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Renovating? Do your homework, before your home work

Blog by Robert Matthews | November 1st, 2017

Strategically renovating prior to listing your home for sale can bring you a big pay off. Or perhaps you're happy where you are, and just want to update your space. Either way, you need to do your homework when looking for a contractor or renovator to help.

The checklist below offers excellent tips to help you get the service and quality you pay for. These are courtesy of Ozzie Jurock's weekly e-news publication*. Ozzie certainly tells it like it is! I do recommend Ozzie's e-news -- always informative, and thought-provoking.  

Most of our renovators and repairers of real estate are good people, but. as with any industry, there are some bad apples. Your everyday renovation project needs planning, thinking – but most of all checking out which individual and which company you will award the job to. The horror stories go like this: I was told it (my new sundeck, my new floor, my garden project etc., etc.) would be finished in June, now it’s August and I can’t get a hold of him. Or, he took half of the projected cost (for materials) but I have not seen him in two weeks, or he brought some materials and then nothing. Most often, things start right. The materials come, a work crew starts and then it takes a few days longer to see someone working and then longer and longer time periods. And yet, when you do see them: They always ask for more money!



Go to the Better Business Bureau site (see below) and check out the company. Do this ALWAYS (!!!):

  • Ask: Are they a member of BBB – if not , why not? Check company rating at BBB.org.

  • Use well-known, local contractors. Ask around; who have friends used in the past?

  • Check work vehicles for branding and make sure the license plate is the correct province.

  • Ask for references: BUT - It is more important now to thoroughly verify all references and go see comparable examples of work.(In a recent lawsuit 3 of 7 addresses given did not even exist!)

  • Check that a contractor of choice is financially solvent prior to entering into any contractual agreement where money is tendered in advance for future service

  • Is the contractor licensed? Ask to see proof of licensing for your province or city and proof they are bonded and insured.

  • Get several estimates. Get at least 3 estimates on any big restoration job. Just as when you list your property – get 3 proposals.

  • Put it in writing! Everything: put it in writing...

  • Follow up every conversation with an email (thanks for meeting, ‘as we discussed you will…I will...’)

  • Review any contracts. Get everything in writing and ask to see their copy of the contract. Make sure the contract includes all charges, timelines, and materials used.

  • All should be on company letterhead.

  • Ask to be called on progress every Tuesday night...even if there is nothing to report – call me.

  • Get a schedule ... when foundation, when flooring...divide work into 4 time sections each with a deadline'.

  • Ask what happens if they are behind on schedule.

  • No cash jobs. There is a little larceny in all of us. Pay cash avoid the tax? Don’t do it! BBB feels cash jobs are deceptive business practices and you lack any recourse such as a credit card charge back should something go wrong.

Major Point: If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Organizations that can help you protect yourself against fraud:

  1. Consumer Protection BC

  2. Better Business Bureau

(*reprinted with thanks from Ozzie Jurock's Facts by Email #34, Aug 23-Sep 3, 2017)