Now that you have your ideas in hand, you know your budget, you know your limits, you may have already met with one or two contractors or design professionals to get pricing. Now what?


How do you know who to hire?
Who to trust?

#4 – Get Credible Proof
CREDENTIALS – Ask for up-to-date copies of state license credentials, like “Dwelling Contractor” and any earned certifications, like “lead-safe company”. If you meet with any contractor that tells you it’s not necessary to have a license – RUN!

AFFILIATIONS – Ask for local and national industry affiliations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Metropolitan Builders Association (MBA) or National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). All of these require an extensive background and credit check to obtain and maintain membership.
REFERENCES – Always ask for references of past clients, within the last year. You will want to hear from people that have worked with us recently so the experience is still fresh in their minds.
INSURANCE – Don’t be embarrassed – always ask to see a Certificate of Insurance from anyone working on your home.


STEP #5 – The Contract & Warranty
TAKE YOUR TIME – A credible, honest contractor will be happy to walk you through their design and/or construction contracts and should be willing to answer any questions you may have about them. Take the time to keep the paperwork after your initial meeting to look things over at your convenience, with no pressure. Be wary of a contractor trying to pressure you to sign anything in a hurry.

GOOD CONTRACT – A well written contract will protect BOTH parties involved. The contract will cover things like the payment process, how change orders are handled, insurance coverage, warranty information and how disputes get resolved, just to name a few.

WHERE TO SIGN – The contract should have a place for all homeowners to initial each page and a place for all homeowners AND the contractor to sign on the last page. A copy should be provided for you to keep for your records.

OTHER DOCUMENTS – If the contract references other documents, like a worksheet or a warranty for example, be sure to get copies of those as well. All these documents work together to provide you with useful information you could need down the road. Know what your signing – and if you don’t, ask.

WARRANTY – Get the warranty upfront, in the beginning when you sign the construction contract. There is no reason for a contractor to hang onto it until the very end of your project. You should know what will be covered, what is excluded, the duration and when the warranty begins, before even signing anything.