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How hiring contractors can save time, money and stress

Hiring a contractor can help make sure a project is professionally completed without the costs of DIY trial and error.

In the 1986 comedy “The Money Pit,” a young couple purchases a mansion with the idea to renovate the space into their dream home with their own hands. It isn’t long before the staircase collapses, the electrical system catches fire, the bathtub crashes through the floor, the chimney crumbles and more.

While the turmoil is played off for laughs in the film, in the realm of reality, the couple probably could have benefitted from early discussions with a residential general contractor.

While not every house is a proverbial money pit, all homes need repairs and maintenance to enjoy a long lifespan. Trying to DIY every project can lead to an exhausted homeowner, a drained wallet, and possibly an unfinished or unsafe home.

Instead of trying to go it alone, look into hiring a residential general contractor for a variety of possible tasks.

What do contractors do?

They are professionals that organize and execute large remodeling projects. While they are often confused with home remodelers that deal with projects that incorporate specific design and architectural ideas, contractors will often step into a project when a homeowner wants to add space or make better use of an already established space.

A home improvement contractor is usually tasked with projects like installing windows, flooring, cabinets, siding and landscaping.

Contractors are often responsible for making sure that the project stays on schedule and within budget. They also hire and manage subcontractors, such as electricians or plumbers, that may be required for some projects.

Homeowners will usually submit all project payments through the general contractor, who will use the cost to pay for materials and divvy-up the subcontractors.

Contractors are also professionals who are more likely to be linked to a network of local, readily available subcontractors and other experts. Many remodels call for expert advice from electricians, plumbers, countertop and cabinet contractors, flooring professionals, painters and more. Additional personnel would also need to be brought in for tasks like appliance installation.

A residential general contractor will not only be able to coordinate the other professional teams and schedule them accordingly, but they’ll also know what a good price is on proposed labor charges. Some contractors might even know how to do some of the extra work themselves, whereas the average homeowner will not.

As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to call in a general contractor if…

• the job is going to take more than a week.

• the job requires several different teams of professionals to complete. This includes home additions and even some remodels.

• the job requires multiple permits.

When choosing a contractor, it’s also important for homeowners to read and understand every word of a contract before signing. Good contractors will be happy to provide clarification for any questions about a possible project.

When hiring, also be sure to specifically request a residential general contractor, because the title also applies to professionals who specialize in commercial and industrial projects. Using the word “residential” helps ensure that homeowners are talking to the right person for the job.

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