House remodels are tough, man. You’re the one who has to live in the house for the foreseeable future, and yet, when it comes to remodeling the place to be what you want it to be, you have to rely on someone else. That is, unless you’re a contractor yourself or are at least exceptionally handy.
But if you’re like most of us and are neither a contractor nor construction-inclined, you’ll need a professional for your job, and not just any professional, but a reliable one.
So how do you find them? There are plenty of contractors out there who are sub-par, as in, they start a job and never return, or they don’t actually know what they claim to know.
Here are a few ways to find a good contractor.
Use the NRIA
First, you can use the NRIA, or National Residential Improvement Association. This independent organization provides homeowners with all kinds of useful resources for home improvement, such as lists of government loans or grants for which they might be eligible. The NRIA provides all of this for free. If you’ve been struggling to learn all about the remodels you need, the NRIA is a good place to start. They can even help you find reliable contractors in your area who can do your jobs to your specifications.
Nothing beats the good old referral from a friend. There’s no reason for friends or family to tell you anything less than the truth in this area. It’s simple: if they used someone for a job and had a good experience, they’re going to let you know. If you ask, and your friend had a terrible experience, you’ll get a first-hand account of the whole bloody affair. Maybe a contractor you were considering doesn’t clean up after himself. That might be someone to avoid. Then you can go from there.
Finally, there’s the famous interview. Don’t hire contractors based on their prices alone. Sit them down and question them about everything you want to know. How far out are they from starting? Once they start, do they come back every day, or do they do a little here and there? Decide what you’re willing to tolerate and what is just unacceptable. Don’t be afraid to be completely honest here. It’s your house and your money. Get the answers you want, and then make the best decision for you.