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Don't rush your choice of contractors

Few home renovations are cheap, and a quality upgrade may require a sizable investment. You likely did your research. Perhaps it began with evenings on the sofa scrolling through window and wall treatments, appliances and fixtures. Now, you have established a budget, narrowed your choices and decided it was time to start looking for a contractor who can help you meet your goals.

What you may not realize is that the success of your project hinges on your choice of contractors. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to judge the quality of a contractor's work by his or her personality.

Warning signs

With social media, it is not easy these days to get away with substandard results or poor customer service, and you can take advantage of this by doing your own checking online for reviews and warnings about any contractor you consider. Additionally, a few red flags can help you decide when it is time to look for someone else for your project, such as:

  • A contractor who fails to return your inquiries by phone or email, shows up late for an appointment to give an estimate or does not show up at all will likely have the same inconsistency in completing the job.
  • You are wise not to trust a contractor who works without a comprehensive contract or fails to allow you time to carefully review and discuss the terms of a contract.
  • A contractor who shrugs off the need for permits or who assigns you the task of acquiring the necessary permits may have something to hide, such as not having the appropriate North Carolina contractor's license.
  • Someone who does quality work will happily provide you a list of references that includes recent and past projects.

Checking the references of a contractor is not a step you should skip before signing a contract. You will want to see examples of the work your potential contractor has done and speak to the customers with whom the contractor worked.

Do your homework

Even if you notice none of these warning signs, you may not realize that a contractor is doing shoddy work until well into the project or even after the work is complete. Decent contractors who value their reputations and respect their customers will make every effort to correct any issues for which they are responsible. It's just good business.

If your completed project does not meet the standards to which you agreed in your contract, or if you have a dispute you cannot resolve, you may wish to seek advice about your legal options.

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