If you’re about to list your home on the market but need to complete some renovation or repair work first, your decision on who to hire to complete the work can have a major impact on how much your home sells for and if it sells within your desired timeframe.
Just as you took your time searching Hamilton real estate lawyers and real estate agents until you found the right fit, finding a contractor in Hamilton you can trust to do quality work and complete the project on time and on budget will take some time and effort.
One of the best ways to gauge the professionalism of home reno contractors is by analyzing their estimates. These are some of the things to look for when you start getting estimates.
Contact Information and Business Name and Number
Use the identifying information, such as the business name, phone number, address, business number, contact’s name, etc., and look it all up online to see what you find. You also want to confirm that all the information matches.
You can also use their information to look them up on the Ontario business registry to find out how long ago the business was registered and their principal place of business. Take a look at their website again and online reviews to see how far back they go. If the business was registered some time ago, but all their reviews are fairly recent, this may not mean anything, but there’s also the possibility they took their Google listing or website down or changed the business name because of bad reviews.
It’s also a good idea to look up any license or insurance numbers provided on the estimate to confirm they are legitimate.
A Detailed Work Order
As contractors complete a site inspection, they should ask questions to confirm the work you want done and to know your expectations for the outcome of the project.
Ideally, the estimate will include a breakdown of all the necessary steps with a timeline for each and a labour cost attached to each step.
The estimate should also include a detailed and itemized list of all building materials needed, the brand names, product numbers and prices of each.
Terms, Conditions and Warranties of the Estimate
It’s common for a contractor’s estimate to include terms and conditions of the estimate. An example is a condition that if there are delays outside of the contractor’s control, the timelines provided in the estimate would no longer be applicable.
The contractor may also include an expiry date on the estimate, after which it will no longer be valid. This is sometimes done to protect the contractor from someone trying to hold them to an old estimate. Expiry dates are also common during times when prices for building materials fluctuate and can rise significantly in a short amount of time.
You should always get at least three estimates from contractors and compare them for discrepancies in costs or timelines. And when you do choose a contractor, have them include the estimate in the contract for services before you sign it. Ontario Law states that a contractor can not charge you more than 10% above the total estimate cost if the estimate is included in the home reno contract unless you agree to a new price or work order.