Having an investment property involves a significant amount of responsibility to help maintain the property for renters or do major remodeling to flip the home for a future resale profit. Hiring a general contractor helps ensure all the necessary maintenance and remodeling work is completed promptly, done correctly, and the property remains up to current construction and building codes. To ensure the job is done correctly and as agreed upon, it's vital to hire a reputable contractor to help renovate your investment property.
Discover some tips and suggestions to help you find trustworthy and reputable contractors to help renovate your investment property.
One of the best ways to find a reputable general contractor is to ask friends, family, or colleagues in the industry which contractors they have used and worked with for property renovations. Ask about the work completed, how reliable they were, and if the work was completed on time. If possible, ask to see the work the contractor has completed to inspect the quality of the work.
Though it may take time, drive around and look at job sites for homes under construction in the neighborhood where your investment property is located. If the contractor team is present and working, seek a worker, introduce yourself, and ask to speak with the general contractor.
Ask for contact information and leave your information so someone from the contractor's company can contact you about possible work. Seeing the job site allows you to watch some of their workers and know their job type.
Searching online can reveal multiple contractor options, including a simple Google search or checking the city's local building department for active contractors. The local building department can share information about who has active contracts, has been denied permits, and has failed inspections.
Once you have a list of a few potential contractors, start a search to check their online reviews and recommendations. Understand that there will always be someone unhappy about a business; however, if you see multiple negative reviews sharing the same concern or problems, it might be best to go to the next contact on the list.
Interview the Contractor
Before signing the contract with your contractor, take time to interview them to learn more about their qualifications and to help determine if they're the best person or company to complete the work needed on your investment property. Some of the best questions to ask a contractor include:
- Are you licensed for this type of work?
- What kind of insurance do you carry?
- Can I see your licenses and insurance documentation?
- How many building permits have you obtained in the local area over the past few years?
- Can you provide me with a list of references?
- Do you have an expected timeline for this project?
- Do you hire subcontractors to work on projects?
- Who will be supervising my project?
- Do you offer any form of written warranty?
- What payment schedule do you expect?
- Are there any challenges regarding this project?
- How often do you communicate with clients?
- Take me through a typical workday for you and your crew.
- Will you handle getting all required building permits?
- Can you provide a written lien waiver at the end of the project?
- Are you familiar with renovating this type of home?
Signs of a Bad General Contractor
It may be possible to determine if the contractor is the wrong choice for your property; however, sometimes, it might not be so easy to weed out the bad contractors from the list of possible candidates. Some warning signs of a bad general contractor may include:
- Constantly making excuses
- Prices are significantly lower than others
- Do not offer written contracts/agreements
- Only communicate through phone calls
- Avoid answering questions
- They cannot provide references
- They are unlicensed
- Show up late to meetings
- They have multiple negative reviews
- They do not have experience
- You get a bad feeling about them
- They have poor communication skills
- Do not have the right tools for the job
- Lack enthusiasm
- Refuse to breakdown costs
- Make too many promises
- Have difficulty getting permits
- No online presence
- They do not have contractor's insurance
If you have a rental property that needs renovation, it's always best to hire a general contractor to help with the project. The contractor has the means, tools, and workers to get the job done right and up to code. Take your time when looking for a contractor and do your homework to help ensure you hire the best general contractor for the project.