Doing it the right way | Random Musings

BEFORE YOU HIRE AN OLD HOUSE CONTRACTOR

by | Doing it the right way, Random Musings | 2 comments

Hire a ContractorI wrote the E-book, 7 VITAL Things to Do Before You Hire a Contractor, after reading terrible & sad stories on the old house, Facebook, group blogs. In every single story I could see the exact moment at which the project fell apart, the money got ripped off, the house got ruined, the heart got broken. After 45 years as a specialty contractor (wood floors) & old house restorer (5- here’s the most awful one!) I have seen my share of horrifying surprises, so I decided to write a little book in hopes of making someone else’s path a wee bit smoother.

I established my company based on the firm policy of always exceeding the customer’s wishes & any time I failed to do this, examined every step of the process to find out how I could make it better next time. It’s always easy to cast blame on the other guy, & with any failed job, there is always plenty of blame to go around. However, there was always some piece of it that I had to call my own whether or not it made me highly uncomfortable to do so.

So I took my experiences on both side of the contract to see if I could create some advice that would be useful to a homeowner when they leap off the cliff & hire an old house contractor.  I’m a big believer in jumping off that cliff & building my wings on the way down, but it helps to at least have a bag of feathers & maybe some chicken wire before giving it all up to gravity.

This article is just a teaser. To get the whole book, you have to sign up for my mailing list. But that’s a good thing to do. You’ll like it!

HIRE AN OLD HOUSE CONTRACTOR- STEP BY STEP

INTRODUCTION

You have purchased a 100 year old (give or take) bungalow. You have your home inspection in your hand & you want to move forward on your restoration. You are not a DIY’er & do not plan to be one. You have a demanding job, perhaps a family & other responsibilities. You’ll need to hire an old house  contractor or contractors, & you’ll be depending on the kindness of strangers to turn your house into a home. So, how do you find the best strangers?

I wrote training manuals for 40 years so I am big on proper sequencing & I loves me a checklist. So here are my suggested steps.

  1. What is a bungalow? What are best restoration practices?
  2. What are your own needs?
  3. How do I find good tradespeople?
  4. What else do I need to know about them.
    A. Referrals
    B. Reviews
    C. Go legal.

It’s only at this point that you start talking to people.

  1. How do you conduct the first interview? What should you ask? What should you request?
  2. The Proposal- what should it include?
  3. How do I make sure that the restoration is satisfactory?

I go through each one of these steps in detail, in fact, each step is a section with sub-sections! I like to break it up to make it easy to understand & doable. I talk about your goals, your expectations, your money, & living life on a jobsite. I spend a great deal of time addressing the contract because that’s the basis of all that will transpire.

(That having been said, I am not a lawyer & this is not to be construed as being legal advice. As is the case with this entire book, it is friendly advice- my tale of what has & what has not been effective for me. While I’m at it, I will mention that I have done all the steps I suggest & still gotten a crappy project. ‘Tis the human condition but, when I haven’t done it, I have gotten a crappy project 100% of the time!

I have no training beyond what I got in a ballet studio, no credentials, no licenses, no nothin’ in the construction trades nor in law. I have only my experience from which I draw & I can boast of losing over $50,000 on a single project because the contractor should have been in jail!)

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2 Comments

  1. Denise P.

    I signed up & received the e-book. It has some tips that I never would have thought of & explain why I have had projects get really awful!

    Reply
    • bungalow101

      Sorry to hear that you have had awful projects, but that’s why I wrote it! I’m sure that you’ll do better next time!

      Reply

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