The BBB suggests that you solicit two or three bids for the remodeling work you are planning. Do not automatically accept the lowest offer. Make sure all bids are based on the same set of specifications and materials to be used. Ask for local references and inspect the finished projects. Check to see if the contractor is a member of a professional association which has standards for members. Make sure the contractor is in compliance with all local licensing, bonding, and insurance requirements, and that any necessary building permit is obtained.
Never sign a blank or partially blank contract. Typically a down payment of one-third of the total contract price is made with additional payments made after completion of each phase of work; final payment should not be made until work is completed and you have inspected the work. If the contractor arranges financing for the remodeling work to be done, be sure you understand all aspects of the financial terms, especially if a second mortgage of your home is used as security for the remodeling work. You may want to inquire about inserting an arbitration clause into your contract in case of any dispute between you and your contractor.
Quick Check List-
Before selecting a remodeling contractor, you should do the following:
* Plan your project from start to finish;
* Be specific in explaining exactly what you want;
* Be sure to approve any architectural plans that are involved before the contract work begins;
* Compare costs before making a financial commitment;
* Discuss bids in detail with each contractor;
* Ask the contractor for local references and find out if he or she is a member of a professional remodelers association;
* Contact the BBB to learn how long a contractor has been in business;
* Find out if a contractor is insured against claims covering worker's compensation, property damage, and personal liability;
* Check with state, county, or city housing authorities to be sure that a contractor meets all area licensing/bonding requirements.