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Contractor Hiring 101: Tips, Tricks, and Red Flags to Avoid

Young couple talking to construction worker about housing design plans at construction siteHiring competent, trustworthy contractors for your property improvements and repairs can be one of the most difficult aspects of investing in Watertown single-family rental properties. Few investors have the time or resources to hire a contractor whose work is merely substandard. But in actuality, there are people out there who will attempt to deceive you out of your money and then leave you. Fortunately, finding trustworthy, fairly priced contractors for every work is possible if you know a few quick tips and methods as well as what to avoid.

Ask for Referrals

You need dependable contractors to complete the work if you’re a property owner. It is a good notion to search for professionals in your industry that you will want to hire repeatedly. This will save you a great deal of time and money. But you need to begin with research in order to select contractors with whom you can build lasting business relationships. Requesting recommendations from reputable real estate agents, property managers, and other property owners is an excellent starting point. You may look for prospective contractors online as well. Many websites make an effort to assist in vetting contractors through client evaluations or even expert suggestions.

Ask for References

Another tip for locating a fantastic contractor (or two) is to check references. A good contractor will be pleased to give you the names of one or more former customers who can comment on their experience. Once you have a name, make sure to ask detailed questions about the contractor’s dependability, affordability, responsiveness, and flexibility. Did they charge the agreed-upon amount? How well did they address your concerns and implement your changes? It is in your best interest to continue searching if you have doubts about the answers you receive.

Research Your Top Picks

It’s crucial to conduct a complete investigation of a candidate’s credentials and web reviews before making a hiring decision. Look for the name of your contractor by consulting your state’s licensing board and local court records. You should avoid using unlicensed contractors because doing so could expose your rental property to significant liabilities. A high volume of complaints or litigation is a very negative sign. The same remains valid if you cannot get the contractor to answer their phone or return any of your messages. A few missed calls here and there may not necessarily indicate difficulty, but if more than 24 hours go by with no reply, it’s time to go elsewhere.

Several additional red flags should be observed during the bidding phase. For instance, keep a look out for poor internet reviews or suspiciously cheap prices and avoid the site if you discover them. Additionally, it’s recommended to steer clear of any contractor who requests a sizable upfront deposit. Anything above 15% should raise red flags. The same holds true if the contractor states that they will require an unlimited amount of time and materials, or if they make extravagant claims about how much they can accomplish within a certain time frame. Not only do you need someone who can work efficiently, but you must also discover someone who is consistently realistic regarding project costs and completion times.

Focus on Quality

Once you have vetted a number of potential contractors, solicit bids from them. The bid will indicate what you can expect to pay for the work and how each contractor calculates their rates. Don’t accept the lowest offer, even though it could be alluring, especially if it is substantially less than the others. Extremely low proposals may indicate that the contractor intends to add additional fees later. Additionally, they can indicate that the contractor does not intend to secure the necessary work permits. At the same time, it’s crucial to avoid paying too much for your contractor’s services. Target the median bid, which will likely be the most reasonable.

It may take a little while to start looking for the best contractors for your investment property’s repairs and improvements. That part of your property management strategy, however, may become a quick and easy procedure once you know who you can count on to complete the work. You can save yourself time by contacting Real Property Management Greater Milwaukee, who has established contacts throughout Watertown. Call us at 262-309-6961 for more information today.

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