10 Questions to Ask a Home Contractor

  1. What type of construction comprises the majority of your work? This question will enable the homeowner to determine whether or not the home contractor is suitable for the job. Home contractors who specialize in building new homes may not have the experience to design and build a home addition that will meld seamlessly into an older home.
  2. Do you have references for my type of remodeling? A home addition can be the perfect choice for homeowners looking for a spare bedroom, a Florida room, or a home office. Residential contractors should be able to provide numerous references similar to the project at hand. The homeowner should not hesitate to contact these references and inspect the workmanship.
  3. How long will my remodeling project take? A home addition is not a simple matter of tacking a room onto the end of a house. However, the contractor should have ample resources to complete the project within a reasonable amount of time. The homeowner should clarify the project deadlines and the consequences if those deadlines are not met.
  4. How will the project be financed? The homeowner should discuss finances with the contractor at the outset of the project. A major remodeling project may require a construction loan, which is payable to the contractor as certain deadlines are met.
  5. What is the responsibility of the contractor? Will the contractor file for building permits and zoning variances, or will he expect the homeowner to do so? Will the contractor handle the interior design work, or will he simply build the shell? Setting the parameters at the start of the project will avoid disappointment, arguments, and cost overruns down the road.
  6. Do you utilize any “green” building techniques? When creating a home office, energy-efficient technology can save the homeowner a considerable amount of money on utility bills. Residential construction can include “green” design. The homeowner should ask the contractor for a cost/savings analysis of solar panels, insulated windows, and other “green” products. Depending on the products used, the homeowner may qualify for a residential energy credit.
  7. Can I utilize prefabricated housing? Depending on the size of the project, the contractor may not need to build a new room. A sunroom or a three-season room can add the extra space required without the high cost of new construction.
  8. What was your favorite project? The answer to this question will tell the homeowner about the contractor. If the contractor enjoyed those projects on which he had minimal supervision, the homeowner should understand that this contractor would not appreciate daily input. If the contractor enjoyed extremely complex project, the homeowner should determine whether or not the scope of the project would retain the contractor’s interest.
  9. What was your least favorite project? Again, the homeowner should listen carefully to the contractor’s response. It will provide the homeowner with valuable information regarding the contractor.
  10. Have you ever been sued? The homeowner can verify the answer to this question through public records. An honest contractor is willing to discuss any litigation, and explain the circumstances that led to the lawsuit.