I 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
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.
- What is a bungalow? What are best restoration practices?
- What are your own needs?
- How do I find good tradespeople?
- What else do I need to know about them.
C. Go legal.
It’s only at this point that you start talking to people.
- How do you conduct the first interview? What should you ask? What should you request?
- The Proposal- what should it include?
- 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!)
STAY IN THE BUNGALOW KNOW!!!
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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!
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!