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How to select a remodeler

Before interviewing prospective remodelers, consider what factors are most important to you:

• Reputation
• Certifications
• Experience
• Portfolio of past projects
• Experience in building "green"
• Experience in designing for aging-in-place
• Energy efficiency building
• Ability to communicate effectively
• Craftsmanship
• Honesty
• Schedule availablity
• Warranties
• Price

Be sure to ask the following questions when considering whom to choose for a remodeling project.

1. Is the contractor licensed?


Request a copy of the contractor's license. If the contractor can't provide one, there is a reason. Do not hire his or her firm. Be sure the license covers the type of work you are undertaking.

2. Does the contractor carry worker’s compensation insurance?


Workers' compensation insurance protects the homeowner from liability if a worker in injured on your property. If the contractor doesn't carry worker's compensation, the homeowner may be liable for any injuries incurred during the remodeling process.

3. Will the contractor provide a written lien waiver?


A contractor should provide a homeowner with a Written Lien Waiver at the end of the job. This is a legal document, which says, you, the homeowner, have paid the contractor in full for the services rendered, and the contractor waives his right to place a “mechanic’s lien” on your property. If during the course of construction, you receive any Preliminary Lien Notices from material suppliers or subcontractors, it would be prudent to ask the contractor for a Final Release of Lien from each one, prior to paying the contractor his final payment. This protects you in case the contractor doesn’t pay his material suppliers or subcontractors after you have paid him in full.

4. Will the contractor provide all the required building permits?


Make sure your contractor provides all required permits. This is very important. When a contractor acquires the required building permits, you know things will be done to “code.” Also, many homeowners’ insurance policies require permits for any major remodeling to keep your home properly covered. If a contractor asks the homeowner to get the permits, it's a warning sign that they are unable to obtain them because they are unlicensed, or the work is outside of their license. A reputable contractor will obtain permits for every job when a permit is required.

5. Is a guarantee provided?


A reputable contractor will guarantee his work for at least one year from date of completion.