Investing in a home exterior remodeling project can be an invigorating prospect. It’s exciting to imagine the finished product, but it’s also important to take things step by step beginning with finding the best exterior contractor for your needs.
Hiring a professional, reliable home improvement company isn’t just sensible — it’s the best way to ensure that your home remodeling project goes smoothly. That’s why it pays to research, interview, and carefully select the right contractor for your Michigan home.
Tips from an Exterior Contractor
We know how important it is for Michigan homeowners to enjoy a successful exterior remodel they love. That’s why we compiled this handy checklist of what to do and what questions to ask before you hire an exterior contractor.
Take These 8 Steps Before You Hire Anyone
1. Consider your budget
Seems obvious, right? Yet there’s often a big difference between what homeowners expect to spend on their home remodel versus what the actual costs end up being.
To minimize the likelihood of getting caught with added expenses and a bigger price tag than you can afford:
- Be honest with yourself about how much you can afford to pay.
- Consider every aspect of your payments—including the down payment, installments, and the overall project total.
- Add a little extra in costs to any estimates you receive, in case there are unexpected expenses to cover.
- Don’t pay too much upfront. A 10% down payment is normal.
2. Ask about materials
The materials used to complete your home remodel will affect every aspect of the work—look, feel, durability, cost, return on investment, and more. Be sure to:
- Consider what is most important to you—overall cost, purpose of the remodel, length of time you’ll stay in the house before you sell it, etc.
- Check out the pros and cons of different materials—such as wood siding versus fiber cement siding, fiberglass windows versus vinyl windows
- Find out if the contractors you’re considering are trained and experienced in installing the materials you’d prefer to use.
3. Interview several contractors before committing
Remember that a home exterior remodel is a major investment, and you deserve to get the best results for that investment. Talk with several contractors and compare them on factors such as:
- Ease of communication
4. Get referrals and check reviews.
Reputable contractors that produce superior results are happy to provide references, because they are proud of their work and can stand by it. And they’ll have a good reputation to match. Among the ways to research the quality of their work:
- Ask friends, family, and neighbors who they recommend for the type of work you want done.
- Review the contractor’s online portfolio.
- Request references you can call, and addresses of homes the contractors have worked on.
- Find out how they’re rated by the BBB or Angie’s List.
5. Ask about licenses, permits and insurance
Home improvement contractors typically need certain types of licenses or permits to conduct business. Though laws and municipal requirements may vary depending on where you live, a contractor should be able to produce valid, up-to-date licenses and proof of liability and workman’s compensation insurance.
6. Get a contract
Every home improvement project you have done should be documented with a legal contract that spells out in detail all the relevant information, including:
- Contractor’s name, address, phone, and relevant license numbers
- Estimated timeline — start date, completion date, etc.
- Complete payment schedule with amounts and dates due
- Written explanation of how to submit changes to the original project scope
- Detailed list of materials, including brands, amounts, sizes, colors, etc.
- What the contractor will and won’t do — and what the homeowner is expected to handle — such as permits, clean-up, and so on
- Explanation of conditions that allow the contract to be canceled or amended
7. Keep good records
Once work begins, it’s especially important for you as the homeowner to keep track of every step of your remodel. This helps to ensure the work is done properly, and also aids in filing an insurance claim should there be any issues. What to keep:
- Copies of the signed contract
- Change orders
- Correspondence with the contractor – including letters, phone conversations, emails and texts
- Proof of all payments
- Photographs of the project as it is completed
8. Do a final walkthrough
Before you make the final payment, do a thorough review of all the work to be sure it has been completed to your satisfaction.
- Does the work meet the standards you agreed upon?
- Do you have all the warranties related to materials and workmanship?
- Do you have receipts showing all suppliers and subcontractors have been paid?
- Is the job site clean and clear of all debris?
- Is every aspect of the job complete?
Questions to Ask Your Exterior Contractor
As you meet with potential exterior contractors, remember that you’re conducting a job interview — and you’re the hiring manager! You want a contractor who can deliver the home exterior remodel you are looking for. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions like these:
- How long have you been in business in my area?
- What is your experience with projects like mine?
- How often should I expect to hear from you during the course of the remodeling?
- What warranties and guarantees do you offer?
- How long will it take to complete my project? Can you provide me with a timeline?
- What types of payment plans do you offer?
- How do we ensure that we get all the proper municipal permits in a timely fashion?
Enjoy the Exterior Home Remodel of Your Dreams
As you picture your ideal home exterior makeover, remember that John McCarter Construction has been serving Michigan area homeowners for years with superior workmanship. We work closely with homeowners to ensure your home improvement projects—from replacement windows and doors to new siding or roofing and more—go smoothly and to your satisfaction. Contact us for a free consultation and estimate for a home exterior remodel that will make you fall in love with your home all over again.