If an investor needs to make improvements or repairs, an experienced general contractor will see that the work is completed on time and within budget. How do you ensure you’re hiring the right one?
Hiring a good general contractor for your investment property is about as important as finding a good dentist. If an investor needs to make improvements or repairs, an experienced general contractor will see that the work is completed on time and within budget. How do you ensure you’re hiring the right one?
The first step is to get references of contractors who have done good work for friends, family and colleagues. Contact several and try to get estimates from at least three contractors. Make sure the references are legitimate and not family members or friends of the contractor. Has he done the same type of work within the same town or city? Much time is wasted while the contractor is learning the ins and outs of getting permits and plans approved. A contractor who has been working in a town for sometime will know the local inspector’s sticking points and the town’s agenda. This can run smoothly if your contractor knows what he is doing but can be a huge time waster if he does not.
Ask each contractor for a copy of his/her insurance certificate. General liability insurance is standard and workman’s compensation is even better. Ask the contractors for their license numbers. Then you can contact the contractor’s state licensing board to see if any complaints have been filed. A contractor who has been in business for a long time and doesn’t have any complaints will be a good choice to provide work on your investment.
When meeting with each, be observant of the details. Was the general contractor punctual and knowledgeable? Did he take notes or indicate he was filing it all in his head? Did he offer suggestions about how to best make alterations or repairs? Make sure you are clear about the scope of work so there isn’t any ambiguity later. A good general contractor listens well to the investor so he fully understands the investor’s intent. As the investor, you may not be aware of all the aspects involved with each area of work you propose but you should feel your general contractor does.
Now that you are receiving estimates, review them thoroughly. Did the contractor provide a detailed scope of work including everything you mentioned when you met? If there were alternatives discussed, did he provide a separate price? Finally, is he asking for more than thirty percent as a down payment? If he is your first choice and he is asking for more, ask why. And, the final payment should never be requested until the work has been completed and a satisfactory walk through done.
As an investor, this may seem like a part of the process you would rather not have to handle. In that case, a good investment agent can take care of this for you. Consider working with a wholesaler who can provide a turnkey investment enabling you to start making a profit and possibly looking for your next investment.