If ever there was a daunting decision to be made about your home, hiring a contractor would be top of the list. If renovating, who will understand what you're looking for and have the professional know-how to implement? If updating a kitchen or bathroom, who do you call on to get the job done, and get it done right? How do you find that person you trust implicitly with your biggest baby, your home?

Here's 10 tips that will help you zero in on the right contractor for you:

1. Recommendations from Reliable Sources - Your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors will be your best source for finding the phenomenal contractor of your dreams, so ask! If it helps, take a look at the work they had done by the contractor they recommended.

2. Check the Legitimacy of the Contractor - Before the hire is made, make sure your contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. Ask that they provide proof of insurance by showing certificates for workers compensation and their general liability policy. It's better to be safe than sorry!

3. Contact BBB - You'll be able to find out if any complaints have been filed against a contractor by contacting your local BBB (Better Business Bureau). Visit their site, www.bbb.org, for more tips on hiring contractors!

4. Obtain Estimates in Writing - If you've been given the names of several different contractors, call them all to have them give written estimates for the work you need done. Estimates are generally free, so you may not want to hire someone who charges for this. When you get an estimate in writing, be sure it includes any and every oral agreement made between you and the contractor, and a line-by-line cost breakdown that includes labor and materials.

5. Ask the Contractor for Referrals - It is perfectly reasonable to ask the contractor (politely, of course) for names and numbers of their previous customers. Hearing about the experience of other customers firsthand will speak volumes about the contractor in question.

6. Measure Price & Quality - The saying "You get what you pay for" is often true, but it's also possible to be paying out the wazoo for poor quality. Therefore, do not rely solely on the dollar signs in front of you. On top of price, assess the quality of the contractor's workmanship, as well as making sure quality materials and construction techniques are being applied.

7. Collect a Copy of the Contract - The contract should include a start and end date, spell out the work that is to be done, payment agreements and warranty info. It should ALSO include a "hold harmless" clause that should benefit you as the client as it states the contractor will indemnify you for your liability to those who may be injured or whose property was damaged in the course of the contract's work. Seek the consult of your attorney for confirmation of proper terms and conditions.

8. There's No Pressure to Sign a Contract Immediately - Red flags should go off in your head if a contractor requires you to quickly sign a contract before the "price changes." Most of the time you won't receive an estimated price that is subject to change in a day or week's time.

9. For Peace of Mind, Hire an Attorney - Hiring an attorney to review your contract before signing is a resourceful decision if the job you need done is major or concerns a large sum of money.

10. Alert Your Insurance Company - Before the contractor gets started, contact your insurance agent to notify him/her of the work that is about to take place on your home. Your agent should clarify if you're currently covered sufficiently and disclose if you have different insurance needs before, during and after the work is completed.

If you're a homeowner and you found these tips to be helpful, great! If you're looking to buy a home in the near future, don't hesitate to contact us anytime! With 22 years of real estate experience, we can help you find just what you're looking for.



Content courtesy of Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.


Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel HillDurhamCarrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website at www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is Chapel Hil & Durham's EXCLUSIVE  member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price pointsMasha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com.