The Home Buyer's Korner

Information presented should be used for educational purposes only.

February 28th, 2015

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The Home Buyer’s Korner

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What’s Personally Important In Choosing A General Contractor

  1. Gen ConMake sure the contractor is licensed by a State Regulatory Agency.

  2. Have the general contractor add all sub-contractors to his liability policy as “additionally insured”.

  3. Be aware of mechanics lien laws: If you don’t pay the general contractor, he can file a lien on your property. And, if he doesn’t pay his subcontractors, they can file a lien against your property. Request your title agent to secure a copy of a sub-list at closing. As those subcontractors are paid off request your title agent provide you with a release of lien from each one.
  4. Ask for references, it’s a good sign when the general contractor invites you to go see completed projects. You can also look of reviews and ratings online if they have been in business for a while. I personally look for at least one reference from a project completed three or more years ago to ensure the quality of workmanship and customer service offered by your general contractor.
  5. Have your contractor describe in detail the scope of the project. From visiting the job site, the contractor should have a solid idea of what it is going to take to remedy your problem and/or improves your home need to get it in average condition as compared to other homes in the neighborhood. Make sure your real estate agent is involved in your conversation with your general contractor and have them evaluate the estimate repair cost to what the market will bear in your neighborhood for line item improvements. If you’re using an FHA 203K Consultant ask for a Feasibility Study. Feasibility Study are completed to assist in the determining the value of the property to the purchase price (or existing indebtedness). Your FHA 203K Consultant will provide a rough cost estimate of the work to be done, the extent of rehabilitation that will be required and an expected market value of the property after the work you intend to perform is completed. Make sure your lender provides a copy of the Feasibility Study to the appraiser, so they can better provide a before and after improve value.
  6. The rough cost estimate of the work and expected market value of the property after completion of the work will help your loan officer to get you pre-qualified and avoid spending too much on repairs and improvements without a sufficient equity return in your home’s value.
  7. Don’t undervalue the importance of your contractors’ ethics. A professional will put his client’s interests as a top priority. Hiring an honest general contractor is always less expensive than hiring a dishonest one. Be wary of an initially low price, an unethical general contractor will hit you with subliminal costs that were not reflected in his original estimate.
  8. In many cases, general contractors will negotiate a lower price if it means getting a larger job. It never hurts to ask for a discount.
  9. During your initial meeting with the general contractor, an important personality trait to consider is how they communicate with you. Ask yourself, is this someone I can work with? Do I understand what his plan is? Do they understand what my needs and wants are? Many times it pays to hire a general contractor at a higher price if they are a good communicator. Good communication = A Home Improvement Experience.
  10. Avoid lump sum bids! These bids tend to not reflect in detail the true costs of the project. An itemized bid with the labor and material breakdown is a must. The itemized bid should spell out clearly the scope of work that the you requested and the costs required by the general contractor to deliver.
  11. How much time will it take to finish your home improvement project? Request an estimated time schedule for completion. Remember FHA 203K Traditional Loans must be completed in six months, while a streamline FHA 203k need be done in 30 days or less.
  12. After you have spoken with your lender and understand their draw process let your general contractor know what they can expect with a payment schedule as disbursed by your lender.

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A SIMPLE HOME SHOPPING INSPECTION TOOL

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This simple home inspection tool makes your ultimate buying decision a smart one.

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