Homeowners

Hiring a NARI Professional Remodeling Contractor

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There are many things to take into consideration when hiring for a home improvement project. Remember, depending on the size of your remodeling project, your home improvement team will be with you for days or months.

Your team could consist of an architect, interior designer, contractor and others. Think about it as finding the right business partners. Additionally, in most situations it takes the products and services of many outside companies like financial services and banks, product suppliers, secondary contractors, and other related fields to help make your remodeling project a success.

Matching Your Project with the Right Team
Depending on your needs and the size complexity of your intended remodeling project, there are several different options for you to explore before finalizing your plans. Attempt to define which of the following alternatives represents the best approach for your project.

The General Contractor: Many home improvements may not require professional design services and can be handled by an experienced contractor. Again, be sure to work with a professional. Even small jobs need careful planning, as their successful completion is important to you.

The Design/Build Contractor: Design/build is a concept developed to benefit the homeowner with their remodeling project by providing both quality design and construction services within the same company. Design/build contractors will be able to see your project through from start to finish, keeping design, engineering and budget in mind.

The Architect: Major remodeling projects require construction drawings to define contracts and permits procurement. If your professional remodeler does not provide design services, you can use a professionally trained architect. It is best to work with an architect experienced in remodeling, as he or she will be more sensitive to the special challenges that remodeling represents. 

Find a Member

Searching for a Contractor
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  • Check the EM NARI member listing (or other local associations) for contractors in your area.
  • Ask friends, family and neighbors for referrals for contractors they have been happy with.
  • You might also find it helpful to talk to a local lumber yard in your area.  They will have direct experience with contractors and know who buys quality materials and seems reputable.
Selecting a Contractor
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There are a number of questions you will want to ask when searching for a contractor, including:

  • Is the contractor (and other team members) properly licensed?  Most contractors must carry several types of licenses / registrations.
    Home Improvement Contractors in the State of Massachusetts
    Construction Supervisors License – Required to pull permits
    Renovation, Repair and Paint (RRP) – Required for projects in homes built before 1978
  • Do they carry insurance including liability and Workman's Compensation?  This is a must.  If they don’t carry the required insurance, you may be liable for damage and injuries at your residence.
  • How long have they been in the business? Contractors that have been in business for a few years are more likely to be around after your project – in case you need them to come back.
  • Will you be working on my project personally or subcontracting the project?
  • How many projects do you usually have going on simultaneously?
  • Check the company’s rating with the BBB and call the state’s Office of Consumer Affairs or Attorney General to see if there are complaints on file. 
  • Ask what trade associations they belong to? Check with the associations they list to be sure they are an active member in good standing.
  • Do they offer any kind of warranty?
  • What type of permits will be needed? Beware of contractors that ask you to pull permits.  This may be an indication that they are not registered.
  • Can they provide references? Don’t just ask – check them!  In fact, consider visiting an active job site if you can.  That will give you a sense for whether the contractor works in a clean and safe manner.
Project Contracts
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Once you have selected a contractor, it’s important to get your agreement in writing.  The contract should outline certain project details including the building schedule and payment schedule. For larger projects the contract should include a timeline and payment schedule. Be sure that payments are tied to certain project milestones, not firm dates, so that if your remodeler falls behind in schedule, payments fall in line accordingly.

Although Massachusetts law requires written contracts for any jobs above $1,000, it is always a good idea to have a written contract for any project to ensure that both the homeowner and the home improvement team agree upon the project including completion and payment conditions. And remember, in Massachusetts, a contract cannot demand more than 1/3 of the contract price as a deposit unless the project involves special order or custom made materials.