5 Red Flags: Choosing a Home Remodeling Contractor

February 8, 2016
February 8, 2016 Scott

5 Red Flags: Choosing a Home Remodeling Contractor


So, you’re in the midst of searching for the perfect home remodeling contractor to take on your renovation project.

With so many options, however, you’re feeling understandably overwhelmed. As you sift through home remodel contractor reviews, they all seem to run together, and you’re at a loss of who to choose for your project. As you speak to individual contractors, there are some potential red flags you may want to be on the lookout for that could indicate a particular home improvement contractor isn’t the right fit for your project.

red flags for hiring a home remodeling contractor

Lack of References

Any reputable home remodel contractor should have a list professional design-build home remodeling contractorof references readily available to provide you before you sign any kind of construction agreement for your project. You should be able to contact these references and talk to other homeowners who have hired the contractor for similar work in the past; this will give you a better idea of what to expect when working with him or her.  A contractor who doesn’t have any references to give you is probably a sign of somebody who doesn’t have enough experience or who simply hasn’t had many happy customers.

Reputable contractors should also have photos of work they have done in the past available in a portfolio, or gallery of completed remodeling project pictures on their website–not stock images.

Requesting Total Upfront Payment

Generally, you can expect to be asked to pay a portion of your project cost upfront, but you should never be expected to pay in-full before the project has even started! A contractor who wants your business should allow you to put down a deposit and then render the remaining amount of payment over the course of the project or upon the project’s successful completion.  Ensure the contractor has clearly outlined the payment schedule in the construction agreement, so you’re all on the same page as to when progress payments are due, and for how much.

Also, be skeptical of any contractor who asks you to pay by cash only. You want to have a record of your payment, and cash doesn’t allow for this. By paying through credit card or check, you’ll have a record of your payment.  Only make checks payable to the company name; a home remodel contractor that asks you to make a check out to him personally, may not be properly set up as a legitimate business.

Inability to Obtain Permits

Any reputable contractor should be happy to go through the process of obtaining any necessary building permits from your local municipality. If a contractor asks you to obtain the permits for any reason, this should be seen as a red flag. More than likely, this contractor is asking you to do the work because he or she isn’t licensed to obtain the permits as a contractor, which is obviously a huge red flag. You shouldn’t be needed to get any permits. You may need to sign the paperwork, but that’s the extent of your involvement in the permit process.

Poor Overall Communication

Communication is extremely important when hiring a contractor, no matter the size of the project. Your contractor should be in contact with you through every step of the process and keep you well informed. A lot of times, you can get a good idea of how effective a communicator a contractor is in your initial dealings with him or her. For example, is he or she quick to respond to e-mails or calls? Does he or she respond in a professional manner? If not, then it might be time to look elsewhere.

An Impossibly Low Estimate

No homeowner wants to spend more than they need to when undergoing any home improvement project. However, a contractor who offers a significantly lower estimate than others is a potential red flag. He or she may be cutting corners or may not be including all of the costs that may be involved in your project (such as dust protections, or debris clean-up, or employing licensed sub-contractors).

There’s a lot to keep in mind when searching for the perfect contractor for your home improvement project. Take the stress and hassle out of this task; you deserve to enjoy remodeling your home.  Learn more about the Hochuli’s, and take a look at these additional homeowner resources we’ve included to help you choose a contractor for your home remodel.

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Owner of Hochuli Design & Remodeling Team, an Interior Design and Home Remodeling Company based in Scottsdale, AZ. Specializing in Design/Build Services for Kitchens, Bathrooms, Room Additions, Whole House Renovations, and General Contracting in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe, Paradise Valley, Mesa, Gilbert, and Chandler Arizona.

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