Tips for hiring a remodeling contractor

By Joni Ribera, Let's Talk Real Estate

About a year ago, we did a major remodel to our home.

We actually took a small home built in 1941, gutted it and added a second story. We acted as our own general contractors, and let me tell you, I had no idea what this really meant and how much work it was.

From picking out doorknobs, sinks, lighting, molding, paint and toilets, I did it all. The project was under construction for almost six months. I learned a lot and thought I would share with you about hiring contractors.

With the cost of homes now, many of us are just updating, remodeling and staying put. It was way more work than I had expected. I am happy it is done; we love our “new” home.

Should you decide to go this route and have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. I am happy to give you whatever tips I can.

12 tips for hiring a remodeling contractor

• Get at least three written estimates.

• Check references. If possible, view earlier jobs the contractor completed.

• Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau for complaints.

• Be sure the contract states exactly what is to be done and how change orders will be handled.

• Make as small of a down payment as possible so you won’t lose a lot if the contractor fails to complete the job.

• Be sure that the contractor has the necessary permits, licenses and insurance.

• Check that the contract states when the work will be completed and what recourse you have if it isn’t. Also, remember that in many instances you can cancel a contract within three business days of signing it.

• Ask if the contractor’s workers will do the entire job or whether subcontractors will be involved.

• Get the contractor to indemnify you if work doesn’t meet local building codes or regulations.

• Be sure that the contract specifies the contractor will clean up after the job and be responsible for any damage.

• Guarantee that the materials that will be used meet your specifications.

• Don’t make the final payment until you’re satisfied with the work.

Federal Way real estate agent Joni Ribera: (253) 632-5779 or Also visit

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