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Delaine Campbell's Blog

More Than Just Real Estate

By Delaine Campbell | Agent in Alexandria, VA

Tips For Hiring A Contractor To Improve Your Alexandria Virginia Home – Part l

As more and more homeowners opt for improving their homes rather than trying to sell it as it is in today’s soft market, there has been an increase in reported scams, incomplete or shoddy work, and payment conflicts. In fact, according to the Better Business Bureau, the home improvement industry ranks among the top five sources of complaints each year, thus necessitating due diligence on your part in researching, verifying, interviewing, hiring, and working with contractors for your Alexandria, Virginia home.


To locate a reputable contractor who will deliver quality work on time and within budget, first ask friends, family members, neighbors, and real estate brokers for recommendations. Other sources include www.angielist.com, a site which features reviews of improvement contractors written by actual clients, and www.freecontractormatch.com which will direct you to contractors by type and location.


Once you have the names of three or four potential contractors, check with your local Better Business Bureau to check on complaints against the firm. You also need to confirm that the contractor is registered with the state and licensed and that he carries the required insurance. License information may be obtained from the Department of Labor and Industry online or by calling 651-284-5065. Any contractor working in your Alexandria, Virginia ­­­­­­home should have personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage. You might also contact the Virginia State Licensing Board to check out credentials. This site also provides a checklist and suggestions for prescreening contractors to help you decide if a particular contractor is right for you.


Questions which you should ask include the following:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • What permit is required—and will you obtain it?
  • Will you be using subcontractors?
  • Will you (and your subcontractors) sign a lien waiver?
  • Do you offer a warranty on your workmanship and materials?
  • Will you give me references? (Names, phone numbers, and even photos, if available.)
  • What are you working on now? May I visit that site?
  • How have you handled customer complaints?


In addition to requesting a bid for all expenses involved in the work on your Alexandria, Virginia home, you will also want to determine in advance the required down payment. Some municipalities have a limit on the amount which can be charged; contact your local consumer affairs agency for this information. In any event, you should not put more than 25% down, and you should never pay in cash! You should also insist on a reasonable payment plan and try to make those payments contingent on the completion of a certain amount of work.

Delaine has distinguished herself as a leader in the Alexandria, VA real estate market. A native of the Alexandria area, Delaine knows the neighborhoods well. She is so proud of her town and of the many features and activities the area has to offer. She is happy to simply be a resource for you as you gather information about the area and the housing options here. Delaine loves helping people and offering information about Alexandria and the surrounding areas. So just ask. Even if you aren’t buying a home, maybe you are just coming to visit. Or maybe you know someone that does want to buy an Alexandria home. Delaine is your #1 Resource for information about Alexandria. Delaine is glad to help and hope that you’ll find her services exceed your expectations. Call 703-932-6542 or email Delaine, she is happy to help.

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