to avoid any loopholes or problems. Some specific details to include are:

            • Bid price and payment schedule
            • Scope of project specifics
            • Site plan
            • Construction tasks, budget and timelines
            • Change-order clause
            • Express limited warranty
            • Dispute resolution clause
            • Waiver of lien

If a contractor passes all these tests and seems like a great fit for your investment renovation project, then you will feel more confident about working with them. Most importantly, you can protect yourself better financially and legally if they fail to fulfill their initial promises. It is very important to do your homework and make a good decision about any renovation contractor or subcontractor you hire, so don’t take this process lightly.

At PropertyLark, we can help connect you with reputable contractors in your area and get recommendations from other investors in our network. To join our home buying network, please fill out the form on our Buyers homepage.