Tag Archives: general contractor

How do you find a General Contractor you can trust?

So you want to build a new home, or make a large renovation to your existing one. Congratulations, this is an exciting time, but it can also be a nerve-wracking one. Who are you going to get to oversee the building construction? Who is going to make sure you are not being overcharged? Who is going to make sure that your house meets building codes and is of high quality? Well the answer to those questions are easy… you need a General Contractor (GC).

Talk about an honest face. Not every GC is as those at Kelly Custom Homes

What is the more troubling question, and a far harder one to answer is: How do you find a general contractor you can trust?

Sadly, there are some bad apples in every batch. Not every used car salesman is a crook, not every mechanic takes advantage of his customer’s lack of knowledge and certainly not every general contractor is out to overcharge you. However, you need to be prepared to separate the wheat from the chaff and find a GC that has your best interests at heart. To do this is not very hard.

What follows are three great resources for you to help find the right GC for your project. You should do all three.

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DIY or Hire A Contractor for Home Improvements?

So, you want to be “that guy”.

The one who decides to build a detached garage by himself. The guy that doesn’t have the right tools, so he MAKES the tools out of scrap iron and a wires stripped out of a broken lawnmower.

You want to be McGuyver.

How hard could it be?

Don’t we all? Not just to show your spouse how manly you are. Not just because you want to save money. But because the idea of paying someone to do something that looks so simple just bothers the hell out of you.

Before jumping headlong into this “easy” project, make sure you are hungry, because a big ol’ bite of humble pie may be in your future.

We all have skills. No doubt many of you are capable and skilled enough to do home improvement projects. I simply caution you that approaching a task that looks simple, but is beyond your technical ability, could cause more headaches than its worth. To figure out if you should tackle a project yourself or pay a professional, ask yourself these questions:

1. Can I afford to pay someone to do it?
If the answer is yes. Then hiring someone is certainly an option. If the answer is no, you need to ask yourself some more questions…

2. Do I have the tools for the job?
If not, does the cost of the tools, outweigh the cost of the contractor?

3. Do I have the skill and experience to do the job?

If you have done a similar project in the past, you should feel comfortable doing it again. But if you need an extra set of hands, ask a friend to help. Share your skill. If you are not sure if you have the skill, that should be your first red flag.

4. Do I have the time?
Life gets in the way. If you need that deck put up in a hurry in time for a party or family function, you may want to consider hiring someone to get it done for you. Work, kids, family all make jobs take twice as long as you think.

5. Can you afford to do it wrong? What starts out as a project with the best of intentions – saving money, making the wife happy etc… could end up cost you a lot. If you tackle a project beyond your abilities, you might end up having to hire a contractor to fix your mistakes thus costing you more money, pissing off your wife and more importantly, creating an event that lets your spouse use the phrase “remember that time you tried….”.

In the end you need to like the result. If you do it wrong, your mistake will be staring you in the face for a long time and you will not be happy. If you hire a qualified professional to do it, you may not be able to beat your chest and claim it as your work, but you can enjoy the home improvement and still take credit for making it happen.

So, before you jump headlong into any home improvement project, do an honest assessment of all the questions above. Generally, the larger the project, the more likely it is you should hire a professional. The same goes for project complexity. If a project involves electrical, plumbing and other components, get a general contractor (such as myself) involved to manage the subs for you. If all you are doing is replacing a toilet, building shed or something that does not have the potential to adversely affect your quality of life, then have at it McGuyver and be “that guy”.

Good luck!

– Jim

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Financing Your Custom Home Part 4: The Builder Contract

Make him your new best friend. A Builder's contract will make sure both of you are in agreement on all the details.

Continuing on in our series on financing your new home, I would like to share with you an additional step you can be working on while you await the result of your loan application. If you haven’t already, be sure to read blog posts 1-3 of the series on how to begin the construction loan process

Now that you have applied for your loan, you need to identify your builder and begin contract negotiations. Having a contract in place is a requirement of most construction loans. It is also an important way to protect yourselves and your future investment. What follows is an excerpt from an article on construction loans that I often refer to clients of Kelly Custom Homes.

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Filed under Construction Loans, Custom Home Building Costs, General Questions

How Much Will My Custom Home Really Cost?

How much to build a custom home

How much will your custom home cost? It's like asking a waiter how much dinner will cost before even ordering.

This question has many answers. It is a lot like asking a waiter at a restaurant “How much is dinner?” before you even order; it has a lot to do with taste and the depth of your pockets. I will try to narrow it down for you. First, what’s the right home for you and your family – two bedroom, three bedroom, one full bathroom or two bathrooms? What lifestyle choices are important? Do you need to leave money for a pool, extensive landscaping or an in-law apartment? These all factor into the price of your home.

I like to start with a square box drawn on a piece of paper, start with a size (width and length). Now lets fill it up with rooms. Lets start with bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living room, dining room, foyer, hallway, closets, mud room, and laundry room. Use so-called standard sizes such as a child’s bedroom at 10’ x10’, master bedroom 12’ x 14’ and so on. Try to fit all theses rooms in your box. This box is only a reference; the look and cosmetics of the house come later.

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Filed under Custom Home Building Costs