How to Pick a Good Home Improvement Contractor: 10 Tips for Consumers

naisls

1)    Check each contractor’s license. Licensing may be at the state, county, or municipal lever. The quickest surest way to find out who is responsible for licensing contractors in your area is to call your local building department, mayor city manager, or county executive office.

2)    Check with the local Better Business Bureau for any complaints filed against the contractor.

3)    Solicit proposals from a few contractors before selecting one.

4)    Beware of the lowers bidder. If a bud is more than 20% below the others, ask why. Make sure it’s not because the contractor is desperate for your business and deposit in order to finish another job.

5)    Ask the contractor for references and call them. Ask former customers what type of work was done, whether it was completed in a timely manner and on budget; if they would use that contractor again. Find out if the contractor maintained a clean and safe work area and whether the workman showed up when scheduled.

6)    Confirm that a contractor has at least a minimum insurance – including worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability insurance – required by the state. If they don’t have any insurance, you the customer could be liable for injuries on the job.

7)    Make sure the contractor you choose is well established in your area. Find out how long they have been in the business; who are some of their major suppliers. Beware of those who only have a post office box as a place of business of no ongoing supplier relationships.

8)    Get everything in writing and avoid signing anything – even a bid – until all the terms area agreed upon. Contracts should include everything that has been agreed to. Before you pay, make sure that everything you are paying for was listed in the contract.

9)    Make sure contract proposals specify the type, and wherever possible, brand name, of the materials to be used.  This will help protect you from substitution of inferior quality materials.

10)  Keep a file on the home improvement job, including contracts, change orders, plans and specifications, bills and invoices, cancelled checks, and any other correspondence between you and the contractor or subcontractors.

It is very difficult – if not impossible – to recover money from dishonest contractors. The best way to avoid any problems with contractors is by doing your homework before signing a contract for the job. The extra work and organization upfront should give you greater comfort in the end.  (Article compiled by the Title One Home Improvement Lenders Association (TOHILA) )

If you are looking for a reputable contractor to assist you with a home improvement job, give me a call today at 408-410-2060!

Advertisements

Bay Area Calender of Events for May

May

Looking for something to do this month? Take a look at this calender of events for our local area to help you get out and enjoy the beautiful weather!  May 2013 Events Calendar

As always, feel free to call me for all your real estate related needs! Happy Spring!

Nicole

Get Your Home in Shape for the New Year!

Ring in the new year right by getting your home in shape. Your home is your most valued possession so why not spruce it up for the year ahead!

Paint touch-up. Scuffs, dirt and even crayons can plague beautiful walls of a home. Simply mark those areas with blue painter’s tape and then walk around your home with a touch-up paintbrush.

Carpet cleaning. Carpets should be professionally cleaned at least twice per year. Now that you’ve enjoyed those festive holiday celebrations, have those muddy footprints, or worse yet, cranberry sauce stains, professionally treated.

Window washing. While the rainy season is still upon us, spring will be here soon. There is nothing worse on a beautiful home than dirty windows. So take the time to either hire a window washing service or if you’re a do it yourselfer, establish a weekend where you can dedicate yourself to the task at hand.

Fertilize your yard. Spring will be here before we know it. Many of our perennials require winter fertilizer to ensure they enjoy a robust bloom.

Donate old clothing. I once read that truly organized people throw away (or donate) one item for every one item that they bring into their home. Now is the perfect time to go through your closets and donate clothes and shoes that may no longer fit or are outdated. You can call the
Salvation Army at 1.800.95TRUCK to have them picked up at your doorstep.

Pantry and refrigerator cleaning. Do your salad dressings’ expiration dates say 2007? That’s a sign that it’s time to clean out your refrigerator and pantry. Be sure to check expiration dates on everything. You’ll be surprised to know that even pancake mix has a relatively short shelf life.

I work with an impressive list of professional home contractors, landscapers, painters and more. If you’d like a recommendation for any of the above services, please don’t hesitate to call me.

JUST SOLD! 324 Jackson Street, San Jose

jackson

JUST SOLD! 324 Jackson Street, San Jose, CA 95112. Wonderfully well maintained townhome near Japantown! This beautiful 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath home features hardwood floors, granite counters, maple cabinets and  a loft area that could be used for a office or den. Negotiated for my client for the low price of $450,000!

Give me  a call today to learn more about this wonderful Japantown Community!

3952985jackson2