Before we get started, the name of this post was a website I found many many moons ago. The site goes over the do's and don'ts when hiring contractors and does include some helpful articles to help out homeowners when choosing a contractor for your next remolding or home improvement project.
The reason I'm writting this post is because of repeated frustrating experiences home owners have with contractors. Dealing with the unprofessional or unethical (or both) contractors is an absolute nightmare for both the home owner and potential home buyer.
What many home sellers and buyers don't realize is that contractors they hire can jeapordize the sale of a home.
When under contract, a home owner is obligated to make all agreed upon repairs prior to settlement, including those required by the township, lenders, etc. We also operate under a "time of the essence" clause, which obligates the home seller to complete everything within the time frame contractually agreed upon. If the repairs aren't completed it could cause the sale to fall through and the buyer to walk from the transaction, the township to fail the c/o, the lender to deny financing, credits given to the buyer, or money held in escrow until the repairs are completed which could affect the seller's next home purchase. Regardless of whether you are the home seller who is having to deal with the complications of unprofessional contractors, or the home buyer who has made their plans to move into the home and their plans delayed, it's a messy and complicated situation for all.
When you are in the middle of a real estate transaction, or even if your are planning to do a few home remodeling projects and improvements, be sure the contractor you hire is reputable, professional, has other home owners in the area for refrences you can contact, and don't forget to check up on them at your local Better Business Bureau.
For those that cannot find contractors that are highly recommended by your friends, neighbors, or family, the Fedral Trade Commission has a full list of tips and advice for hiring a contractor. Interview potential contractors, keep those tips in mind and make sure they conduct their business professionally. Do they return your calls promptly? Arrive at the appointment on time? Are competive in pricing? Are they licensed and insured? Will they give you a written estimate and warranty of product AND workmanship? Make sure they do NOT require a large deposit upfront. (Yes, I've even had a client that found a contractor - I'm not sure how - and decided to pay for the job in full upfront, never to see the contractor again.)
So protect yourself, your investment, and your real estate transaction by doing the required research to make sure you are hiring a reliable, professional, contractor.