Home Remodelers Survival Guide #6: Costly Mistakes Buyers Often Make

Not Following Up on References
We’ve all been taught to get references but oftentimes people fail to follow through and actually check them! Most people get a list of references, but don’t call. Do not just assume they will be good. Go ahead and check out the references you are given. A reputable contractor will welcome the opportunity for you to talk to his past clients and will be delighted to show off his previous work.
Not Inspecting the Contractor’s Work
Ask to see completed projects as well as a job in progress. For current projects, take a close look around. Is the job site neat and clean? Do things appear to be organized? Are the homeowners happy or are they disappointed?
Also, you’ll want to make sure to ask for, and follow-up on, supplier and banking references. You will want to make sure your contractor is on stable financial ground. Make sure he is current with his suppliers. Be especially wary of a contractor who can’t give you any local supplier references. He probably owes them money.
Selecting a Contractor Based On Price
We’ve already discussed this, but it is clearly the most common mistake so it definitely warrants repeating. Certainly, a price can and should be a factor in choosing your contractor but should not be the main determining factor. You’ll be far better off choosing a contractor you feel comfortable with and working together with him to design a project that will serve you AND will fit your budget. A reputable contractor won’t make foolish mistakes just to save money.
Believe me, the last thing you want after a contractor has begun work on your home is to have that sinking feeling of having made a terrible mistake and wanting him gone. Bad experiences usually accompany the low price. Do your homework.Do not be influenced by a low price.
“It’s unwise to pay too much but is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done! If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.”–John Ruskin (1819-1900) – English art critic and writer