Protecting Your Interests with the Remodel Contractor

Hiring a reputable contractor and that you are comfortable working with him is one of the most important aspects of your remodel project. Following are some tips on protecting your interests with the remodel contractor.

images1. Ask your friends or your local gay real estate agent to recommend some contractors that they have had a good experience with on their remodel project. Their suggestions can help steer you to some reliable remodel contractors who do quality work.

2. Obtain an estimate from each contractor. Make sure you understand what the covers and that it contains a complete listing of all of the work that you would like completed on your project.

3. Check to make sure that the contractor is licensed. State licensing laws vary, but many states offer dispute resolution services and may have state funds available to help settle disputes and compensate the homeowner. In addition, licensing is a good indication that the contractor is qualified to do the job.

4. Do not sign the estimate unless it clearly states that it does not constitute a contractual agreement to complete the work. Instead, once you have chosen a contractor, draft a contractor agreement. The contract should cover work to be completed, cost, approximate timelines to complete the job and any other aspects of the remodel that you and the contractor are agreeing to. This will help ensure that there are no misunderstandings during the course of the work.

5. Include a payment plan in the contractor agreement. For example, 10 or 15 percent to begin the project and then payments at each phase as it is completed. Be sure to inspect the work to make sure it has been completed to your satisfaction before making a payment.

6. Payments to the contractor should be made by check. This method will ensure that you have proof of payment in the event that there is a dispute.

7. After the work begins, make sure that you monitor its progress. A good way to do that is to visit the site at the end of each workday. Check to see that progress is being made and that items that have been delivered for installation are the quality of material and the color that you wanted.

8. Subcontractors and material suppliers can put a mechanics lien on your home if they are not paid. Make sure they have all been paid before you release the final payment to the contractor. You can do this by requesting proof from the contractor, or releases from the subcontractors and material suppliers. The releases should list how much is owed and contain a statement that the lien will be released once the listed amount is paid. If the amounts have not been paid once the project is complete, pay them out of the final payment and remit the remainder to the contractor.

9. Do not make a final payment to the contractor until any final inspections required by state laws or county ordinances have been completed satisfactorily.

10. Make sure that you obtain all the paperwork, including warranty cards, from the contractor for the appliances and equipment that have been installed.

Protecting your interest with the remodel contractor will help ensure that the job goes according to plan and that it is completed in a timely manner. It will also make the remodel process less stressful so that you can enjoy watching your project come together.

Should we Remodel our Home or Sell “As Is”?

This question is a common headache for many homeowners visiting Gay Real Estate when considering placing their home on the market.  On one hand, a remodel could create a diamond in the rough, and possibly even encourage a faster sale.  On another, selling as-is in a competitive market could save months of listing time if priced right.

 

When You Should Remodel

Analyzing your competition can be a great way to gain insight into what buyers are looking for in your market.  It’s easy to assume a feature or amenity should immediately increase the value of your home.  In some cases it will, but many times a remodel will only bring your home to the market readiness of other similar homes in your neighborhood.

You should consider remodeling a room in your home if any of the following applies:

1) When analyzing sold history and currently active homes on the market, you find that this particular remodel is commonly found.

2) The room is in dire need of attention and a simple clean up won’t suffice to get it market-ready.

3) When analyzing sold history, a predominant higher price is offered for homes with this particular remodel.

You’re likely to never recoup the entire cost of a remodel, but getting your home up to par may be necessary to get your home sold in a reasonable amount of time.

 

When You Should Sell As-Is

If your home can be considered a “benchmark” home, or a home that is already loaded with amenities not commonly found in your market, you should consider selling as-is.  While a pricey remodel will certainly make your home shine during an open house, it usually costs more than it’s worth.  

You should consider selling your home as-is if your home meets any of the following criteria:

1) The average price per square foot in your market is deteriorating (down market).

2) Your home can be considered a “benchmark” home, or a home that has more features and amenities than the competition.

3) Your home is already on par with other active properties in the area.

 

The Rule of Thumb

First, ensure that your home meets the standard set by the competition currently for sale in your market.  If your home is not up to par, you should consider remodeling. 

If your home shares the same features and amenities as its competition, then you should consider selling as-is to avoid leaving any money on the table.  A remodel is always a nice selling feature, but many times it does not make financial sense and is simply a waste of time.

Take the time to get with your real estate agent to analyze your competition, and base your decision on what buyers are demanding in your particular real estate market.

Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of www.GayRealestate.com ~ Instant Free Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast-to-Coast.