10 Tips for Hiring a Contractor

10 Tips for Hiring a Contractor
Ask Your Contractor…

1. Ask for Written Estimates

Get written estimates from at least three contractors. Be cautious of estimates that are too high or too low. Ask what’s included so you are comparing the same info.

2. Hire Local, Recommended and/or Licensed and Insured Contractors

Local contractors are easy to reach. Licensed and insured contractors tend to be more experienced, professional and accountable.

3. Ask “have you done this before”

Does your contractor ‘specialize’ in the work you are asking about? Check any Better Business Bureau, Google or other Social Media Reviews.  Be sure to read how the contractor handles complaints.  You can’t please everyone, so how one handles complaints can speak more about how they work.

4. Think Before You Sign

No contractor should pressure you to sign with them. Any contractor who doesn’t give you time to get other bids, discuss or think before you move forward should be avoided.

5. Get it in Writing

Your estimate should give a good idea of the work to be done. It should include a detailed description of the work to be completed and the price of each item.  Ask about the payment schedule (never pay the entire project at once), what’s NOT included and generally when the job will be started and completed.

6. Understand Cancellations

Federal law may require a “cooling off” period, in which you can cancel the contract without penalty. If you do cancel, consider sending the notice of cancellation by registered mail or email with a read receipt to ensure you have proof of the cancellation.

8. Anticipate Changes or Delays

Delays are never pleasant and often may not be the fault of your contractor. In spite of the timeline outlined in your contract, circumstances may hinder the ability to stay on schedule. Be realistic and adjust agreements as needed.

9. Be Clear About Communication

Agree on how you and the contractor will communicate.  Email? Text? Phone? Cellphone?  Make sure there won’t be misunderstandings because you like to text and your contractor doesn’t see texts while at work.

10. Keep a Dated Job Journal

Keep your agreement, color charts, planning notes, etc. in one folder. Keep copies of checks, change notes, permits and any pertinent information together.


Improve Your Property Management Success

2013-01-19 00.07.14So, you want to be a landlord?

Well, running a successful and profitable property, whether it is a rental home, apartment, condo or commercial building requires dedication, hard work, perseverance and the right tools.

Some folks enter the property management business by accident: They have a home that hasn’t sold, so they decide to rent until it does.

Other folks are looking for an income opportunity.

Well, there are many important aspects to consider and here are some of them:

  1. Remember that there will be vacancy periods.  Keep this in mind when pricing your rent.  Once you know what you want to receive monthly you can choose to add an additional cushion for the times that the property will be between renters.
  2. Just because you CAN fix something, it isn’t ALWAYS the best choice.  Whether it is a timing issue, a cost issue or other reason, you may find that hiring a reliable outside professional provides the quickest and least troublesome repair.
  3. Hiring a professional for a small job today is somewhat like an ‘interview’ for future; larger projects.  Note this message from DALE CARNEGIE:


4. Once you have a successful experience with the work of a local professional on a small project, you will have someone to turn to when the larger repairs arise.

5. Another useful tool is a Move In/Move Out Checklist. There are several available online like this one from HUD.gov: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=90106.pdf

Have the new/outgoing tenant sign off on the property.  Adding photos can help you both agree on the condition of the property as well.

As always, check with your professional advisors when entering any new project and let us know if these ideas have helped you or if you have questions regarding any property repairs for your current properties.

HMMA, Inc: 201-943-3331


Why Do You Need a General Contractor?-Remodeling and Construction in NJ

The reasons that most folks hire a General Contractor are many:

  1. The job is too large or time-consuming to manage alone.
  2. The job requires the management of a professional.
  3. The job requires several trades whose work needs to be checked prior to hiring.
  4. The job requires a dedicated perfectionist….what?!

Yes, your job-no matter how large or small requires a detail oriented, eagle-eyed, ruthless perfectionist.  Why?  Remember the saying ‘measure twice; cut once’?

The last thing you need is to ‘learn’ about what not to do on a remodeling or new construction project that you have been dreaming about for years.

Ask these questions of your GC to help you decide if he/she is worth hiring.  It just may save you time and money in the long run.

  1. How long have you been in the industry?
  2. How many _______ have you done?
  3. Are you insured?
  4. How long before you start the job?
  5. How long do you estimate the job will take?
  6. Do you have a standard set of sub-contractors or employees that you work with?
  7. What will you do to protect our timeline and budget?
  8. How are you paid?
  9. How will hiring you save me time and money?
  10. How can I trust you will handle my job with care?

Now, armed with these answers, you can make a clear decision regarding the work you are planning.

For more information about your upcoming project-send us your request below: