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Contractors say homeowners with this trait are the most satisfied with home improvement projects.

Signing a contract (Photo by Katie Jacewicz)
Remodeling - Basements, Remodeling - General, Remodeling - Modular & Mobile Home

Don't get burned by failing to read the fine print of a home remodeling contract. Check out these things every remodeling contract should contain.

Angie's List
Drywall, Fencing, Fencing & Driveway Gates, Painting - Exterior, Painting - Interior, Plumbing, Remodeling - Basements, Remodeling - General, Remodeling - Kitchen & Bathroom, Remodeling - Modular & Mobile Home, Roofing

Houston roofing complaint | Contractor claims leaks are coming from plumbing, not roof.

Angie's List
Remodeling - Basements, Remodeling - General, Remodeling - Modular & Mobile Home, Roofing
Homeowner claims property manager hired to oversee roofing work, drywall repair and electrical upgrades allowed contractors to do unsatisfactory and incomplete work.

Angie's Answers

?
Todd said it best.

An itemized list / cost breakdown, more often than not is used against the contractor when it is shared with other builders who will then beat it.

Good contractors use good people, and good people cost more.  Just the cost of having the appropriate insurance / bond can be the difference between winning a job or losing it ot a 'lower bid'.

It is the rule of three; there is Good, Cheap and Fast.  You can have any two:  Good and Cheap, won't be Fast; Good and Fast, won't be Cheap;  Cheap and Fast, won't be Good!

When comparing bids, it isn't the cheapest or the 'nicest' person you should select.   You should understand why there is a large price difference (it shows there are gaps in your design program or what you have asked for specifically, which means there may be arguments later).  If most of the bids are in line, and one is way high or way low,  you want to know why before dismissing or selecting them.

A price-only decision almost always costs more in the long run. 

Good luck!
?

No.  Heck no.  Here's a good example.  We very recently needed to find someone to install about 500 square feet of exotic wood flooring (we already have the materials).  We contacted about 12-15 top-rated Angieslist contractors.  Out of the few who did get back to us, we got 5 quotes, 2 of them were literally just over the phone.  They "didn't feel it would be necessary to even see the space". 

 

Here were the bids: 

$4000 (sight unseen), $2800 (sight unseen), $2500, $1500, $1450

 

We didn't "share our budget for this".  Why would we?  We asked them to bid the job.  That's it.  All of them should be well-qualified and they are all highly rated.  We were interested in how THEY value their time/resources - for an apples/apples job. 

 

Do you still think that you should tell them about your budget?  Your choice.  From my standpoint it isn't their business.  I'm asking them to bid on a project.  Invariably I'll get some very high bids, medium bids and a few more reasonable ones - ALL from "highly rated contractors". 

?

Herlonginc's answer stated that it is not the contractor's job to pay for materials and labor to do the job. I say baloney - a reputable, established contractor has the funds (or a business operations line of credit) to "carry" the job between interim or partial payments, each of which should be keyed to completion of distinct easily measured mileposts in the job, and for a homeowner I would say should be in not more than 20% increments for jobs exceeding a week or so. For shorter jobs, then an initial payment, 50% completion, and completion would be normal. His cost of carry funds is part of his cost of doing business, and is figured as part of his overhead.Bear in mind when he is buying materials and paying labor, his materials he typically pays for on a 10-30 day invoice, and his labor typically a week or two after they work, so he is not really "fronting" that much money if you are giving him weekly or biweekly interim payments, on a typical residential job.

If he does not have the funds to buy materials (excepting possibly deposit on special-order or luxury items, which still typically are 10-30 day invoiceable to him) and hire personnel then he is a fly-by-night operation, and he should not be bidding that size job. You should never (other than MAYBE an earnest deposit of not more than the LESSER of 10% or $5000) let the payments get ahead of the approved/inspected work progress - typically payment should be 10-20% BEHIND the progress, with at least 10% retained at the effective end of work until final inspections and completion of the final "punchlist".

