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Hiring a Contractor

Part 2 of 2

by Jill Santandrea, Broker Manager, EXIT Homestead Realty Professionals

As we discussed last week, hiring a contractor can be stressful. It’s a lot to take in, but I just want you to protect yourself and your assets. Do your due diligence; it will pay off in the end. Here are some questions to ask a general contractor:

• How long have you been in business?

• Have you worked on similar projects?

• Do you have a reference list that for me?

• Does your company carry workers’ compensation and liability insurance?

• Are you bonded?

• Who will supervise the project on-site?

• Who will be my point of contact for job progress, changes or other issues?

• What work will you subcontract?

• What efforts do you take to ensure the site is clean and safe for children and to prevent dust and dirt from entering the living areas (if you’re remodeling)?

Beware of doing business with contractors who do the following:

• Give you a quote before seeing the job.

• Demand a large deposit upfront to purchase materials. Most contractors will have a charge account with suppliers.

• Insist you sign a contract on the first visit. Once you’ve discussed the project with a contractor, they’ll likely come back with a plan/drawings and a written estimate.

Sort out the details before work begins.

Payment: If your project is large, you may pay 10 percent upon signing the contract, followed by three milestone payments of 25 percent. The final 15 percent is often due upon completion of the project. Use the milestone payments as a time to review the project’s status and ensure your expectations and the contract standards are being met.

Time: If you’d like work done in a particular timeframe or have other requests, discuss with the contractor beforehand.

Expectations: Understand what the contractor expects from you. For example, do you need to clear the room before work begins? Will you need to board your pet?

Get everything in writing: The contract should include a payment schedule, proof of insurance (liability and workers’ compensation), start and completion dates and lien releases from all subcontractors and suppliers. The contract should also include:

• A detailed description of the project, explaining the materials to be used and what is being subcontracted.

• All building permits to be obtained by the contractor and reassurance that all work will be compliant with building codes.

• A statement of warranties, including what’s covered and for how long.

• A statement of contractor’s liability and property damage insurance.

• Price and terms of payment.

Jill Santandrea, Broker Manager, EXIT Homestead Realty Professionals LLC, 1070 E Chestnut Ave, Vineland, NJ 08360; 856-692-EXIT; Cell: 856-362-0967; Direct: 888-856-5455;; E-mail:; Text JillS to 85377 for my mobile business card. Listen to Jill on 99.9FM SNJ Radio Today. Source: 2019 Buffini & Company