10 Mistakes Homeowners Make

I consider myself to be a reasonable and honest general building contractor and rarely have problems with the people I'm working for, because I'm not out to take advantage of them. This could be a completely different story for contractors that are trying to take advantage of homeowners and you should understand each and every one of these mistakes.

1. Never and I mean never give a contractor more than $1000 or 10% of the total contract upon signing the actual contract.

2. You should always read the entire contract and make sure that you understand it. Everything should be listed in the contract

3. Go with your intuition and listen to your family. If there’s something that you don't like about your contractor and your family doesn't like the contractor either, find someone else.

4. Don't hire the first contractor that comes to your house. You should always get three bids or estimates.

5. If any building materials are delivered to the house, including concrete, make sure that you have a materials lien release from that company showing that the contractor has paid them in full, before paying your contractor their final payment.

6. Avoid giving the contractor their final payment, until the job is done. No excuses at all here, you don't give your contractor their final payment at all, until the job is completed and you're happy with it. Do not forget this one ever.

7. Check your contractor to make sure that they're licensed. If your contractor has any employees they should have workers compensation insurance. Depending on which state you live in, it might not be required. Some states also don't require contractors to have licenses.

8. Don't get caught up in your contractor or their workers problems. I once worked with a guy who was constantly trying to make everyone feel sorry for him. He was a gifted con artist and didn't like the fact that I warned everyone about him.

9. Does your contractor have liability insurance? This might not be as important on a $300 job, but it could be important on a $30,000 job and would definitely be important on a $300,000 one.

10. This is one of the most important things for any homeowner to remember including myself. Does the contractor actually have enough experience to complete the project? You could ask to see other jobs that they have completed. Not pictures of these jobs, but the actual job itself.

I believe that the most important one of these 10 items is to get at least three estimates, from three different contractors. Second, you should feel comfortable with your contractor and third don't give them a lot of money up front and never pay them, no matter what they say, until the job is done and you're satisfied with it.