That promotes rapid continuation of the work, discourages the all-too common nightmare of contractors taking on more work than they can handle so they leave your job for weeks or months to go work on someone else's job (frequently to start that someone else's new job so he can get the job), and does not leave you out a tremendous amount of cash if he does not finish and you have to hire another contractor to finish the job. Remember, if you have to hire a new contractor to finish the job, he will charge you a lot more than the original bid to finish someone else's unfinished mess.

This may seem cynical, but having started in the construction business about 50 years ago and seeing the shenanigans that a lot of contractors pull you cannot be too safe. You have to remember contractors are like any other people - I would say maybe 10% are outright crooks, another 25% or so will pull a fast one or overcharge if the opportunity presents itself, maybe 30% will do the work but not any better than they are forced to, about 25% are good conscientious reputable workmen, and the last 10% or so are really spectacular - conscientious, fair, and efficient craftsmen. This top 35% are the only ones you should have bidding in the first place. Therefore, only get bids from long-term reputable firms (so you shake out the marginal short-timers with less experience and also generally less ability to finish the job on budget and schedule), only those that have good RECENT references, and preferably with excellent word-of-mouth recommendation from people you know and trust. That way, you are starting right off with the cream of the crop, so hopefully whichever one bids low should be a good choice.

NEVER start with bids, then check the references of the low bidder - why even consider a vendor or contractor who you do not have faith in from the start ? Get references and short-list you possibles BEFORE you ask for bids.

Low bids - that is another matter - commonly the low bidder is NOT who you want, especially if he is significantly lower than several others, which might mean he is desperate for work, made a math error, or did not correctly figure the entire scope of work. You want a reasonable bid with someone you connect with and trust - that is worth a lot more in the success of the job than the absolute lowest bid.

 

?
The answer depends on your contract.  If you do not have a written contract, you need to begin documenting everything.  Begin by using a calendar and marking the days the contractor started, worked, you had to speak to him/her about the work, etc.

Next photograph the work you feel is sub-par.  If work has been corrected, photograph it now to have a record of its condition.  If you have any "original" or "before work began" pictures get those together, too.

If you do have written contract, see what it says about warranties, complaints, failure to finish / comply, etc.  Holding the money may end up with the contractor taking YOU to court for the funds - you cannot just hold the money.  You need to document in writing what is wrong, what you expect to happen (be specific) and when it should happen by.  A good contract will explain if and how money can be held, how the arbitration or complaint is filed, etc.

You should also invite another contractor to come in and bid the work to finish the job.  They can confirm the quality of the work and give you a price to fix / finish the job.  This gives you justification for holding the funds and an option to finish the job.

If the contractor is not willing to fix the work or listen to direction, do not allow them back in the house.  A judge will ask you why you let them continue to do work if you found it unacceptable.  Take back the key or access to the building - you can also attempt holding any materials or tools as collateral if the cost of repair is higher than the amount owed.  Again, document what you are holding, its estimated value (google or ebay search), etc.

Finally, in writing you should fire the contractor and state the exact reason(s).  Document everything; if it is done in person after they leave make notes of what was said, agreed upon and disputed.  If you are satisfied that what you have paid is fair compensation for the work done, make sure this is noted in the letter firing the contractor.  If you feel money is owed, you will need to file a small claim in your local court.  Include the documentation you made, notes, letters, etc. when you file your claim so the judge will have a copy of everything.  Don't forget to contact the BBB.

Do not wait for the court date; go ahead and hire the other contractor and have the work completed.  Bring this invoice to court with you (file it before the court date if you can).  Bring photos of the finished work (again, file it with the court before the date if possible).  You must show what good quality work looks like vs the poor quality work.

Otherwise it will be a your word against the contractor and you will most likely lose, (the contract is a promise to pay for work) or even if you "win" you will most likely split the difference between the argued amount of money.  Also be prepared for the contractor to file a small court claim against you.  Same process as above, except now you will respond to the summons with a copy of your stuff to defend your reason for holding funds instead of asking for money back.

