YOUR PROJECT & CONTRACTOR
Building a home doesn't have to be one of the most stressfull times in a person's life. A little legwork before the project begins can reduce cost and time overruns and will help the overall project.
Before choosing a contractor/subcontractors, determine your budget. There are online calculators available at consumer reports to help determine what you will need and how much you will be paying for installations. Expect to add 20% to your budget for unexpected costs/upgrades.
CHECK THEM OUT
Ask for proof of insurance (up-to-date liability, property-damage, workman's compensation insurance) and licensing. Licenses can be taken away due to unsettled complaints. Licensed contractors have extra incentive to resolve problems. Visit, don't just call references. Check out older projects to see how they have held up and current projects to see how the crews treat the job sites. Also check with material suppliers to see if the contractors pay their bills on time and resist the temptation to select the lowest bid. Low bids can create delays and cost overruns.
KNOW YOUR CONTRACT
Documents should outline every step of the process from building permits to site cleanup and a timeline when each process will occur. Keep copies at home and at your office in case of questions and make sure all changes are in writing and have them initialed.
A 25% deposit is typical followed by two or three additional payments tied to dates or specific processes on project. Before final payments, ask for a Lien Release or Waiver from all subcontractors/suppliers indicating that they have all been paid in full. This prevents them from putting a lien on your home.
UPDATE YOUR INSURANCE
Have your policy increased before work begins. It should reflect the future value of your home. Possibly purchase a builder's-risk policy which covers the worksite.
Once the project is underway, speak with the contractors daily to check on progress. If the project is a remodel or improvement, make sure the workers have parking available, restrooms and also keep your personal items/clutter away from the work site.