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3 tips for finding a contractor and minimizing conflict

Deciding to renovate or build a house is not a decision North Carolina homeowners make lightly. Even minor projects can wind up being expensive and time-consuming, so once you decide to do this, it is critical that you hire the right people to help you.

For instance, if you are going to hire a residential contractor, you will want to be sure he or she is qualified and trustworthy in order to avoid common construction disputes. After all, this is the person who will typically be in charge of overseeing the project, hiring subcontractors, managing the timeline and making critical decisions about design and engineering. If you are looking to hire a contractor, there are a few things you should consider in order to protect yourself and your project.

  1. Check out reviews and recommendations. Get an idea of a contractor's work and experience by looking at reviews online, reaching out to other customers and getting recommendations from friends and family members. Talking to people who have actually worked with the contractor can give you valuable insight.
  2. Do some homework on your project. Having some background on details like materials, common problems and expected timelines of projects like yours can help you know what to look for in a contractor and what questions you will want to ask.
  3. Don't be afraid to ask questions. This is your home and your money, so asking questions will be crucial (and expected). Ask prospective contractors about timelines, cost, licensing, insurance, suggestions for making the project better and his or her qualifications.
  4. Use a written contract! Having a written contract protects all parties to the transaction.

These relatively simple steps can go a long way in protecting your financial interests, your home and your peace of mind during a construction project. Other suggestions can be found in articles like this one from This Old House.

Unfortunately, there are problems that can arise before, during or after a construction project, even when you do everything you can to prevent them. In these situations, a fifth step you can take to protect yourself is to consult an attorney familiar with construction litigation and disputes. With legal guidance, you can explore traditional and non-traditional ways to resolve the dispute legally and effectively. 

  1. Check out reviews and recommendations. Get an idea of a contractor's work and experience by looking at reviews online, reaching out to other customers and getting recommendations from friends and family members. Talking to people who have actually worked with the contractor can give you valuable insight.
  2. Do some homework on your project. Having some background on details like materials, common problems and expected timelines of projects like yours can help you know what to look for in a contractor and what questions you will want to ask.
  3. Don't be afraid to ask questions. This is your home and your money, so asking questions will be crucial (and expected). Ask prospective contractors about timelines, cost, licensing, insurance, suggestions for making the project better and his or her qualifications. 

These relatively simple steps can go a long way in protecting your financial interests, your home and your peace of mind during a construction project. Other suggestions can be found in articles like this one from This Old House.

Unfortunately, there are problems that can arise before, during or after a construction project, even when you do everything you can to prevent them. In these situations, a fourth step you can take to protect yourself is to consult an attorney familiar with construction litigation and disputes. With legal guidance, you can explore traditional and non-traditional ways to resolve the dispute legally and effectively.

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