Good luck!
?
For this type of job, you need plans and specs from an Architectural/Engineering firm before thinking about contractors - and to get a building permit. Ben's method would work and done incrementally could cost well over $100,000 plus as he says, but this not really the most economic way to approach this big a job. A House Mover or Foundation Underpinning specialty company can usually slide your house onto a whole new foundation, or jack it up on steel beams and hold it there while a basement is dug underneath it, without any intermediate piers. The jacking/move cost would probably be on the order of $30-40,000, and a new basement probably about $40-50,000 - rough ballpark, though I have been involved in some 1000-1500SF single story jobs that went for under $70,000 total. I have been involved in a fair number of these type jobs - and the way the numbers come out, if there is room on the property to move the house, it is almost always nearly as cheap or cheaper to build an equivalent square footage (basement plus ground level) addition rather than add a basement under the house, and that way your new footage is half above ground so worth more on resale, plus you do not lose use of the house for a month or two. Second cheapest is usually sliding house to a new foundation, if property is large enough to do this - though house is totally cut off from utilities for a week to three. Most expensive, and usually only done in tight city environments or with full 2 story or higher houses, is adding the foundation in place, though your utility interruptions should be on the order of hours at a time rather than days or weeks. Talk to an architect - I think you will quickly lean towards the addition option rather than adding a basement - it is just too expensive to deepen foundations in most cases, plus you WILL get cracking in the house and possible water and sewer pipe problems in a move/underpinning job, which is not the case with an addition. This become more likely the case since you want to add 8 feet off the back of the home anyway - so why not just enlarge the addition and do it all that way - MUCH simpler, and MUCH less disruption of your life, and you get much higher resale return on your investment.
?
You should always get a set of print and pull a permit when remodeling you home. It is a good thing that you want to be involved in your project. I do have some reservation about the electrical work. There is a lot at risk with doing the work yourself. If the house burns down you will never get the insurance money, unless your a certified electrician. Now of days 90% of home fires are blamed on electrical problems because the insurance company is to lazy and cheap to investigate the true problem. Also find out if the city you live in will allow you to perform the work. Make sure you coordinate your subs to have the proper time and space to perform their job. You don't want people working on top of each other. If you order all you materials make sure everything is there before you start your project. Have your subs check for proper and full items to be installed. Make sure every sub has a working set of prints. Make sure you have all the demo done before your subs show up to work. Schedule your plumber first, do any final framing or electrical work while you wait for inspection. Electrical inspection next followed by framing, insulation, and wallboard. All subs must get a final inspection on the job before you (the GC) can call in your final inspection.

Modular And Mobile Home Remodelers in Norwood, NC

Companies below are listed in alphabetical order. To view top rated service providers along with reviews and ratings, Join Angie's List Now!

A & W Custom Carpentry & Roofing

175 Rosebud Place
Kannapolis

A Better Handyman

140 Charleston Dr
Mooresville

A.C.E. Contracting Services, LLC

1121 West Charlotte Ave
Mount Holly

ABBOTT BUILDERS

6627 LOBLOLLY CIR
Waxhaw

AJ Construction

5224 Lynchburg Drive
Concord

All Framed Up

Charlotte

Allens Mobile Home & RV Supplies

1626 N Chester St
Gastonia

Ander Walker Plumbing, Inc.

319 Elam Ave
Ramseur

Andrew Roby General Contractor Inc

2000 West Morehead St
Charlottte

ARC Roofing and Construction

9725 Central Dr.
Charlotte

Artistic Remodeling and Design

3011 Maiden Hwy
Lincolnton

Atlas Restoration, LLC

10612-D Providence Road. #493
Charlotte

Bairds Handyman Service

539 Kiser RD
Bessemer City

Bender Custom Homes

8334 Pineville Matthews Rd
Charlotte

Billys Construction

6802 High Gap RD

Blackstowne Services

PO Box 23755
Charlotte

blue skye builders

5401 Suite A #139
Charlotte

BVK Construction

5001 White Oak Rd.
Charlotte

Carolina Consolidated Services, Inc.

