There are many good reasons to buy a condo. You may be able to save some money compared to purchasing a house. You won’t have to worry about mowing your lawn or fixing your roof. Your new place may be in a better location, and you’ll only be paying for space you absolutely need. Even so, your new home may not be perfect. No matter where you move, there may be elements you want to change. Maybe your kitchen counters are outdated. Perhaps your bathroom also could use an upgrade. You might want to replace the carpeting with hardwood flooring. However, you may not have the skills to tackle these home improvements yourself, even if you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer. That’s when it makes sense to call in a contractor.
Hiring a professional can be the ideal way to transform your living space. Contractors have the tools, the talent, and the expertise to get the job done right. With their help, you can kick back and watch your space be transformed into the condo of your dreams. The challenge comes in finding the right contractor. There are a lot of choices out there. And if you choose the wrong contractor, the project might take longer or cost more than you anticipated. An inexperienced crew also could do more damage to your property than it fixes. This is why you need to know how to choose the right contractor for the job. Here are some tips you can use to make the process easier and more successful.
Infographic created by Asset Based Lending
Check With Your Association First
Before you begin any work on your condo, check with your homeowners association. There may be restrictions on the changes you can make to the interior of your unit. Certain materials and features may not be permitted by your HOA’s bylaws. Make sure you clear any renovations before selecting a contractor. Otherwise, you could waste your money and be in for a serious disappointment.
Do Some Networking
One of the best ways to find a reputable contractor is to ask around. Check with people you know and trust. Ask them if they’ve had similar jobs completed and if there’s someone they would recommend. Online review sites such as Angie’s List and Yelp also offer recommendations of contractors with good reputations.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
You will be trusting your contractor with your most valuable asset, so do your homework. Don’t be shy about asking point-blank questions about the company’s qualifications. Be sure to ask whether it is fully insured and bonded. Also, ask how it ensures compliance with any local building codes and regulations. If you’re not comfortable with the answers you get, be prepared to find someone else. A condo remodel is too complicated and important to entrust to someone in whom you don’t have full confidence.
Check the References
Ask the contractors you contact to provide you with references. By talking to past clients, you can get a sense of the type of service you will receive. You’ll also be able to tell whether your potential contractor has a lot of satisfied customers. Pay attention to the type of work that was completed for those references, as well. It’s a good sign if a contractor has finished several jobs that are similar to the work you want to be done. If most of the company’s references are for renovations that aren’t similar to your project, consider another source. If you can see a finished project in person, do it. Seeing the craftsmanship with your own eyes may be the best reference you can get.
Get Multiple Bids
You want to make sure your project is done correctly. You also want to be confident that you’re getting the best value for your money. This is why it’s a good idea to get bids from as many contractors as you can. Ask them to provide itemized estimates so you can compare the bids more effectively. However, don’t get fixated on accepting the lowest bid. Even if one company is a little higher than the others, it might still be the better choice. You don’t want to spend more money trying to fix a rushed project. You should be confident the job will be completed to your specifications, even if that means going with a higher bid.
Draw Up a Contract
Once you have a shortlist of contractors, take time to draw up some tentative plans. When you can visualize the work you want to be done, it becomes easier to communicate it to your contractor. It’s also important to draft a contract that details the specific materials, schedules and even a warranty agreement. Keep a copy with your records and have the contractor sign it before beginning work. This includes creating a payment schedule. Don’t pay for everything upfront. Instead, pay in installments after certain deliverables are met.
Even if you’ve hired a contractor you have absolute faith in, you should stay closely involved in the project. The last thing you want is to be surprised with the final results due to a miscommunication. Check-in on the progress on a regular basis. Speak up if something doesn’t meet your expectations. Either your builder should correct it, or explain to you why it had to be done. This way, you can ensure that you will be satisfied with every aspect of the project from start to finish.
Even though you may be limited by the requirements of your HOA, remodeling your condo can give you the space you want. At the core of every successful remodel is choosing the right team for the job. As the property owner, it’s important to choose the best contractor for the job. Accepting anything less means you’ll likely be unhappy with the finished product. For more tips, you can use as you embark on your renovation project, see the accompanying infographic. It contains several ideas to help you make sense of what you need to do. It’s your home — make it entirely yours.
Additional real estate resources
Is it important to hire a licensed, bonded and insured contractor for making repairs to your home or condo? Don’t make the mistake of waiting until it’s too late. Conor MacEvilly explains why it’s important to have such a contractor and what it actually means.
Brian Davis gives a lesson on negotiating with contractors. Learn how you can have incredible savings in your next renovation project if you know what questions to ask and what you can actually do yourself.
Don’t just point your figure and dial the first contractor number you find. Paul Sian discusses in this article exactly how to avoid hiring bad home contractors.
Author bio: Eric Krattenstein’s extensive marketing experience began at a boutique marketing agency where he developed dozens of successful innovative marketing strategies for brands ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Prior to joining Asset Based Lending in 2016, Krattenstein served as U.S. Chief Marketing Officer for a European enterprise software company where he spearheaded the company’s expansion into the United States and Canadian markets. In his current role as Chief Marketing Officer, Krattenstein leads Asset Based Lending’s Sales and Marketing team that helps upward of 40 to 50 real estate investors close hard money loans each month.