If you own a house in the New Jersey or are planning on purchasing one in the future, it is important to find the right contractors for the job if the house needs work. In our latest post, we will give you some important tips on how to avoid getting burned by shady contractors in the New Jersey area.
If you have real estate investment experience especially flipping a house, you’ll know that restoration and renovation processes can be stressful and rarely go according to plan. You also know that taking the time to find the right contractors can make all the difference for your mental health going through the renovation. The key is to find contractors who do quality work and are priced fairly. Just as importantly, the contractor you hire should be able to get the job finished in a timely manner, completing all projects in the time frames outlined in your agreed upon scope of work. This may be like trying to look for a needle in the haystack, but with some effort and diligence, you can find contractors that will fit this mold. Below are some tips to find them.
Be Like a Detective and Ask the Right Questions
Before committing to a contract and hiring any construction professional for work on your New Jersey property, it important to ask the right questions. Understand that when it comes to hiring contractors, you can never be too diligent. For example, are they properly licensed and insured? Will they be handling the permit process, pulling permits for all aspects of the job? What will the payment schedule look like? How will change orders be handled? Are they willing to show your pictures of prior work? Can you stop by some of the houses in the area that they are currently working on? While there are several other things you will likely want to ask, knowing these fundamental answers will help you avoid any surprises down the road. Ask all the questions you think is relevant before hiring someone. If they are reluctant to answer or do not have time to provide thorough answers, it might be a sign that they are not doing business at the level you might expect. In fact, often it is good practice to simply Google their name and do a high-level background check. Someone’s messed up personal lives can negatively impact their work.
Past Client Referrals
The companies you are considering for the job should be able to provide you with references from past clients. There are also many tools now available online to easily find past client feedback. Also, go onto social media to publicly ask your questions. Look for neighborhood forums where you can learn more about the contractor and their company. Sometimes you are more likely to get more honest feedback from these forums then the references the contractor provides to you themselves. You can also bring your questions to your local real estate and investment groups. At least one of your fellow investors is likely to have experience working with the contractor in question. You will also be able to learn who they use for their projects, providing you with a strong pool of potential contractors for your construction job in New Jersey.
See if They Have an Online Presence
There are many online websites available that will allow you to read reviews from past clients. While some negative reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, noticing a negative pattern amongst the reviews is not a good sign. Look up the contractor to see if they are members of the Better Business Bureau, the state’s licensing board, Google, and Facebook. There are also sites such as Angie’s List and Home Advisor that specialize in home and construction services. You will be able to find detailed information about the company as well as unbiased reviews from past clients. Be careful to read the reviews closely to feel out their genuineness. I’ve noticed that there are both contractors and investors who can have many positive reviews, but many are written by family members and friends as favors instead of past clients.
You Get What you Pay for
Everybody wants to save money at the end of the day, but at what cost? It is not wise to go with an inexperienced or slightly shady company to save a few dollars. Trust me, I’ve been there and done that. Poor quality renovations, laziness with the legalities, and an overall low work ethic will end up costing you both time and mental stress. While you want to make smart financial decisions, being cheap when it comes to hiring a contractor is not the best choice. In most cases, you get what you pay for, which usually means poor workmanship, ugly repairs, and cheap materials. As an investor, you don’t want to start your business with a reputation of delivering poor products for the sake of saving a buck. Plus, you don’t want your next buyer dealing with all the problems that you didn’t fix correctly the first time. Therefore, concentrate on value and not being cheap.
The Devil is in the Details
When working with a local New Jersey contractor, or any business professional for that matter, look out for the little things. Are they responsive to your phone calls? Are they on time with their appointment obligations? Are they respectful of their other client’s privacy and information? Do they remember their word and stick to it? Your desired contractor needs to have a strong work ethic and be able to deliver on their promises. The projects should also be completed with a certain degree of craftsmanship standards. Don’t expect perfection but do expect a certain level of quality. Personally, if a contractor is hard to get a hold of before you even agree to a budget, don’t expect their level of responsiveness to change once the project begins. If they can’t follow through with the small things, what’s to say they won’t screw up the bigger things.
Before hiring a contractor for your New Jersey investment property, it is so important to take the time to do your homework. Spending the time now will pay off not only on your wallet but your mental health. It is nothing compared to the time and money you could lose by hiring the wrong people for the job. All too often, investors see their profits eaten away by bad repair work. This can be avoided by some research ahead of time.