6120-T Brookshire Blvd.
Charlotte

Catawba Valley Custom Cabinets

1901 Conover Blvd E
Conover

Central Piedmont Builders Inc

PO Box 4041
Salisbury

Chapmans Roofing and Repair

12411 twelve trees dr
Huntersville

Complete Construction Alternatives

1256 Waynewood Dr
Waxhaw

Dane Builders Inc

7812 Burning Ridge Dr
Stanley

DirectBuy of Indianapolis

8450 Westfield Blvd

Don's Home Care Service

8403 Potters Rd. South
Waxhaw

Doug Hartsell & Company

603 Brentwood Dr.
Locust

Drain Pros

14524 Apple Orchard Dr.
Pineville

ECS services

110 dale ave
Kannapolis

Envision Contracting Inc.

10301 Stonemede Ln.
Matthews

Evans Home Improvement

117 Cornelius Rd
Mooresville

FMA CONSTRUCTION INC

3475 Gribble Road
Matthews

Handy Randy's All Around Home Repair

24342 Hwy 49 South
Richfield

Hatley Home Improvements

1195 coldwater st

Hawkins Construction Company

206 Johnson Ave
Mount Airy

Helms Construction

1403 Trinity Church Road
Monroe

J & R Construction of North Carolina, LLC

3713 Fairlane Drive
Gastonia

J J'S CONSTRUCTION CO

1480 Rockwell Rd./PO Box 400
Rockwell

Jiri - Carpentry

9113 Surrey Rd
Charlotte

JW Roofing & Associates

825 mutual rd
Gastonia

Kemp Roofing & Construction

631 Brawley School Rd
Mooresville

Laura's Designs

405 East Mission Street

M & M PAINTING AND REMODELING CONT

1124 CREEK DR
Williamston

Mackey's Construction, Inc.

6321 New Hope Church Rd.
Marshville

Mainstay Home Solutions

8708 Sweet Sage Lane
Charlotte

McAloan Construction

12645 Stoney Creek Ln.
Locust

ME Construction

E. RIdge Road
Salisbury

Michael & Son - Charlotte

140 Dupree Street
Charlotte

Mike Fusco Builder

1201 S. Crescent Drive
Smithfield

MUNDAY HARDWOODS

111 LOWER CREEK DR NE
Lenoir

Nelson Coble Construction

3842 Willow Grove Ln
Concord

peak bright LLC

P.O. box 2126

Pinnacle Remodeling

2104 Court Dr.
Gastonia

Pless Construction

3282 Cederhurst Drive
Kannapolis

premier improvements

1564 brookbend ct

Pride Contractors

4516 Tom Starnes Rd
Waxhaw

Rafter J Construction

6663 Pageland Hwy

Randall's Plumbing LLC

154 Charlie Randall Rd
Lawndale

Re-Construction Painting & Remodeling

5634 Hammermill Dr
Harrisburg

Red Ivy Construction

201 Hudson Dr
Harrisburg

Renovations Specialist LLC

42 Gaston Mountain
Asheville

Rock Solid Construction

40870 Cox Rd
New London

SELLS & SONS CONSTRUCTION

4335 Cauble Road
Salisbury

Sturdivant Innovations

1205 Brirhill RD
Mooresville

Tarheel Flooring & Repair

PO BOX 220961
Charlotte

Taylor Made for You LLC

2400 Rustic Pine Trl

Tentmakers Handyman

233 Catamount Drive

The Carpenters Way

P.O. Box 453
Norwood

The Kitchen & Countertop Shoppe LLC

6420 Lanzerac Manor Dr.
Charlotte

TR Contractors

Charlotte

Trimmers Construction

435 Corriher Gravel Rd
China Grove

Two Old Guys Handyman Service Inc

323 Johnson St
Mount Holly

Union Force, LLC

720 E Hwy 218
Monroe

Velizaroff Handyman Multiservices

10555 Paces Ave Apt 424
Matthews

W.T. Hancock

708 S. Deal St
Landis

Williamson Contracting

1230 Alexis Lucia Rd.
Stanley

You-Name-It Handyman and Carpentry Services

9301- C Westbury Woods Drive
Charlotte

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