After you have had a home inspection, then oftentimes you will need to have a contractor (or several) provide estimates on issues that may have been found. What does this part of the transaction entail?
This is an important part of the process. While the home inspector is the “General Practitioner”, the contractor will be the specialist that takes it from there.
But there are a few things to keep in mind when getting estimates from contractors after a home inspection is complete. Here are just a few:
1: No Two Contractors Are The Same
Don’t be surprised by the wide disparity that can happen between two cost estimates from two different contractors. One may charge $1,000 for a repair – and another $3,000+ for the same repair. There can be even wider differences as well. Different contractors have different tools, equipment, levels of expertise, and so forth. Don’t always take the cheaper estimate either – as that is not always the best outcome.
2: Contractors’ Opinions May Differ
It happens – One contractor says the inspector is right and the item is defective, and another may say he is wrong and it is perfectly fine. This all goes back to point #1, so don’t be surprised by this.
3: You May Have to Pay For an Estimate
In many areas, the days of free estimates are long gone – so you may need to pay a fee for the estimate. You may find contractors to give free estimates – but ask yourself why other contractors charge and this one does it for free. “Free” can often cost you more in the long run by getting a sub-par estimate, and leaving money on the negotiation table.
4: They May Not Be Able To Give You Hard Numbers
This always stinks when it happens – but it is part of life. If you have moisture damage behind a wall, a good contractor knows he can’t give you a solid number because they don’t know the extent of the work until they take things apart. A contractor who is good at what they do is very aware of this, and will likely explain things well to you.
5: You Should Meet Them On-Site
Contractors are people, and if you want to know who you are hiring, we can’t go by their online reviews and website alone – we should really meet them in person. Do they seem knowledgeable? Are their vehicle and clothing clean and well kept (this can denote what your job site may look like)? Are they polite and do they answer your questions? Important things to ask when evaluating someone who will be working on your home.
6: Do Your Homework
We also want to do our homework on the company. We don’t have to turn into a stalker – but more than a cursory glance at their reviews is helpful. Do their online reviews speak well of them? If there are bad reviews (you can’t make everyone happy) did they respond well to them? Do the good reviews seem genuine, or do some feel like they were made by friends and family? Have they changed company names before, or repeatedly? All of these things can help you see a little background on a company.
Hiring a good contractor is very important – especially if you are getting estimates for a job after a home inspection, as their estimate will help determine how the negotiations go. So take your time and do your leg work to find the right one.