If you are reading this article or on the InHomeVest website, chances are you are looking for contractor to handle your work.
First question: do the work yourself or do you need to find a reputable contractor? In any event, you need an accurate estimate of the project cost. Doing the work yourself can be difficult if you aren’t a remodeling expert. Plus, you lose the benefits of warranties and service. Any good contractor will not charge you for an estimate and doesn’t require you to make a decision immediately. The best recommendation is to examine both and weigh the pros and cons based on your skill level. Most often, contracting with a remodeling specialist is the right way to go.
Hiring a Contractor
When hiring a contractor, start with a firm bid, written, and clearly describing the work to be completed. Avoid the pressure tactics and realize they are often a smoke screen for under-qualified contractors.
Ask the tough questions to get a good, solid bid:
- How long have they been in business?
- How many total jobs have they completed as a company?
- What is their BBB rating?
- Ask about their insurance and warranty and service process.
- Who do they partner with on their financing? Often times, a contractor who has a partnership with an established bank or credit union means they have earned credibility with lenders. It isn’t easy to land solid financing and it’s harder to keep it. Ask whom they do business with and for how long.
- Do they use sub-contractors?
- Ask about their website. Does it look professional? Do they have one? How current is the information and do they show completed projects?
- Ask to talk to other customers who have had similar work done. Nothing is better than a customer testimonial.
Finding the right contractor is essential. It gets you a good bid with clear expectations of cost and quality of work. That bid price will lead you to answer a couple key questions: how much money will I need and can I afford it?
Find total project cost and determine payments.
Know what you need and then pull out your family budget for a reality check.
How much you need may be your dream home.
How much you need may be broken down over time into multiple projects.
Categorize between the wants and the needs. You need A/C, but a stained, three level deck is a luxury item.
Determine the monthly payment amount that fits your budget.
Be mindful of interest rates and terms. Costs can be buried and unknown if you only focus on payment.
Overcoming Budgeting Obstacles
Despite promises contractors and lenders make in their ads and promotional materials, how much you can borrow hinges on your credit rating, the loan-to-value ratio, and your income.