Ask Asa: Remodeling instead of relocating?

In a tight housing market — where supply exceeds demand, sale prices are well over asking, and interest rates are climbing — remodeling is a practical solution to relocating. But whether you’re adding a screened porch, renovating the kitchen or just undertaking neglected repairs, you need to proceed with caution.Finding a trustworthy contractor is an essential first step. Professional remodelers have plenty of business and expect to remain busy throughout 2022. That’s good for contractors but a potential source of concern for consumers who may find it a challenge to find a reputable tradesperson to do a job.The best home improvement contractors are often solidly booked when business is booming. Some consumers shop around for another rather than waiting for a contractor they know and trust. Just remember: remodeling is an art – and artists range from amateur to highly skilled. One contractor may stay busier because he spends more on advertising, has several big jobs in progress, or operates with fewer employees. The only way to evaluate why the second contractor has time on his hand is to inspect his work. Most importantly, don’t let your enthusiasm temper your common sense. As Tom Stephens of the Better Business Bureau serving Savannah explains, that means thinking carefully about hiring someone who magically appears in your neighborhood looking for work.”If the vehicles showing up to give estimates or do work have out-of-state tags, you need to question it. It’s not always bad because there could be subcontractors working for a local contractor, which is quite common. But if everybody involved is from out of state, that’s questionable. You need to probably revisit whether you want to hire that company or not. Because they will be gone once the job is done, and your warranty is worthless,” Stephens said.The contractor and the contract are keys to the project’s success, explained Bailey Parker, Communications Director at the South Carolina Dept. of Consumer Affairs.”You always want to make sure in those situations that the people you’re hiring, you always make sure they’re licensed if a license is required,” she said.Look for a contractor with a license, insurance and a track record. Take the time to spell out the work you want in a contract that includes the start state and the estimated finish date. Ask the contractor to detail the scope of the work, the materials included, and the specific brands that will be used.Don’t rely on what a contractor said or suggested. Put everything the contractor says in writing to ensure you get what you want. The more complete the contract, the fewer the risks of misunderstandings or outright scams.

In a tight housing market — where supply exceeds demand, sale prices are well over asking, and interest rates are climbing — remodeling is a practical solution to relocating. But whether you’re adding a screened porch, renovating the kitchen or just undertaking neglected repairs, you need to proceed with caution.

Finding a trustworthy contractor is an essential first step.

Professional remodelers have plenty of business and expect to remain busy throughout 2022. That’s good for contractors but a potential source of concern for consumers who may find it a challenge to find a reputable tradesperson to do a job.

The best home improvement contractors are often solidly booked when business is booming. Some consumers shop around for another rather than waiting for a contractor they know and trust. Just remember: remodeling is an art – and artists range from amateur to highly skilled.

One contractor may stay busier because he spends more on advertising, has several big jobs in progress, or operates with fewer employees. The only way to evaluate why the second contractor has time on his hand is to inspect his work.

Most importantly, don’t let your enthusiasm temper your common sense. As Tom Stephens of the Better Business Bureau serving Savannah explains, that means thinking carefully about hiring someone who magically appears in your neighborhood looking for work.

“If the vehicles showing up to give estimates or do work have out-of-state tags, you need to question it. It’s not always bad because there could be subcontractors working for a local contractor, which is quite common. But if everybody involved is from out of state, that’s questionable. You need to probably revisit whether you want to hire that company or not. Because they will be gone once the job is done, and your warranty is worthless,” Stephens said.

The contractor and the contract are keys to the project’s success, explained Bailey Parker, Communications Director at the South Carolina Dept. of Consumer Affairs.

“You always want to make sure in those situations that the people you’re hiring, you always make sure they’re licensed if a license is required,” she said.

Look for a contractor with a license, insurance and a track record. Take the time to spell out the work you want in a contract that includes the start state and the estimated finish date. Ask the contractor to detail the scope of the work, the materials included, and the specific brands that will be used.

Don’t rely on what a contractor said or suggested. Put everything the contractor says in writing to ensure you get what you want. The more complete the contract, the fewer the risks of misunderstandings or outright scams.