You need a contractor for a remodeling project, but where should you start?  Whether you are buying a home, selling a home, or looking to add value to your current residence, finding a good contractor can make all the difference in achieving a quality end result.  Here are some tips from Tom Silva, general contractor at This Old House and why they are important.

Ask around.  According to the Houston Remodelers Council, you should contact your local home builders’ association for the names of member builders and remodelers.  For the Conroe area go to Greater Houston Builders Association. You can also ask family, friends or coworkers for recommendations.  Make sure the builder or home remodeler has a permanent business location and a good reputation with local banks and suppliers.

Meet face to face.  Sometimes a good relationship comes down to chemistry as well as references.  You have to feel comfortable with your choice.  It helps to do phone and in person interviews.  Make sure you can easily communicate with the builder because you will be working closely together.

Do your homework.  GHBA suggests that you find out how long they have been in the building business. It usually takes three to five years to establish a financially sound business. You want to make sure they will be around after the construction is complete to service any warranties. Check out the company’s rating and if there have been any complaints filed with your local Better Business Bureau: After you have your top choices, take the time to find out how his or her last few projects went.  A good contractor should be happy to provide you with the contact for a previous client or show you a current job site.  Take notice of whether or not the site is safe and tidy.  Are the workers courteous and considerate of the property?

Make plans, get bids.  Silva says “A conscientious contractor will want not only a complete set of blueprints but also a sense of what homeowners want out of a project and what they plan to spend. To compare bids, ask everyone to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and other expenses. Generally, materials account for 40 percent of the total cost; the rest covers overhead and the typical profit margin, which is 15 to 20 percent.”

Consider more than the Price.  It’s important to stay within your budget, but there are many factors to consider that will determine the best value for your money.  Be cautious of an unusually low bid.  Make sure the contractor has worker’s compensation insurance and uses quality materials.  If you’re in a pre-1978 home, choose an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Renovator.

Put it in writing. Make sure your contract is clearly written and that you feel comfortable before the project starts; this will benefit both client and contractor.

When it is time to remodel, keep these important tips in mind and you can relax and enjoy peace of mind while adding value to your home! If you are ready to sell, or buy a home, REALTY TEXAS LCA, Inc. is here to help you with all of your real estate needs! If you are looking to buy or sell, call me, Laura Austin, at (281) 789-2911 or (936) 321-2977, or email me at You can also visit me at my website for available listings and additional information.

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