Home Buying in Cambridgeport>Question Details

Min H, Home Buyer in Cambridge, MA

How to find a good general contractor for remodeling job in Cambridge area?

Asked by Min H, Cambridge, MA Tue Dec 11, 2007

We are in the process of buying a small house in Cambridge. This house needs structural work involving carpeter, plumber and electrician. What is the safe approach to find a contractor that does good work and honest? Thanks.

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Just a suggestion that has worked well for some of my clients:

Go to the local permitting office and ask them to give you the names of several tradespersons in each category.

The recommendations from them will probably be the tradespersons who properly pull permits and do the quality of work that pass their inspections.

From that list, get written quotes and time frames from each tradesperson in each category.

Best of luck
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 11, 2007
You might also try Angie's List, although I've heard good and bad things about it.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 14, 2007

My suggestion is to go back to the real estate agent that you purchased the property with. Usually they have a huge database of local contractors to tap into. Realtor are plugged into the local market well past just the sale or purchase of a home. If you do not have a relationship with a Cambridge agent it may be worth a phone call to get plugged into the local market.

If you cannot remember Angie's list is worth the membership rate and I would stay away from Craig's List as it can be questionable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 26, 2013
I meant he is also on angieslist :-)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 20, 2009
Angie's list is the best source. We bought a house just like yours which needed structural repairs and a lot more (more than we thought).
http://www.angieslist.com was the best $50 I spent (1 year membership). We have had met our share of crooks from craigslist - I can tell you that a bad contractor is worse than no work being done at all. So make sure whoever you hire knows what he is doing and has references. Btw, we had an incredible guy do structural work for us - had it not been for him, we would have probably had to go bankrupt. His name is Jeffrey Spiby and his phone number is 508-454-7627. He is very very reasonable and really knows his stuff (he is also on craigslist).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 20, 2009
All good answers, but I would suggest one more - try BNI - Business Networking International. Link is below, competition is fierce to obtain a spot in these chapters. To obtain a seat an applicant must have a positive interview, multiple references and a business plan. There are often 2 or 3 people competing for open seats as they are exclusive. Once a member, any issues with ethics, customer service, or failure to meet the attendance requirements of the chapter and a member can face expulsion. Happy Hunting! Stacey
Web Reference: http://www.bnimass.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 28, 2007
I would strongly suggest getting a personal referral from a friend, family member or neighbor. take a look around the neighborhood. If it is anything like my neighborhood I can spot several different projects going on. Most have signs out side. Knock on the door or call the homeowner. Folks that are renovating are usually prod if what they are doing and love to talk about it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2007
I suppose that word of mouth is your best bet. Ask friends and relatives. Once you have some names check them out with BBB at
Angies list does require membership with a fee involved.
Best of luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 14, 2007
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