Maybe you’re a home seller who needs to make major repairs/renovations before listing, or perhaps you’re a buyer who wants to add on to or remodel that new home. Either way, you’ve likely discovered that you need some professional construction help. But choosing the right contractor (usually a general contractor) involves a lot more than considering the cost. If you don’t make the right choice, it will cost you time and frustration . . . and money. So make the right choice by checking out these 5 things to look for when choosing a contractor in Seattle.
1. Relevant Experience
When choosing a contractor in Seattle, one of the first things you have to do is to make sure the contractor has plenty of experience. And that means primarily recent, verifiable, and relevant experience.
According to industry pros, you “should ask [a] potential . . . contractor for a list of their current jobs. You should make sure that you are visiting these sites so that you can determine if they are recent and real. The right contractor will be able to get you a list right on the spot and they will insist that you go to the site to visit it. If you do not get the contractor who will hand over a list, you should move on to the next one. This is a sign that they are not great contractors.”
Further, a contractor’s experience should be relevant. You wouldn’t, for example, want to hire a contractor who specializes in nothing but new commercial construction when your job is a residential room addition. Choosing the right contractor will save a lot of headaches, so be sure to contact a Seattle agent at (206) 578-3438 for a list of contractors who can handle your job well.
2. Good References
After, checking for relevant experience, you should then move on to references. And they need to be plentiful and favorable.
At this stage of choosing a contractor in Seattle (that is, after seeing some contractors’ projects of which you approve), you should “request references and call contractors’ former customers to check up on them. Ask how the contractors did at executing the projects. Were they on time and on a budget? Were the customers pleased with the outcome? Was there anything that could have been done differently?”
Also, keep in mind that when hiring a contractor, you are buying a service, not a product. And this means that the quality of the service will play a huge role in the quality of the finished product. So make a point to ask contractors’ former clients about the quality of service provided.
3. Credentials and Licenses
A good contractor in Seattle will also have all the necessary credentials and licenses, the next thing to look into after getting and checking references.
“[D]o some preliminary research, whether it’s with a phone call or a visit to the contractor’s website. Find out whether [the contractor] holds all the required licenses from state and local municipalities, along with designations from any professional associations such as the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and the National Association of Homebuilders. Look for contractors who have invested in coursework and passed rigorous tests to earn particular certifications. Be aware, however, that not all certifications are created equal. Do some homework and find out the requirements.”
4. Accessibility and Communication
In addition, your contractor in Seattle should be accessible and willing to communicate regularly. You’ll be investing a lot of money in this project, so make sure a prospective contractor will give you regular updates and progress reports, as well as being accessible so that you can discuss any issues or problems that may arise.
Your contractor should also be willing to address all your concerns and answer your questions by your preferred communication method, whether phone or email or text. If the contractor is not willing or “able to have open communication with you during the process of your job,” then you should probably look elsewhere.
5. Access to and Management of Subcontractors
As we mentioned early on, your contractor in Seattle will likely be a general contractor. This means that she will have a few or several subcontractors – that’s just standard practice in the industry. So a potential contractor must have access to top-notch subcontractors and be able to manage them well.
“Nearly all companies use subcontractors for the mechanical trades such as plumbing and electrical, and most use subs for excavation and foundation work, roofing, drywall, and painting. On smaller jobs, they may do some or all of this work with their own crew members.” But the point is that a general contractor is busy and must able to manage it all – much “like the conductor of an orchestra making sure each section comes it at the right time.”
Consult Your Agent When Choosing a Contractor in [market-city]
So always keep firmly in mind when choosing a contractor that not all contractors are created equal – some don’t have the experience, some are simply inept, and some engage in shady business practices. But your Seattle real estate agent can help you steer clear of the bad ones and find a good one. To find out more about what to look for when choosing a contractor in Seattle, contact us today at (206) 578-3438.