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Should You Cut Your Real Estate Contractor Loose?
Home improvement projects on your home represent a huge undertaking and while the most difficult part of the job might be selecting a contractor, the job of a home owner does not end there. While you may not be able to make comments on how a particular job is done or how the dry wall is being installed in your basement, you can certainly make comments and review the work ethic of those you hire.
When the worst case scenario arises and a contractor is either not performing his or her job duties properly or is not showing the kind of work quality you’d expect for the usually substantial price you’re paying, it may be time to think about cutting the contractor loose and seeking outside help to finish the job. Obviously, this is a huge decision and should only come after careful deliberation.
First, the Fair Warning
This is not to imply in any way that the majority of contractors will work to cheat you, cut corners or not do a satisfactory job. In fact, the opposite is most likely true. The vast majority of contractors take pride in their work, deliver a quality product and work to make sure that the buyer’s needs are met when completing a job, no matter the scope.
Get Off on the Right Foot
However, there will always be a few bad apples in the bunch and weeding out those contractors before hiring them can be a very difficult prospect. An absurdly low price can be one indicator, but that is by no means a fool-proof method to choose a reliable contractor. Instead, work with your local Better Business Bureau branch or chamber of commerce.
Most prominent contractors will have a reputation built up around them and aside from brand new companies, you should be able to find out at least a little bit about the contractor and prior successes or failures. If you have a friend that has had contract work done, ask about the process they took to find a contractor and if they had a successful experience with their choice, perhaps your search could end there.
The Non-Fire Firing
If you do get to the point that you decide a particular contractor is not pulling his or her weight, do not fire the contractor outright. If a contractor is fired in the middle of a job, you will be thrust right back into the same situation of hiring a new contractor that will have to inspect the original work and then work to complete the job. This can be expensive and difficult as liability is certainly an issue in these situations.
Instead, let the contractor finish the particular task so that you can then have something to repair when the time comes and you will not be subjected to the possible damage or sabotage some contractors can use if they know they are going to get fired or if payments have not come through.
You’ll Always Be in Grey Areas
Most often, you will not get to the point with a contractor that you will need to fire them. Instead, you will probably be in a situation where there are some things you don’t like but those things aren’t enough to fire a particular person or company. In those situations, don’t forget that you are the one paying for the job and be sure to speak up when the time comes.
You have hired a person or company to complete the job and it is up to you to get on them when they do not follow through. Firing is always an option, but be careful when you do as a job stopped in the middle can be very expensive to complete. Instead, make sure you assert your rights as the buyer and guide your project to an ending that is workable for all parties involved.
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We respond right away! -Colleen Lane, Realtor®
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