Fixer Uppers Homes
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Mistakes Homeowners Make When Hiring a Contractor

Below are some common mistakes homeowners make when hiring a contractor. Many homeowners want to fix their homes up themselves as much as possible, however, it is important to know how to hire contractors and what mistakes other homeowners often make when hiring a contractor. There are so many contractor scams out there and homeowners should do as much homework as possible before hiring a contractor to avoid making mistakes.

Mistake #1: Not getting enough estimates

Buying a fixer upper home can be overwhelming. Many homeowners intend to get more than one estimate from contractors but end up getting less. You should always get at least THREE estimates on any fixer upper real estate project. Statistics shows that if you get 3 contractor estimates, you will find about 20% difference between the higher bidder's price and the lowest. Meeting different contractors before a fixer upper project allows homeowners to gauge how they can get along with the contractors.

Mistake #2: Not negotiating discounts

How to get a contractor's discount?

By meeting different contractors and getting different estimates, you will find a range of prices. You can take the lowest bid you get and negotiate a discount with the contractor you feel the most comfortable with. Most professional contractors will meet any competing realistic estimates.

Mistake #3: Meet with contractors too early

Getting estimates take up both your time and the contractors' time. It is best to wait until you are ready to start your project before you ask the contractors to meet with you. Some real estate investors, especially new real estate investors, are told to find out the estimates before the job is even in sight so that they could budget or find out how much to make an offer for.  If you just want to get an idea of how much fixing a particular property would cost, there is no need to meet with contractors. Instead, you can get the ballpark figures by:

  • calling the material suppliers (look in the yellow pages),
  • telling them what you want done and
  • asking what the average going rates are
Mistake #4: Not asking for enough references

Always ask for at least 5 references for each of the contractors who give you the estimate. The references homeowners should ask from contractors are:

  • three from the people they have done work for
  • one from their material supplier
  • one from a customer that needed the contractor to come back to fix something

What to ask the material supplier about the contractor?

When talking to the material supplier, you want to ask them:

  • how long has the contractor been a customer of theirs?
  • do they recommend the contractor?
  • has anyone ever complained to them about the contractor?

What if the contractor says that he or she never had to go back to fix anything at any job?

That's very unlikely to be true, although most of the newer contractors will say so. Contractors that admit that they sometimes have to return to fix something are more trust worthy. Good contractors will go back to fix whatever they didn't the first time to keep the customers happy.

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