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Alex's Blog

By Alex | Other/Just Looking in Bell, CA
  • How to find a contractor you'll love

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Bell  |  June 13, 2009 5:56 AM  |  1,953 views  |  1 comment
    There are some good-but-quirky tradesmen who exhibit the following traits. Think twice about hiring them unless every other indicator looks terrific.

    He drives a rusted-out jalopy. A bucket of bolts that leaves an oil slick in your driveway doesn't bode well for the attention to detail or fiscal stability of the person driving it.

    "That's not to say everyone has to ride around in a gleaming new truck," says Dick Mitchell, president of the New Orleans branch of the Better Business Bureau, the national nonprofit that lends its logo to participating companies meeting its standards (you can find a searchable list of member contractors at bbb.org). "But it should be clean and well maintained." Painted-on signs are better than magnetic ones, which are cheap and temporary.

    He wants cash. Even if you don't care that he's shirking his taxes by taking cash (or a check made out to cash), consider what other costs he may be cutting - like licensing fees, insurance bills and skilled crew members.

    To investigate a potential contractor's finances, look him up at contractorcheck.com, where (for $13) you can find information about his licensing, insurance and financial stability, as well as any legal actions against him.

    He doesn't provide a cell number. Sure, you might find the rare contractor who has someone (probably his wife) manning his business line. But for the most part, the only way to quickly get hold of a tradesman is by cell phone. If he doesn't want to give out that number, it isn't because he's conserving his minutes - he doesn't want to be reachable.
    Red light

    If you see any of these signs, don't hire the guy - even if you've had good luck working with him before.

    He wants to skip the permit - or have you apply for it. Any major improvement project legally requires a building permit, which means that inspectors will check the work. If a contractor wants to go without a permit, it means he'd rather not have anyone looking over his shoulder (other than you, but let's face it, you don't know what to look for).

    If he wants you to apply for the permit yourself, it could be because he doesn't have the necessary state licensing - and it means you'd be the middleman between the inspector and contractor instead of letting them work things out directly.

    He solicits business door to door. A paving contractor rings your bell to say he just did a job in the neighborhood, has extra materials and will cut you a rock-bottom deal if he can work on yours that afternoon. Sounds great, right?

    Trouble is, you have no idea who he is or if he's going to do the job right. And if that new pavement starts cracking three weeks later, you'll never get him back to repair the damage.

    He seems sleazy. Ultimately, you have to feel comfortable letting this person into your home. Clearly, you're not going to hand your house keys to someone who flips a cigarette butt into your azaleas or leers at your 16-year-old daughter.

    But if he doesn't look you straight in the eye or you just have a gut feeling that something might be amiss, go ahead and cross him off your list. Nowadays, thankfully, there are plenty of contractors available to do the job
    __________________________

    adelaide mortgage broker


 
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