10.27.2011 / Questions to Ask a Prospective Contractor.

The most challenging part of completing a home renovation can be hiring the right contractor. Your home is most likely your most valuable financial asset and trusting and selecting a contractor to make your home improvements is an important decision.

"Do not be afraid to interview contractors until you find the right fit."

If you are contemplating hiring a contractor there are important considerations you should take into account before committing including business history, payment options and schedule. Ask the following questions to a prospective contractor to make sure you make a wise, educated decision.

How long have you been in business? Choose a well-established contractor or company with a proven track record. You can review previous consumer complaints against the contractor through the Better Business Bureau at

Are you licensed and insured? Contractors should have personal liability, worker’s compensation and property damage coverage and should be able to provide you current copies of insurance certificates, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Verify the contractor is licensed for the services you are requesting and ask to see their current license.

Will my project require a permit? Most states require licenses for home building projects. A good contractor will be able to tell you what permits are needed and will secure permits before the job begins.
May I get and check your references? The contractor should be able to provide you with the names, addresses and phone numbers of at least three references, but the more references a contractor can provide, the better. When you contact the references, ask about all the details – from timeliness to price to thoroughness. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can see their completed home renovations.
What payment options do you provide? Incremental payments are the best way to ensure your contractor doesn’t disappear. Making an initial down payment and then making incremental payments as milestones are reached is typically the best way to pay for a contractor’s services. You should be suspicious if a contractor asks you to pay the entire amount upfront.

Don’t be afraid to interview contractors until you find the right fit. Ask your friends and family for referrals and do your own research. It will be worth it when you are satisfied with your completed project. And if you need a smart way to pay for your home improvement project, First National Bank offers Home Equity products with competitive interest rates and flexible terms.
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