Armchair Builder

Home Repairs: Hiring Companies to Work on Your Home

Some people are do-it-yourselfers and others…not so much.  But no matter what your skill levels are, there will be times when you just want to have someone else do the work.  Sometimes the home repairs are too complicated, like in the case of a foundation problem, or maybe the project is just too time consuming like with the stripping and repainting of the exterior of your home.  Here we will provide you with some tips that can keep you from getting into hot water when hiring out your home repairs.

Signed Contracts

You always want to have a signed agreement between you and the company doing work for you.  We aren’t attorneys, but we can tell you some of the things that should be in the agreement based on experience.  This list is just a few of the major items to have in any contracts for home repairs.  Be sure to have your attorney friend review any agreements before signing…

  • parties involved – get all the details about the company including, full legal company name, representative’s name, address, phone, license number (if applicable), insurance details…etc.
  • work to be completed – be as detailed as possible – don’t just put new roof…list all items to be done like removal of old roof, haul away of debris,…etc.
  • specifications of products to be used – again, be as detailed as possible.  List make, model, color…etc.
  • schedule with drop dead finish date
  • dollar amount to be paid – include how it will be paid.  Meaning, will everything be due at completion or do you have thirty days?  Credit card or check?  Material deposit required?
  • unexpected items and changes – what happens if unexpected items come up.  For a roof, what if some of the plywood decking is bad?  How much will it cost to replace?
  • warranty – what is covered and how long?
Be extremely cautious signing agreements provided by the companies doing the work.  We have seen contracts stating crazy things like…no warranty is given or that payment in full is due prior to starting work.  The problem with signing someone else’s agreement is that it’s written to favor them.

References

It’s amazing how people will spend hours shopping for a new cell phone or car but when it comes to home repairs, they take the first company they find.  There’s typically no real effort put into finding a good, trustworthy company to do the work.  This is what gets people into trouble.  Be sure to ask for the names and contacts for the last three customers of the company you are thinking of hiring…not any three or the best three…the last three.  This will give you a good indication of the type of work they are doing now.  Many companies in the home building, remodeling and repair business have changed drastically over the past couple years.  Make sure you know how they are doing as of today.

Deposits for Home Repairs

Deposits should be avoided at all costs.  If material needs to be purchased, offer to buy it yourself and take possession of it.  That way, if the contractor never shows up, you still have your material.  The only other possible reason for a deposit would be for permits.  If a permit is required, go down to the building department with the contractor and pay for it.  This is the only way you will be certain it gets paid.

Description of Work

When describing the work to be done in the contract, you really can’t have too much information.  You should never assume anything.  Take drywall repairs as an example.  Does the repair include priming and painting?  If so, is the paint and primer included?  If you are having an electrician install new recessed lights, is all the material included?  How about the lights themselves?  Is he/she taking care of any drywall damage that happens?  This is a big one.  I have seen electricians and plumbers that have total disregard for walls and cut them up like swiss cheese.
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Not all companies out there are bad.  In fact, the majority are good, hard working, honest people.  Unfortunately, the few bad ones out there require you to do your due diligence.  If you want to see a video about how you can be taken advantage of, check out this story from last week on the Today Show.  Want some more ideas for hiring good companies to work on your home or project?  Check out these resources…
No More Nightmare Experiences Getting Work Done on My Home
Deck Builders: Hiring for Your New Project
New Roof:  Builder Tips and Secrets to Save
Home Repairs:  How to Get a Company to Come Back

Michael Luckado has built, remodeled and repaired thousands of homes across the U.S.  He co-founded ArmchairBuilder.com to help you save money and hassles on your building projects.

 

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