Whether you are building new, remodeling, or repairing your Chevy Chase home, finding the best contractor for the job can be daunting. What you don’t know can put you at a disadvantage, causing you to overpay, or receive inadequate quality of materials and craftsmanship.
1. Ask friends and family for referrals. If you are starting from scratch, you can search the Homebuilders Association of MD website for member contractors, and use the search tool on NAHB. You can also browse our list of local, preferred service providers.
2. Select a few contractors and screen them. Smart questions to ask include: how long they have been in business, and if they are insured for workman’s comp and general liability. Ask if they have referrals from prior clients. Find out if you can tour any active projects in the Chevy Chase area.
3. Next, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any of your prospective contractors have unresolved complaints against them.
4. From your remaining list of contractors, pick three, and ask each of them to prepare an estimate. Some industry pros recommend discarding the lowest bid, as lowballs can be a sign of desperation by the contractor, or possibly an sign of cutting corners. The difference between the bids should be nominal; widespread variance in bids could be a red flag, be it at the top or bottom. Ask for an explanation.
5. Pick your contractor and establish a payment schedule. For large jobs, contractors typically require 10% up front, 25% over three payments during the project, and 15% upon completion. Beware of a contractor who wants a 50% deposit at the beginning of a project. If the work is being paid for by your insurance company, your claim adjustor will have specific instructions and requirements regarding the work and the payments. Your insurance company may make periodic inspections while the work is in progress.
6. Make sure your contract outlines the project scope, start and completion dates, materials, deliverables, and payment schedule. Make sure the contractor signs it before starting any work. If your insurance company is involved, be certain of their approval.
7. Verify that all local building permits and fees are being handled timely. Your local building inspector may view the project to ensure that it conforms to local building codes and ordinances.
As your Chevy Chase real estate professional, I’m happy to share home tips and market advice! If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Chevy Chase, MD, turn to me for the professional guidance you can trust. My experience with the Chevy Chase real estate market, and my commitment to client service, will give you the advantage in today’s competitive market!
Contact me today for help with all of your real estate questions!