Rent prices in Los Angeles are almost as high as the temperatures. That’s why Barry and I bought a house for Ian to live in while he goes to college. When we first got it, though, it needed a serious overhaul.
It just had no curb appeal, which we knew would haunt us when we sell it later. Tap or click here for five simple ways to boost your home’s value. Luckily, we took inspiration from the neighbors down the street, who had the yard and driveway of our dreams.
Now that we knew what we wanted to do with the yard, the tricky part came: Choosing a contractor. Picking the wrong person can turn even the smallest job into a nightmare. That’s why I’m sharing three questions you need to ask before you hire someone for a home renovation, big or small.
1. How long have you been in the business?
When pouring money into your home, you want to avoid costly mistakes. Get reassurance by asking potential contractors about their experiences.
Someone with 20 years in the business is still working for a reason. If they perpetually cut corners or hired bad subcontractors, they probably wouldn’t have lasted quite so long.
Of course, this isn’t always the case, which is why this next question is so important.
2. Can I see examples and get some references?
You know what they say: A picture is worth a thousand words. Ask a contractor to provide photos of previous work. The images can give you an idea of what a pro deems good work.
Don’t stop at browsing a photo gallery online or looking at images on the contractor’s phone. Ideally, you should also be able to chat with a past client or two. If the contractor you’re talking to is hesitant to show you any past work or connect you with references, that’s a red flag.
3. What’s the best way to reach you?
I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to work with a contractor or home pro who is hard to reach. Weekly status emails are terrific if you want to be in the loop. Someone who texts might feel intrusive or annoying if you’re more hands-off.
You should also ask if the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. That’s crucial for protecting yourself.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Kim, how can I find someone I can trust to do a renovation for me?”
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