As a homeowner, I have been struggling to figure out what to consider when selecting a good building contractor. After building a few homes, here are some tips to share.
- Watch out for those who claim that they can do things cheaper then others. When reviewing the estimates, do pay attention to the details to check what is included. I found some estimates do not include the cost of finish products, such as kitchen cabinets, repairs after demolition.
- Even for a simple item like a bathroom facet, the cost can vary from $20 to a few thousands of dollars. Discuss with your building contractor about the level of quality you expect, so that appropriate materials are selected and reflected in your budget. And ask for amounts allocated as allowance.
- Do not pay your building contractor the entire amount up front, and make sure to agree on pay schedule according to the progress of your project. No good home builders will ask you to pay the lump sum in advance.
- Make sure you have a proper contract signed and all necessary paperwork in place before starting your project. In the event of the problems during or after the project, this will save you from trouble.
- Although most cities accept the plans prepared by designers without architect licenses, it is in your best interest to hire a licensed architect who will be responsible for any problems during or after the permit issuance. Otherwise, you as a homeowner will be liable for any architectural or structural problems you may be encountering at a later phase.