Every now and then, landlords will want to renovate their rental property. But, finding the perfect contractor for the job is not as easy as you think. Learn how to hire the right renovation contractors below.
The Importance of Hiring Good Home Renovation Contractors
Renovating a rental property is a good way to breathe new life into the space and attract higher-quality tenants. But, home renovations are often easier said than done. Instead of taking a DIY approach, landlords should leave renovation jobs in the hands of experienced professionals.
Why hire a general contractor?
For one thing, you can save yourself a lot of money, time, and headaches. Renovations are usually time-consuming, and a general contractor can complete the project in less time than you. Contrary to popular belief, it is also cheaper to hire a contractor than to do it yourself. Mistakes can be costly, and they happen more often when someone inexperienced tries to do the job.
General renovation contractors also have the necessary tools and resources. They usually already have an established network of trusted subcontractors who have proven track records in working together. Moreover, project management takes skill. General contractors know how to start each project properly and what steps to take next to complete the job in an efficient and effective manner.
All things considered, hiring a general contractor for home renovation projects is a better route than doing it yourself. But, you can’t just hire the first contractor you come across. As with most things, there are good and bad renovation contractors. And hiring bad contractors can be just as terrible as taking a DIY approach.
Types of Home Contractors
When it comes to home renovations, most people immediately think about general contractors. But, home improvement contractors come in all shapes and sizes, each one with a specialization.
A general contractor is responsible for supervising all aspects of the home renovation process. Their responsibilities include obtaining work permits, hiring and scheduling subcontractors, and ensuring the project is completed on time.
- Carpenters work mostly with wood materials. As renovation projects often involve wood, carpenters are integral to the process. Typically, though, general contractors will also double as carpenters.
- Electricians are in charge of the home’s electrical system, making sure they function properly and don’t pose any danger to the occupants.
- Plumbers are in charge of maintaining and repairing the home’s plumbing system.
- If your home has a centralized HVAC system, an HVAC specialist is tasked with maintaining and repairing all aspects of it.
- Landscapers offer yard care and maintenance services as well as design services for green spaces.
- If you need to repair or replace your roof and gutter, a roofer’s services are often necessary.
- As the name suggests, a painter is in charge of painting the exterior and interior of the house.
- A handyman is an all-around contractor that can usually make small fixes and perform smaller renovations.
- A tile-setting contractor specializes in laying down tiles on floors and kitchen backsplashes.
- Anything related to drywall — be it repairs or maintenance — calls for a drywaller.
- When you need new wallpaper installed, a wallpaper installer can peel off old wallpaper and stick on new ones.
- If your walls are made of plaster, a plastering specialist is needed to repair or put them up.
- Masons are in charge of any surfaces made of stone, marble, or pavers.
- For installing steel beams or other steelwork, a steelworker’s services are needed.
- If your home renovation project involves using previously unused space, an excavator will need to prepare the land before anything is built on it.
- Demolition experts or explosive workers tear down houses (or parts of them) to make room for new ones.
How to Hire Contractor for Home Renovations
Knowing how to choose the right contractor for your next renovation can help guarantee the success of the project. If you’re hiring a contractor any time soon, make sure to utilize the following tips.
1. Shop Around
The first thing you should do is shop around. Don’t go for the first contractor you see. You can search for available renovation contractors online or get some recommendations from fellow landlords or homeowners. Use online reviews to your advantage. Chances are, if there’s anything bad about a contractor, it will show up on the Internet.
2. Ensure They Are Qualified
Hiring a licensed contractor is critical, but not all states require contractors to get a license. For instance, California requires contractors to obtain a license from the Contractors State License Board, but New Hampshire does not. It is also imperative that the contractor you hire has sufficient insurance coverage.
3. Ask for Estimates
It is best to ask for written estimates from at least three of the contractors you contact. This should give you an idea of how much each contractor will charge for the project. Compare the cost of building materials and labor. You should also take a look at how each contractor intends to complete the job and how long it will take.
Additionally, be wary of cost estimates that are either too expensive or too cheap. For instance, if you plan on renovating just a small part of your bathroom, a bathroom renovation contractor shouldn’t charge you $50,000.
4. Set Up an Interview
Once you have narrowed down your options to about three or four candidates, it is time to meet with them face-to-face. Setting up an interview will allow you to ask important questions, such as:
- How long have you been working in this line of business?
- Have you worked on similar projects in the past?
- What is your estimated timeline for this project?
- How do you plan on completing the renovation job?
- Will you be doing everything in-house or do you plan to hire subcontractors?
- When can you start?
Talking personally with the home remodeling contractor also gives you a chance to get to know their personality and behaviors. Keep in mind that you will be working closely with your contractor, so it is vital that you get along with them and that your visions align.
5. Talk to Past Clients
In your quest to hire a good contractor, one step you can’t miss is talking to past clients. Ask contractors for references and then contact those references yourself. Ask them how it was like working with the contractor, whether they finished the job on time, and how they dealt with hitches in the project. It is also a good idea to ask for photos of the completed renovation job.
Remember to ask for references and photos that are relevant to your renovation project. It wouldn’t make sense to ask for photos of a bathroom renovation if you’re renovating the kitchen. In that case, you would ask your kitchen renovation contractor for references and photos of similar jobs.
6. Iron Out Payment Options
Before finalizing the agreement, talk about the budget and how you will settle the payment. Keep in mind that every contractor will have their own pricing structure, so don’t assume one’s prices apply to another.
Regardless of the price, though, it is best not to pay for the job in cash. Contractors don’t tend to ask for cash payments unless they are scamming you. For smaller projects, you can pay using a credit card or check. For larger projects, you might need bank financing.
Renovation contractors will often ask for a down payment. That is completely normal. But, in some states and cities, there is a limit on how much a contractor can charge you as a down payment. Check your own state and local laws to ensure your contractor isn’t breaching regulations.
7. Get It All in Writing
After ironing out all the details, it is time to get everything in writing. In other words, you need to sign a contract. Make sure to review the contract with a lawyer before signing it. This way, you can ensure the contract is reasonable and fair for both parties involved.
At the very least, the contract should include the following information:
- A detailed scope of work
- The payment schedule
- Estimated start and completion dates
- Any applicable guarantees
Can You Cancel a Renovation Contract Without Penalty?
Under federal and certain state laws, homeowners do have a right to cancel their contract with home renovators without penalty, provided they cancel within the given window. This is known as a “cooling off” period. Those who wish to cancel within the acceptable time period should do so by certified mail. This way, you have proof that you sent your cancellation notice.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a House Renovation Contractor?
Renovation prices can vary dramatically from one contractor to another. Aside from the general renovations contractor, a number of other factors can also influence the cost of renovations, such as:
- The nature, extent, and scale of the renovation project
- Cost of materials (dependent on industry prices and what materials will be used)
- Increased wages
Rental property owners should expect to pay anywhere between $15,000 to $200,000 for renovations.
A Hassle-Free Renovation Done Right
Renovation contractors are clearly the best option for landlords who would like to renovate their rental properties. But, there is a right way to hire a contractor. Ensure the success of your renovation project by following the tips above.
Landlords can outsource most of their work, including overseeing renovations, to a third-party professional. Find the best property management company in your area today with the help of Rental Choice’s online directory.
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