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Contractors: Tips, Tricks, and What to Avoid

Columbia Contractor and Property Owner Shaking HandsSomething that might serve as a difficulty for you when you are investing in Columbia single-family rental properties can be hiring capable, reliable contractors for your property improvements and repairs. It’s rare to find an investor who is willing to take a risk on hiring a contractor who doesn’t provide high-quality work — it’s just a waste of time. Hopefully, you land yourself a deal with the best contractors with a few simple tips and tricks.

High-quality contractors will serve well for you as a property owner. These industry professionals are offering their services to the general public. You can always opt to hire them to do work for you, whenever you deem necessary. In so doing, you can set aside more money. But to find contractors you can build long-term business relationships with, you first need to do your research. One way you can be thorough and safe is by being advised by trusted real estate agents, property managers, and even other property owners. You can also research potential contractors online. Vetting contractors through customer reviews or even professional recommendations are easily accessible on the internet. You can use this to your advantage.

Need help looking for great contractors? Ask other people — referrals are quite helpful. One mark of a quality contractor is transparency. They will typically give you names of previous clients they’ve worked with, in case you might want to verify their capability to deliver service. Once you get a name, be sure to ask specific questions about the contractor’s reliability, cost, responsiveness, and flexibility. Did the agreed price satisfy both parties? Regarding any concerns and changes, did they take it well? Have all the answers you’re looking for? Good! If not, don’t stop looking.

Once you have several potential contractors vetted, ask them to give you a bid. The bid will provide you with a glimpse into the usual rates of what to pay for work, as well as how these contractors might calculate the expenses of their services. The lowest bid, especially if it significantly lower than the rest, should raise suspicions. It might be tempting, but be careful when entertaining these bids — better to not consider them at all. Low prices attached to very low bids might be a sign that a contractor is trying to charm clients into a deal, only to hand them additional charges later on. Or, the contractor may be avoiding obtaining the required work permits. Also, you shouldn’t have to overpay for your contractor’s work. Aim for the middle bid, which will likely be the most realistic.

Be thorough in your search for good deals, and be aware of potential warning signs such as poor customer feedback, or even questionably cheap rates. Check with your state licensing board and search local court records for your contractor’s name. Unlicensed contractors will only bring serious liability to your rental property. They shouldn’t be part of the list of potential contractors. A large number of complaints or lawsuits is a sticky situation. Also, a difficult contractor can cause you serious issues, like when they don’t take time to answer the phone or respond to your messages. While a few missed phone calls are not a sure sign of trouble, if more than 24 hours pass without a response, move on.

Keep your eyes peeled for other warning signs that might present themselves during the bidding process. As an example, don’t deal with a contractor who asks for a large deposit upfront. Anything more than 15% should be cause for concern. When a contractor speaks of the need for unlimited time and materials or makes big promises about how much they can do within a specific timeframe, you should step back and reconsider your options. While a contractor should be consistent, it’s also a good sign when they speak with practicality about project costs and completion times.

Pursuing the right contractors for your investment property improvements and repairs will be costly. However, once you’ve found the contractor who can get the job done, property management will become significantly easier. Let us do what we do best, for you. At Real Property Management Prime, there’s never a shortage of competent contractors waiting to be hired. If you want to know more about what we can do to serve you, don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 410-415-1736.

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