Home Improvement Professionals
If you don't happen to be a home improvement expert yourself, you may need to hire a professional for that new addition or refurbished kitchen. But just like in any other field, not all home improvement professionals offer quality work at reasonable rates. You need to do your research, ask around, and know exactly what you're looking for.
This article explains the process of finding a home improvement professional and describes the various types. See FindLaw's Home Improvement and Contractors section, which includes How to Avoid Contractor Rip-Offs, for more information.
How to Find a Home Improvement Professional
Whether you're planning an addition for a growing family or simply getting new storm windows, finding a competent and reliable contractor is the first step to a successful and satisfying home improvement project.
Your home may be your most valuable financial asset. That's why it's important to be cautious when you hire someone to work on it. Home improvement and repair and maintenance contractors often advertise in newspapers, the Yellow Pages, and on the radio and TV. However, don't consider an ad an indication of the quality of a contractor's work. Your best bet is a reality check from those in the know: friends, neighbors, or co-workers who have had improvement work done. Get written estimates from several firms. Ask for explanations for price variations. Don't automatically choose the lowest bidder.
Types of Home Improvement Professionals
Depending on the size and complexity of your project, you may choose to work with a number of different professionals:
- General Contractors manage all aspects of your project, including hiring and supervising subcontractors, getting building permits, and scheduling inspections. They also work with architects and designers.
- Speciality Contractors install particular products, such as cabinets and bathroom fixtures.
- Architects design homes, additions, and major renovations. If your project includes structural changes, you may want to hire an architect who specializes in home remodeling.
- Designers have expertise in specific areas of the home, such as kitchens and baths.
- Design/Build Contractors provide one-stop service. They see your project through from start to finish. Some firms have architects on staff; others use certified designers.
Remember, proper preparation and scrutiny when hiring a home improvement professional can make all the difference in how your project turns out.