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Contractors: Tips, Tricks, and What to Avoid

Moody Contractor and Property Owner Shaking HandsSomething that might serve as a difficulty for you when you are investing in Moody single-family rental properties can be hiring capable, reliable contractors for your property improvements and repairs. It’s rare to find an investor who is willing to take a risk on hiring a contractor who doesn’t provide high-quality work — it’s just a waste of time. With a few simple tips and tricks, you can get yourself the best contractors, as well as sparing yourself of anything less than what they have to offer.

High-quality contractors will serve well for you as a property owner. These industry professionals are offering their services to the general public. You can always opt to hire them to do work for you, whenever you deem necessary. In doing so, you can be cost-efficient. But to find contractors you can build long-term business relationships with, you first need to do your research. Trusted real estate agents, property managers, and other property owners — these are key people you can source information from. You can also research potential contractors online. Some websites can vet contractors through customer reviews or even professional recommendations.

Need help looking for great contractors? Ask other people — referrals are quite helpful. Quality contractors usually have a good track record. They would be glad to give you the names of previous clients who can attest to their services. Once you get a name, be sure to ask specific questions about the contractor’s reliability, cost, responsiveness, and flexibility. Was the agreed price followed? Did they respond well to concerns and changes? Should you still have doubts, it would be wise to continue the search for a good contractor who can offer you the details you are looking for.

Once you have several potential contractors vetted, ask them to give you a bid. The bid will provide you with something of an overview as to how much to pay for the work and an idea of how the contractor calculates their rates. Though tempting, the lowest bid, especially when it is significantly lower than most of the offers, might be suspicious. Don’t immediately go for it. The contractor might try to attract clients with very low bids, only to dish out additional charges later on. Or, the contractor may be avoiding obtaining the required work permits. Make it a point to examine details so as not to overpay for your contractor’s work. Aim for the middle bid, which will likely be the most realistic.

While you’re at it, be thorough in your canvassing and be aware of potential warning signs. This could save you a lot of potential trouble. Check with your state licensing board and search local court records for your contractor’s name. Unlicensed contractors will only bring serious liability to your rental property. They shouldn’t be part of the list of potential contractors. A large number of complaints or lawsuits are problematic. Another red flag is when the contractor rarely answers the phone or responds to messages. While a few missed phone calls are not a sure sign of trouble, if more than 24 hours pass without a response, move on.

Here are more warning signs to keep watch for during the bidding process. As an example, don’t deal with a contractor who asks for a large deposit upfront. Anything more than 15% should be cause for concern. Similarly, it should concern you when a contractor tells you that they need unlimited time and materials or make big promises about how much they can do within a specific timeframe. While a contractor should be consistent, it’s also a good sign when they speak with practicality about project costs and completion times.

Pursuing the right contractors for your investment property improvements and repairs will be costly. But when you finally find the right contractor who can get the job done, your property management strategy will be smooth sailing. Can’t be bothered? Not a problem. At Real Property Management Victory, we make sure you can still achieve the things you want to. Allow us to do the work for you. Feel free to contact us online or by phone at 205-793-0700. We’ll be glad to answer any of your questions.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.