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Getting the Right Contractor

Lately working in the Real Estate field I have been running into a number of people in the London, Ontario area who have been having trouble with renovations and contractors. Eager to rush a rental or home onto the market before the beginning of the next month or to renovate their house for the lowest price possible, they are inevitably disappointed with the quality of the work or even in some cases, their contractors abandon the job when they realize they lack the necessary skills or are unable to make an acceptable profit from it. Home owners find themselves with an incomplete and badly done job, probably requiring even more work than originally quoted.

In one case a client whose house I sold in Whitehills hired two contractors to fix up a rental. He failed to ask for a written contract and left them to complete the job, which included extensive drywalling, mudding painting and installing trim. Problems quickly arose as the contractors had no clear idea of exactly was expected of them. Jobs were finished quickly and poorly. One contractor abandoned the job, leaving the other less skilled one unable to complete the job. It didn't stop him from trying though and after his shoddy workmanship was inspected he was fired. Other contractors had to be brought in to not only do the original job but repair damage done.

It always amazes me how many people underestimate the skills and experience required to successfully renovate a home. You should always make sure to hire a reputable contractor. Some proof of previous successful projects should always to given. Make sure to ask for recommendations, check websites and not necessarily settle for the lowest quote. During renovations any number of problems and incidents could occur; gas and water leaks, faulty electrical and surfaces that require serious leveling or additional framing.

When signing a contract it should always contain the contractor's name and contact information, a detailed plan of the project and the start and end dates and the project cost estimate. Never deliver the full payment before the work is done. If you change your mind after you sign a contract, you may be entitled to a cooling off period. Under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, you can cancel a contract within 10 days if you signed the contract in your home and the price is more than $50.

If you live in the London or Komoka area and are looking to get renovations done, as a Real Estate Agent I deal with a number of contractors and can put you in touch with some of the best.

Published Saturday, February 2, 2013 11:02 AM by Jim Straughan


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