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How to choose the right contractor

How to choose the right contractor

If you’re a homeowner, chances are is that you may have watched HGTV and Mike Holmes’ Holmes on Homes, Holmes Inspection and Make It Right. We’ve all heard horror stories of a homeowner paying a lot of money to a contractor and then receiving shoddy work or in some cases, they run off with the money.

In 2014, 40 per cent of homeowners are planning renovations within the next 12 months, according to a recent CIBC poll. The top three planned renovations include: basic home maintenance (57 per cent), bathroom renovations (33 per cent) and kitchen renovations (32 per cent).

With Canadians homeowners expected to spend an average of $19,754 on home renovations this year, which is up 29 per cent from last year, according to the poll, it’s crucial that homeowners choose the right person for the job.

It’s important that you take some time to shop around for contractors to do the work. Ask your friends and family for recommendations and what they thought about their work. But also, make sure to do your own extra homework, which includes searching for any reviews about them online.

When you have narrowed your list down to a few contractors you want to use, contact them and get a quote for the job that needs to be done. It’s important to be clear on the specifics and even a walk around by the contractor may help in determining in how much it may cost you. While different contractors may suggest different solutions to handle a problem, it’s important to listen to their feedback and ask questions about what you want done. Try to compare apples to apples when it comes to gathering quotes, so the numbers can help you make a decision.

Also, it’s important that you don’t just rely on a verbal quote. Have a signed written agreement on what work is expected to be complete, along with what costs will be involved, and this way there won’t be any nasty surprises.

Your budget will likely influence who you may choose, but it’s also important to gather references on the contractors you want to use. Ask them for clients they have recently done work for and when contacting them, see if you’re able to go visit their home to see the work they did. It’s important to gather their thoughts on how happy they are with the contractors work and their experience, such as how on time was the project, how much extra costs did their project incur and how good the completed work was. Do your due diligence in contacting multiple references since you are about to pay a contractor about as much as a car.

Some other questions you can ask your contractor include:

  • How many other projects are you working on? This way, you can determine how likely it is that your project will be done on the set date.
  • Discuss payment. It’s never a good idea to pay someone for all the work upfront.
  • Ask about the contractor’s licensing. Every province has their own licensing system for the trades and it’s important that you verify that the contractor holds the appropriate licenses and designations to do the job right.
  • Do they have a permanent mailing address, along with other methods for you to contact them?
  • How long has the contractor been in business for?
  • How well do they work with other subcontractors? There may be multiple people handling one renovation, whether it’s an electrician, plumber, interior designer and remodeler. It’s important that all of these people work well together.

Once you’ve decided on whom you want to use, don’t forget to read the paperwork carefully. This can make a difference if things go awry.

If you’re doing an extensive home renovation that will change 90 per cent of your home’s interior or it will double the size of your house, you may be eligible for an HST rebate. There are also other renovation credits that you might be eligible for.

File your HST rebate properly with Rebate4U and avoid any potential issues with the CRA later on. Our priority is to provide our clients with the most professional and quality service in obtaining rebates for their new and renovated homes. We are proud to offer our clients the most personal and attentive service, and we make sure that all of our clients are 100% satisfied.

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