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Contractor Hiring 101: Tips, Tricks, and Red Flags to Avoid

Young couple talking to construction worker about housing design plans at construction siteHiring competent, trustworthy contractors for your property improvements and repairs can be one of the most difficult aspects of investing in Brookland single-family rental properties. Few investors have the time or resources to hire a contractor whose work is merely substandard. However, the truth is that there are con artists and other people out there who will attempt to scam you of your money and then abandon you. Fortunately, it is possible to find the trustworthy, reasonably-priced contractors you need for every project if you know a few basic tips and tricks – and what to steer clear of.

Ask for Referrals

You need reputable contractors who can finish the job if you’re a property owner. It’s a smart idea to search for industry experts you’ll want to rehire over and over again. This will save you a great deal of time and money. But you must first conduct research in order to locate contractors with whom you can establish a long-term business relationship. Inquiring about recommendations from reliable property managers, real estate brokers, and other property owners is a fantastic place to start. Online research of prospective contractors is also possible. Through consumer reviews and even professional recommendations, a number of websites attempt to assist users in vetting contractors.

Ask for References

Asking for references is yet another suggestion for choosing an excellent contractor (or two). A quality contractor will gladly provide you with the contact information of one or more former customers who can attest to their expertise. Once you have a name, make sure to ask detailed questions about the contractor’s dependability, affordability, responsiveness, and flexibility. Has the price remained the same? How did they handle your issues and changes? It is in your best interest to keep looking if you have concerns about the responses you receive.

Research Your Top Picks

Do a comprehensive background investigation on a candidate’s credentials and internet reviews before deciding to hire them. For the name of your contractor, contact the state licensing board and look it up in the local court records. Use of unlicensed contractors is not advised as this may expose your rental property to significant liability. A high volume of complaints or litigation is a very negative sign. The same remains valid if you cannot get the contractor to answer their phone or return any of your messages. Even while a few missed calls might not necessarily indicate danger, if more than 24 hours go by without a response, move on.

Throughout the bidding process, there are a few extra red flags to look out for. For instance, keep a look out for poor internet reviews or suspiciously cheap prices and avoid the site if you discover them. A contractor who requests a sizable advance deposit should also be avoided. Anything above 15% should be cause for alarm. The same holds true if the contractor states that they will require an unlimited amount of time and materials, or if they make extravagant claims about how much they can accomplish within a certain time frame. Not only do you need someone who can work efficiently, but you must also discover someone who is consistently realistic regarding project costs and completion times.

Focus on Quality

Once you’ve screened a few possible contractors, get bids from them. The bid will indicate what you can expect to pay for the work and how each contractor calculates their rates. Even while it could be tempting, resist the urge to accept the lowest offer, especially if it is much less than the others. Extremely cheap bids may occasionally be an indication that the contractor is trying to entice you with a low price just to tack on extra costs later. Additionally, they can indicate that the contractor does not intend to secure the necessary work permits. Keep in mind not to overpay for your contractor’s work. In order to be the most realistic, aim for the medium bid.

Starting out, it may be time-consuming finding the highest-quality contractors for your investment property’s renovations and restorations. However, once you determine whom you can rely on to complete the task, this aspect of your property management strategy can become streamlined and effective. You can save yourself time by contacting Real Property Management DC Metro, who has established contacts throughout Brookland. Call us at 202-269-0303 for more information today.

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