15 Questions to Ask a Contractor Before Remodeling a Property

Client talking to contractor for home remodeling project

Whether you are a real estate investor looking to renovate a property for profit or a regular homeowner looking to remodel your house, you want to find a good contractor. You should hire one who is trustworthy, responsive and can provide the quality work that you need. We all know this is much easier said than done.

You want to take the time to interview multiple contractors before a major home remodeling project. This is how you weed out the questionable ones and find one that you feel comfortable hiring. PropertyLark has assembled this list of 15 questions that you will want to ask your renovation contractor before awarding them the job:

1. How Long Have You Been in the Business?

This is a simple and obvious question. You want to understand their experience and expertise before you hire them.

2. Do You Have a Contractor’s License?

This may also seem like an obvious question, but it is sometimes just assumed. Never assume a contractor has a valid, current contractor’s license. There are some swindlers out there. Always ask if they have a license and have them show it to you.

3. Do You Have a Certificate of Insurance (COI)?

Another thing to ask is to see their certificate of insurance. You want to know how they are insured and what exactly is covered by their insurance. Ask to see their COI and then review it carefully.

4. Will You Obtain the Necessary Permits?

Most remodeling projects will require some type of building permit from the city, county and/or HOA. A good contractor will know what permits and inspections are needed, and be able to secure them before any work is commenced. They should also be able to give you exact fees and costs for obtaining these permits and inspections.

5. What is the Expected Timeline?

This is perhaps the most important question you can ask a contractor. We all know that projects can drag on way longer than initially quoted. Ask for a clear timeline upfront and get what you can in writing. Make sure they aren’t going to be distracted by other projects or derailed by any circumstances that could delay the project. If they seem squirrely about offering any hard timelines or expectations, then they may not be trustworthy.

6. How Does Your Payment Schedule Work?

Make sure you have a very clear understanding of how and when the contractor (and any subcontractors they use) gets paid. There should be a planned-out construction budget and payment schedule before the project starts.

7. Will My Project Have a Dedicated Team?

Many contractors will have rotating teams of workers that may be working on multiple projects simultaneously. This could mean many different people working on your house on different days. Ideally, you want a dedicated team of the same guys so that the work is done consistently and communication is smoother amongst the team.

8. How Can I Reach You?

Always ask for multiple forms of contact information and understand the best way(s) to reach your head contractor when you have questions or need to request something. If they make it hard to get a hold of them or are unresponsive to your requests, you will not be happy.

9. What Does the Average Work Day Look Like?

You should try to get a sense of their typical work schedule and how each day of construction will proceed. When does the crew show up and get started? When will they leave? What is their daily process and how will they interact with the property and neighbors (parking, noise, restrooms, breaks, power outlets, water sources, etc.)

10. How and Where Will You Store Your Supplies?

Work crews will typically leave tools and construction materials on site throughout the project. Understand how and where they will be storing everything for safety and general convenience. This is especially important if you are living in the house while it is being renovated.

11. How Will You Clean Up Each Day?

Another good question to ask is about their end-of-day clean up routine. This is not only just where they store their supplies, but will things be swept up and cleaned? Or, will they just leave everything a big mess at the end of the day?

12. How Will You Protect My Property?

Whether you live in the house during renovation or you are away from the site, you need to understand how the contractor and their construction crew will protect your property. This is important that they take care of it while working, as well as when they are not working. Everything should be locked up, covered and protected overnight when they are not there.

13. How Will Unexpected Costs Be Covered?

It is inevitable that unexpected surprises and changes will come up during the renovation process. You will want to understand how the contractor will address these additional expenses that may be outside the original budget and timeline. How will they charge you and what costs may be involved?

14. Do You Have a Warranty?

Always ask if there is a warranty for any materials being used or contractor services being provided. You want to protect yourself in case there are problems after the renovation is complete. If warranties are provided, get them in writing and request a hard copy of any specific warranties available.

15. How Will Disagreements Be Resolved?

Mistakes and disagreements are bound to happen somewhere throughout the renovation process. Cover yourself legally by having written contracts in place. Ask the contractor during the interview how disagreements, grievances and mistakes will be resolved. If they don’t give you a good answer to this question, then you may be setting yourself up for a rocky ride!

These are some of the most important questions to ask any contractor who may be in charge of your property renovation or remodeling project. You want to protect yourself, your property and your financial investments as much as possible.

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