When you’re looking for a quality renovator or new home builder in Victoria BC, you can’t just rely on local classified ads or the telephone directory. You need to put a bit more effort into finding a homebuilding contractor you’re going to be comfortable working with, which requires asking some questions and evaluating carefully the answers you get. Your home is the biggest financial investment most people make in their lives, so choosing the right contractor is vital to ensure you get the best job possible.
Where to Start
Start by making a shortlist of two to three companies that pique your interest. Here are some of the things you need to look for when you’re choosing a renovator, and the ways you can determine whether a contractor fits your requirements:
- Licencing and Insurance
- Professional Reputation
- Skills and Experience
- Contactable References
Once you have a list of potential contractors, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) recommends you contact them and set up appointments to discuss your project.
Interviewing Homebuilding Contractors
The initial meeting with a contractor gives you a chance to get to know about the company’s background and experience, as well as the types of renovation work they specialize in. Do your homework before the time and review each company’s website to see whether they have a comprehensive online presence.
During the meeting, ask them questions about their history, services, current and former projects. You can also ask the builder to explain how he would approach your project, when they could begin and how long it would take. Find out if they provide written agreements, what the payment schedule will be and decide whether you feel confident that they know what they are talking about.
After the Interview
Evaluate the answers you got during the meeting and determine how you felt about the contractor. Check online for customer reviews and read them, and visit their social media profiles for a record of any interaction with clients. Remember, a single negative review doesn’t mean the company is bad; rather, it’s an opportunity to see how they handled a difficult situation and what they did to resolve a complaint. If possible, take a look at a current project the company is busy with to see how they manage their employees on site, and the scope of the work they undertake.
This is the most vital part of deciding how to choose a homebuilder. As useful as online reviews and customer testimonials are, there’s nothing to compare with getting a first-hand account directly from a satisfied client. Ask the company you are interested in contracting with to provide contactable details of clients for one or two former projects, and call or email them yourself to ask for a reference.
Getting an Estimate
There’s a popular theory that you should get more than one estimate before making a decision. The problem with this idea is that if you want a homebuilding contractor to spend the right amount of time and effort on your proposal, he needs to know he has a good chance of getting the work. In addition, getting several competing estimates can skew your decision in favour of pricing, and cheapest isn’t necessarily best.
Also, during the discussion with each contractor the project scope likely changes a bit, so they won’t be comparing apples with apples in any case. It might serve you better to first find a contractor you trust, and then ask for an estimate based on your discussion with him.
If you need a home builder in Victoria BC to work with you on a renovation project for 2015, we’ll be happy to schedule a meeting with you and answer all your questions.